Did Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons miss the memo on corporate blogging guidelines when they sent it around the office? #1 Rule: be smart. Come to think of it, this particular faux pas is not spelled out in any guidelines I've read.

Here's what you should NOT do on a CEO blog: wax eloquent about sensitive political issues. Just... don't go there. In a recent lengthy post, Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons segued from re-living the horror of 9-11 to endorsing abusive interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. Oops... He got hammered by comments from readers. Amended his post. Retracted. Got slammed as a right-wing nut. He responded, etc. Parsons wrote:

"I also have been accused of mixing business with politics because I put a link to my blog on the Go Daddy home page. I will say that the opinions here are mine personally. This is, after all, my personal blog. Go Daddy, the company, has no political leanings of any kind. That said, I am proud to say that Go Daddy is an American company."

Oops again. An American company?? Welcome to corporate blogging, Bob. If you're a CEO your blog is never just "personal." You represent the company you run, whether you intend to or not. Why risk alienating a significant chunk of your customer base (presumably, those registering domain names are of every stripe, color, gender and nationality, including non-Americans) by talking about hot-button political issues? It doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong on the Gitmo base issue. What matters is that you've stuck your foot in your mouth. You've managed to backpedal rather nicely. But the damage is done.

Oh, and a blog post never really dies. You can delete it but it lives on, somewhere, in the blogosphere. (I know this contradicts what I tell clients: that you can delete posts anytime. It's a technicality. You can delete them. But the orphan link to the original post lives on.)

I think this is the first truly inappropriate use of a blog by a CEO that I've seen. Anyone have other examples of CEO blogging missteps? Click over to my book blog and let me know if you have an anecdote or case study about corporate blogging you'd like to pass on. Thanks!


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Previous Comments

Jason said on June 22, 2005 at 08:10 AM

He did exactly what his title and explanation says he’s going to do.

Hot Points, a Web log (blog) by Bob Parsons, founder and president of GoDaddy.com, discusses hot Internet and POLITICAL ISSUES, plus the latest developments at industry-leading domain registrar GoDaddy.com

Randy Charles Morin said on June 22, 2005 at 12:21 PM

MHO, he’s playing you guys for free publicity.

Michele said on July 1, 2005 at 03:48 PM

As one of the “bashers” on that particular post I would have to agree. Making comments about sex, politics or religion on a “corporate” blog is a really bad idea. I read quite a few blogs from people in our industry, including Bob Parsons, and I was quite taken aback by some of his comments. I am always very wary of making overly personal or possibly offensive remarks on my own blog, as I know that it could have a negative impact on the company. I am also very aware of who is reading it.


Benoit Evangelisti said on August 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Greeting Miss Debbie,

Although you might be right that in many cases, dwelling on political issues on a corporate blog might not be a good idea, you are, and I am sorry to say, totally wrong here.

Bob Parsons, although being CEO of GoDaddy.com, is also a character that people like to watch, whether on a positive or negative level.

Just recently on WWE, one of the biggest sports entertainment organizations, CEO Vincent McMahon, or even going as far as mentioning Donald Trump, made many audacious comment on TV, Web, and other forms of media.

An author and so-called professional on this matter should understand this. Bob Parsons, when on TV, his Blog or Vlog, or any other form of media coverage is an actor. He gets people interested and talking about him. And you don’t even have him in your TOP CEO Blogs. Who whats to listen to Bill Marriott who is very informative, but boring to watch? I don’t and billions others don’t. Maybe the elderly and seniors like him, since it’s from their era, but I apologize, that was 70 years AGO!

Have you ever seen the provocative GoDaddy commercials? If you had, you would understand why Mr. Parsons goes overboard in his blog/vlog comments. He is playing his character! And probably generated a lot of income from this uproar.

Please, inform yourself before making bias comments.

Have a Great Day

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I’ve been writing about corporate and CEO blogging and business use of social media for over a decade. I welcome your Comments if they are on topic. I delete them if inappropriate or spammy.


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