The picture above was released on Twitter by Bob Parsons, the former president of the company and now its Executive Chairman. That is Parsons grinning with Danica Patrick, Jillian Michaels and the new mystery Go Daddy girl during the Super Bowl ad shoot. The picture was removed from Twitter only minutes later.
It's a highly charged political atmosphere these days in the media and the online world is no exception. The "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) was introduced by West Texas Republican Congressman Lamar Smith back in October.
Click here for a primer from CNET.com on SOPA and the broad-reaching effect it would have on almost every part of the current online environment.
Go Daddy CEO Warren Adelman came out in support of SOPA, a move that motivated a GoDaddyboycott.org website and triggered the movement of over 21 thousand domain names out of Go Daddy before Christmas. Click here for that story.
While the current total of around 40 thousand domains departing is not even a blip on the 40 million or so domains registered on Go Daddy, there is one stat that does make a difference. Part of the key to the company is the continuing registration of new domains and that may be the most affected.
This Thursday, December 29, has been named "Dump Go Daddy Day" by those fronting the movement. Click here for an article from Betanews.com that sums up some of the issues facing the company in terms of dealing with this growing backlash.
Go Daddy has several different press releases out now, the first one is the original strong support for SOPA and the most recent states: "We’ve listened to our customers. Go Daddy is no longer supporting the SOPA legislation."
Needless to say, all of this bad media could not come at a worse time for Go Daddy, a company about to embark on two very different high-profile national TV and media projects. The first is the airing of two more "cutting edge" commercials during the Super Bowl.
The idea is to get Super Bowl viewers to see the ads and then move directly onto the Internet and visit the Go Daddy website. Ultimately, the business plan is to have those viewers return when they need to register a domain name. It's a simple equation.
The second big project is entering Patrick in the Daytona 500. It might be nice that she left IndyCar and is running full time in the Nationwide Series, but the story of January and February is the ability of a female racer to enter and possibly win the biggest NASCAR race of the year.
To many people Patrick is the face of Go Daddy and the TV exposure from her tongue-in-cheek sexist commercials is no doubt going to draw a new audience to NASCAR this season. At Daytona, Patrick will have Greg Zipadelli as her crew chief and Stewart-Haas Racing providing her car and crew.
The type of issue Go Daddy is facing with SOPA can snowball, as one such issue recently did for Netflix. An error in judgment and the subsequent poor handling of the effects of that error in the media can lead to very real results.
Here are some additional media sources on this topic:
Go Daddy is going to be creating a new relationship with the NASCAR fan base once Patrick hits the track for Sprint Cup Series testing in just over two weeks. How Patrick manages her personal brand in the middle of this latest online controversy should be fun to watch. Daly Planet
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