How GoDaddy Became the Go-To Domain Registrar on the Internet

GoDaddy is a domain registrar that became known for its racy commercials of the 2010s. Who owns the company and how did it become successful?

Kori Williams - Author

Dec. 17 2020, Updated 9:02 a.m. ET

GoDaddy is a domain registrar that allows users to buy their own URLs. GoDaddy is also well known for its ads. The company's commercials pushed its low price point alongside attractive women with its name across their chests. 

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Some of GoDaddy's most famous ads featured former professional race car driver Danica Patrick. She appeared in dozens of ads for the company. Many of the ads were Super Bowl commercials. However, the brand and Patrick have both moved away from the once racy image. 

Recently, GoDaddy has been working with small businesses. In 2019, the company started working with Yelp to help small businesses. Now, its website building platform, GoCentral, allows people to create business accounts on the platform. 

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godaddy danica patrick
Source: GoDaddy Facebook

GoDaddy is in the process of acquiring the point of sale platform Poynt in a deal worth $365 million. According to the deal, GoDaddy paid $320 million in cash at its closing. The company will pay $45 million in cash payments over the course of three years. 

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When was GoDaddy founded?

Bob Parsons founded Jomax Technologies in 1997. Two years later, the company's name changed to GoDaddy. On his website, Parsons said that he created the business in his spare time.

A natural businessman who owns a number of other businesses, Parsons founded GoDaddy after he already established a tax software company called Parsons Technology. Parsons' website says that he started that company in his basement in 1984 after teaching himself how to code. 

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How did GoDaddy get its name?

According to a Business Insider article, Jomax Technologies was looking for a more normal name. Originally, it was going to be called "Big Daddy," but the domain was already taken. "GoDaddy" was chosen because Parsons said that it made people smile.  

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Who owns GoDaddy?

In 2011, Parsons sold most of the domain registrar to three private equity firms — KKR & Co., Silver Lake Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures. The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal was worth $2.25 billion, but half of that is debt. The founders didn't want to name the purchase price. 

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KKR & Co. invests in different things like private equity, credit, and real assets. Silver Lake Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures both focus on technology. As a whole, their portfolios include companies like Airbnb, eHarmony, Klarna, GoodRx, and Epic Games. 

bob parsons godaddy founder and seller
Source: Getty Images
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Does Bob Parsons still own GoDaddy?

In 2011, Parsons sold 70 percent of GoDaddy to private equity firms. He doesn't own any of the company anymore. Parsons stayed on as the company's CEO until 2014 and sold the rest of his stake and left the company's board in 2018.

Even after selling the majority of GoDaddy, Parsons was still the CEO until 2014. In a press release, the company said that Parsons left the company to focus more on his other interests. He has a number of other businesses including motorcycle dealerships and a golf club company. 

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"I sold the last of my stock and I just don't need another clock cycle," Parsons said in an interview with Inc. "Could I make time to be on a board? Yeah. I'd just as soon lie down and let someone drive a spike in me than sit in a board meeting."

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GoDaddy isn't owned by Microsoft or Google

GoDaddy has worked with Microsoft to help small businesses. In a blog post from Microsoft, the two companies teamed up in 2014 to provide Office 365 as GoDaddy's exclusive business-class service provider for its small business customers. 

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Google and GoDaddy have been competing in the domain space since Google Domains started. However, the two companies still have a partnership. Google Apps like Gmail and GTalk are available for GoDaddy users. 

To expand its more professional look, GoDaddy also changed its logo in early 2020. 


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