When news broke that GoDaddy was going public, the shares were valued somewhere between $17 and $19 per share, giving this mega web host a value of about $2.8 billion. That is a princely sum for any web host, but when the company went public on Wednesday, April 1, the shares skyrocketed 30 percent at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and that was no April Fool’s joke. By the close of the day, the company secured an incredible $5.5 billion valuation, which is double what some more conservative experts expected the company to be worth.
The company was founded by Marine Corp veteran Bob Parsons and is easily one of the most recognized hosting providers in the country. The shares hovered at the $20 mark until shooting up to $26.80. The total valuation of GoDaddy includes the company’s debt, making it one of the most successful IPOs in recent history. Perhaps with this overnight miracle, some of the more sordid GoDaddy history—like those alarming Super Bowl ads—will be forgotten and forgiven.
Go, Big Daddy
In the first day of IPO, 23 million shares were sold, instantly bringing in $460 million in revenue for the web host. This is a fantastic turnaround for the company, which just had to pull an advertisement during 2015 February’s Super Bowl. The advertisement enraged animal rights activists, who were offended by the commercial featuring a puppy being sold online. According to Blake Irving, chief executive of GoDaddy, “We underestimated the emotional response, and we heard loud and clear.”
In 2013, GoDaddy was in hot water during the Super Bowl, too, thanks to supermodel Bar Rafaeli kissing a geeky entrepreneur. The line, “When sex meets smart, your business scores,” was deemed offensive and sexist by many viewers. However, that ad was not pulled, but it did make headlines as one of the worst ads of the game.
What this Means for Customers
Those who depend on GoDaddy for web hosting likely won’t notice any change in their service. Given the revenue spike, it is possible that the company will offer more or expanded features, but thus far there has been no mention of it. On the downside, dealing with any major web host can lead to a lack of intimacy and personalization in the business relationship. Web host customers who want a more boutique experience have known for awhile that they may want to go with a smaller, local host and this kind of attention-grabbing news items might be what it takes to push them towards a smaller host.
When searching for a web host, there are a number of factors to consider beyond price and uptime. Most people don’t reach out to their web host unless there’s a problem—and many people simply go with the default web hosting package that is offered when they secure their domain name. However, customer service and availability are crucial, particularly when a site goes down. If it is impossible to talk to a real person, wait times are endless or if you get lost in a sea of customer service automation, you may want to think twice about your host. Quality over quantity, even when that quantity is to the tune of $5.5 billion, is key.