The Go Daddy Group has been selling domain names and website hosting services for over ten years, with some very impressive growth metrics. In 2008, Go Daddy’s 2,000+ employees managed over six million customers and 34 million domain names with $497.9 million in revenue.
Go Daddy’s founder and CEO, Bob Parsons, launched the company in 1997, three years after selling his first business, a software company, to Intuit for $64 million. Parsons is the “sole owner”, and controls the business, and when the will ultimately decide to go public.
In 2005, Parsons came up with an idea to feature a “good-looking gal in a tight T-Shirt, with the Go Daddy name across her breasts”, as he puts it. The concept was to do a parody of the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction from the previous Super Bowl halftime concert. The ad campaign proved to be a huge success for Go Daddy, as the media exposure calling the campaign inappropriate drove more traffic to their site, and ultimately shot their market share up from 16 percent to 25 percent practically overnight.
In 2006 Go Daddy had plans to raise $200 million through an IPO, but ultimately decided not to attempt the IPO, citing difficult market conditions. In Parsons own words, “we don’t have to go public“. As Parsons says, “The Go Daddy Group, Inc. has one investor: Me.”
So with no institutional investors pushing to exit their positions at Go Daddy, and Parsons having already made his retirement cash, is there an IPO in the making for Go Daddy any time soon? Its hard to say, but as Parsons would say, he’ll stay “Master of His Own Domain”… for now.