“Nothing I do gets sanitized. Every once in a while I venture into an area that’s a bit controversial and I’ll take the beating that goes along with it.” – Bob Parsons
I interviewed Go Daddy CEO blogger Bob Parsons yesterday for the book. He’s a character. Flamboyant, irreverent and an entrepreneur to the core. Offensive? Maybe. Refreshing and provocative? Yes. I’ve got pages of notes. Here are a few highlights:
He’s currently spending three to fours a day blogging. (“That leaves 20 or 21 hours to do other stuff.”) He blogs because he enjoys it. He likes to write. He’d “rather blog than watch a movie.” He likes to stir up controversy (cf the Gitmo blog storm). [Addendum: make that “thrives” on controversy. Read his post about Go Daddy Girl dancers.] And he loves the negative feedback on his blog, where he writes about politics (he’s an ex-Marine who served on the ground in Vietnam) and the Internet.
Here’s the kicker…
Far from prompting customers to defect from Go Daddy’s registration and Web services, Bob’s (offensive to some) postings on Gitmo’s interrogation techniques resulted in higher sales, he told me. New domain registrations along with domain transfers into Go Daddy are up “by several percentage points,” he said.
And if those stats aren’t exciting enough for you, Go Daddy’s marketshare of worldwide domain name registrations has jumped from 16 to 28 percent since February, Bob said. That’s when there was the brouhaha over Go Daddy’s $2.4M Superbowl ad featuring the scantily clad woman testifying at a Congressional hearing.
Bob calls it the shock-jock Howard Stern approach to publicity. As he put it: “No matter what Howard Stern does, his ratings go up.”
And then there’s his newest publicity outlet: Go Daddy Radio. That’s just for entertainment, he told me. He thinks of the blog as more of an “op-ed” and plans to use some of his blog essays as a foundation for a book.
So go, Bob, go… we may not agree with everything you say or write. But we can’t help noticing. And isn’t that a key rationale for a corporate blog – to increase awareness of your brand?
Oh, and one more thing. On the subject of whether a CEO can have a blog that is distinct from his or her company, Bob says his blog “has nothing to do with (Go Daddy). But there are benefits that impart to the business and there are consequences to the business.” Splitting hairs maybe.
P.S. Follow this link if you want to view a video of Go Daddy’s Superbowl commercial.