2 March 2016

GoDaddy is focused on building big, beautiful business identities for small businesses

Blake Irving, GoDaddy CEO.
GoDaddy may have started out as a domain name provider, but it now much more. GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving explained that the company's vision is focused on shifting the emphasis to the small businesses which typically to make up the majority of companies in an economy.

According to Irving, small businesses are an underserved yet giant opportunity, even the ones so small that may only have a staff strength of one. "Small businesses are treated as enterprises or consumers and nobody really builds tools for them," he explained.

The business landscape has also changed. Where a simple website and an email address would have sufficed in the past, today's business is expected to maintain a social media presence, complex websites, understand search engine optimisation, market through email and more.

In addition to helping people "get a great name", which is still 52% of the business albeit shrinking in terms of its contribution, GoDaddy has also expanded its support of small businesses to helping them with business identities, from email addresses connected to the domain name to website creation. GoDaddy has also been an Microsoft Office 365 partner since early 2014.

Customer support is a priority for GoDaddy, which understands the small business owner is unlikely to be tech savvy and may need more hotline help for relatively basic tasks. The company has a team of 3,400-plus people in India, China, Europe and the US whose job is to resolve customer problems, no matter how long it takes. "Technology companies don't tend to talk to customers. If you're a giant company and you've got millions of dollars to spend you have a security guy who is yours. With a small business you're left to visit a website for help," Irving said of the typical tech vendor. "(Small businesses) just want to talk to somebody in the local language."

GoDaddy started looking outside of the US fairly recently. "Three years ago we were in English with US currency and US payment types. In 2016 we rolled out to Asia, and for the rest of 2016 we're going to MENA," Irving said. "Regardless of what country you enter, people want to talk with someone. The need for super simple software is everywhere. The problems are pretty homogeneous."

Localisation, Irving shared, includes offering local numbers, local language versions of a website, as well as the "nuanced differences" required by markets including the need to ensure that the imagery on the website truly represents that market.

Today, GoDaddy manages 61 million domains and has 13+ million customers, hosted in data centres around the world including its only Asian data centre in Singapore. Twenty-six languages are supported, as are 44 currencies, in 53 markets. The company has simplified Office 365 installation to a single setup screen against 22 from Microsoft, and can populate a small business' DNS details to create a related email address in under 100 seconds - a task that used to take an IT person 24 hours, Irving noted.

"GoDaddy is the natural on ramp for people to get their business online. We will educate the market on our brand and build awareness for the services we can deliver; we're here to stay," he said. "We will offer locally relevant products, that help small businesses grow and succeed."


Read the TechTrade Asia blog post about GoDaddy's Asian expansion