The controversial domain registrar GoDaddy has acquired Media Temple, a widely used web host. Though GoDaddy already has a web hosting business, its acquisition of Media Temple will expand that in a drastic way. But for many happy Media Temple customers though, joining GoDaddy could be bad news: plenty of customers have fled from GoDaddy over its support of a contentious bill to stop online piracy, its often sexist advertising, and anecdotal reports of poor customer service. Now, some of those same people could find themselves once again tied up with the registrar.
GoDaddy's reputation isn't its finest asset
Media Temple is home to quite a large number of sites too: over 1.5 million. But the 15-year-old web host is also known for specializing in the kind of advanced technical services that GoDaddy hasn't traditionally been a part of, so its customer base — though for complimentary services — may not strictly overlap. The goal, it seems, will be to help GoDaddy move into new, potentially more profitable markets. It marks GoDaddy's sixth acquisition in just 15 months, and if it can hang onto Media Temple's customers, it could be one of the biggest additions that the domain registrar has made yet.
The two companies will continue to operate separately, though they do say that they'll be sharing technology. "Media Temple is doing just about everything right," GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving tells The Verge. "There's no reason to combine those two things." Media Temple's president, Russell Reeder, says that the acquisition should primarily serve to help his own company expand.
When asked whether GoDaddy's image could harm Media Temple's reputation — one that Irving refers to as "well loved" — Reeder remarks that GoDaddy has been changing quite a bit. "Not a lot of people have been paying attention to the sea change that Blake [Irving] has brought to the team," Reeder says. "GoDaddy has really transformed into an entirely new company ... Look at the marketing modifications that they've made."
Since beginning as GoDaddy's CEO in January, Irving says that he's implemented a "very serious transformation" in the company's business to better align it with the needs of web professionals and small businesses owners. "They're not happy with the ads. They didn't identify with them," Irving says. He acknowledges that there's been some outcry following the announcement that Media Temple would be joining GoDaddy. "All of the [negative reaction] that I've seen is to stuff that predates me. Frankly, it's about stuff that happened in the past."
"All of the [negative reaction] that I've seen is to stuff that predates me."
GoDaddy began airing a drastically different style of ad in September, a clever and humorous one featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme assisting small business owners. They have all the attitude GoDaddy wants, but they comes across as appropriately comedic. "Revitalizing and changing a company takes time in the public eye," Irving says. "Reputation takes a while to change. We're accelerating that. Even the most cynical are going to see that."
This article has been updated to include additional information and quotes from Blake Irving and Russell Reeder.