Boycotting GoDaddy

When I created my website in 2005 I purchased the domain name directly from my web host, ICDSoft. There it stayed until 2007 when it was stolen by some idiot and transferred to an account with GoDaddy. After a week or so of battling (and a ton of support from your good selves), I managed to get my stolen domain transferred to a GoDaddy account of my own that their staff asked me to create. There it stayed (along with domains purchased after the event for sites such as Logo Design Love and Identity Designed) until yesterday, when I watched a “vacation video” (shown below) that GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons uploaded to his blog.

Update: 12 April 2011
The original video has since been removed from YouTube after Bob Parsons filed a copyright claim. The following news report shows a little of what was featured. (Watch on YouTube.)

Elephants are highly intelligent creatures, and I don’t want to give my money to a man who glorifies their hunting and shooting, before standing triumphantly over his kill (not to mention having AC/DC’s Hells Bells as the soundtrack, as well as the payment that was no doubt given to Robert Mugabe‘s regime). As such, all of my domains have been transferred to Namecheap.

Read The truth about killing ‘problem’ elephants.

elephant mother and calf

Appreciation to those of you who offered domain registrar recommendations via Twitter and Facebook.

Update: 12 April 2011
In another vacation video hunting a leopard (since removed from YouTube), The African Safari Company is credited. Here are the Zimbabwe trophy fees that are charged for each species of kill.

Elsewhere:
Shooting an elephant — why GoDaddy’s CEO was wrong, on TIME
Don’t Go With GoDaddy and Its Elephant-Killing CEO, on PETA
GoDaddy CEO kills elephant, videotapes act, on MSNBC

Elephant photo courtesy of Thinkstock

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91 Comments

  1. Behind you 100%

    The first thing I did yesterday when I saw this was to start the transfer process in moving my domains from GoDaddy. Parsons should not only be ashamed for what he did, but he should feel utterly foolish for using such an absurd excuse.

    Terrible…

  2. I viewed this video yesterday and am still in shock that Bob Parsons would not only create this video, but then proceed to post and share it with the public, as if he was doing some heroic deed. His failed attempt to mask it as “helping the farmers” is practically insulting. It almost reaches a level of parody with the aftermath being scored by AC/DC and depicting villagers fitted with GoDaddy hats, but sadly, it is all very real.

    Animal Rights aside, this may go down as one of the worst “Plublicty Stunt” ever.

  3. Approved, just wrote about leaving GoDaddy as well.

  4. Wow, what a thought, David. I wish every human being on this earth should think like you. Find me in the first row supporting you and your love towards animals :)

  5. Agyei Archer

    What a tosser this guy is.
    Thanks for putting the word out there. I applaud you for putting conviction over convenience.

  6. It was a very unclever move from Bob Parsons to upload this video to his blog, what was he thinking? it was obvious he was going to be criticized. Sometimes even bad publicity is good publicity but this is too much, I don’t get it.

  7. MIguel

    No doubt this man is stupid.

    At this point I would like to have a domain at Godaddy to do the same as you. Give him where it hurts, his pocket.

    I follow you long time ago and I’m proud with your attitude.

  8. I honestly considered switching all my GoDaddy domains a year ago, based on how sexist and generally sophomoric their advertising is.

    This pushed me over the edge.

    I have no problem with an individual hunting for food, but shooting game for sport, trophy or ego boost is simply reprehensible to me.

  9. Is it easy to transfer domains to a new provider?

  10. @Mike Yes, it’s quite easy. Just contact your new provider, they’ll tell you what to do.

  11. Jeff Deibel

    David, I must commend you for your convictions and taking your business elsewhere. One thing I’d like to suggest, take down the link to the video.

    Here’s my reasoning:
    First, it’s easy to find with one search.

    More importantly, the video of GoDaddy’s CEO killing an elephant garnered 492,070 views on GoDaddy’s Video.ME site. I wonder how many of these growing number of viewers had their first experience with the Video.ME site. I can only attest to my own experience, but it was the first time I had ever heard of the service. Considering GoDaddy’s sophomoric advertising strategies, I wouldn’t put it past them to orchestrate an “any press is good press, even bad press” campaign to get out the word for Video.ME. I wasn’t aware of the service before the elephant, but now I am post elephant and I know the service works.

    Social media is a hype machine, and I don’t think we stop to think about whether or not we are unintentionally marketing a new product from the same company we’re boycotting.

    Sadly, people won’t be talking about the elephant in a month, but I’m sure Video.ME will gain exposure and a (hopefully small) percentage of the viewers as new subscribers.

    Your thoughts?

  12. I have all my domains registered at GoDaddy.com and I’ve always been very happy with their service, products, and prices. And technical support has always been very friendly and helpful to me.

    Although parts of the video may have been in poor taste (AC/DC? Well, at least it wasn’t “Welcome to the Jungle”), I don’t feel like Bob Parsons did anything seriously wrong here but I guess that depends on what side of the Animal Rights argument you are on. My values consistently shift as I get older but today I am an omnivore so it would be pretty hypocritical of me, who eats pre-murdered animals daily, to condemn a man for shooting a single elephant for, what seems anyway, a good cause (or at least not entirely bad) and the entire body of the elephant no doubt went to use.

    I have travelled to Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbobwe and have seen first hand the dire conditions that people are in there. I’ve eaten with them and tasted “nshima” a corn-based meal almost completely devoid of any nutrition whatsoever. This poor food substitute is the primary staple in their diet. It is totally believable to me that this may have become a life-or-death situation that these folks were in and while there may have been other ways of getting the elephants to move on, this is for sure effective. Those elephants will not be back because one thing that has been proven by the the elephant sanctuaries in Africa is that elephants will always migrate away from danger and towards safety and I’ve seen this in Botswana when on a nature safari I got to see over 500 elephants in one day.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just giving my long-winded explanation to why I will be keeping all of my domains with GoDaddy.com.

  13. Hamish

    Thanks for bringing this to my and everyone else’s attention. I have never used GoDaddy anyway, but will now be even more sure to tell everyone I meet not to.

    I was fortunate enough to go on Safari in Kenya several years ago and see these magnificent animals in the wild. I also visited the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust set up to protect elephants (www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org), and the idea of people, particularly so-called ‘civilised’ people, hunting these animals makes my blood boil.

    I was told at the time that it is mainly Americans and Saudis who still want to hunt the ‘big five’. If I ever meet one of these people, I may shoot them myself.

  14. Dimitar

    Madness.

  15. That’s sad. You did the right thing mate.

  16. Sergey

    You guys do know it’s April Fools?

  17. Thanks for posting this. I hadn’t heard about this story and now that I have it sealed the deal for why I’ll never use GD’s services again. I’ve been migrating away from them for a number of reasons already but only when it was convenient. Now, I’m encouraging all of my clients to allow me to migrate their services away from GoDaddy free of charge. I can’t support this company any longer and hope they will feel the same way.

  18. dennis

    did you see how hungry those people were? That elephant served its purpose. Its a freakin animal people. Do you also boycott zoos when a tiger or lion does the same thing? S

  19. Dennis-
    There might be some merit to killing an animal to feed a community, but the problem I have with it is how he attempts to glorify it and turn it into a GoDaddy promotional video. The first half of the video I’m “okay” with. I could see something similar on the Discovery channel or National Geographic. It’s when the AC/DC starts blasting that it starts to get out of line.

    And you don’t see those tigers wearing Frosted Flakes t-shits after they kill their prey do you?

  20. Hamish

    I don’t want to get involved in a debate here – plenty of other sites have done that. All I will do is direct those who think this was justified to this site, where someone a lot more qualified than I can put it into context: http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04/01/zimbabwe-conservationist-responds-to-godaddy-ceos-elephant-hunt/

    And I will finish by saying that no matter what argument you use to justify killing an elephant, no matter what the circumstance, there is no justification for putting AC/DC music to it, glorifying it and just being a general arrogant bloodthirsty jackass.

  21. I’m wishing I hadn’t clicked the checkbox to update me when a reply has been made. I’m getting entirely too many emails today, lol.

    Is there any way to change this option after the fact?

  22. And the worst of all is that he believes he’s a hero.

  23. Hamish, thank you for that link. I’ve added it to the post. Definitely worth reading for those on Parsons’ side.

    Travis, there should be a link at the foot of every email you’ve received that allows you to manage your subscription (unsubscribe). If you can’t find it, do let me know. Did you read Hamish’s link? Interested to know your take.

    Jeff, I think the video content will do a lot more harm to GoDaddy than any underlying marketing campaign.

    Mike, it’s fairly easy (although time-consuming) to transfer your domains from GoDaddy to another registrar. There are plenty of sites offering instructions if you search on Google (which I did a couple of times in order to help speed things up). If you want my assistance feel free to ask.

  24. @Sergey,
    I agree. C’mon folks, this has to be an April Fool’s joke, albeit in very bad taste.

  25. I’ve never used GoDaddy and never will. I’ve always thought that Parsons is a ego-maniacal scumbag and this just helps to drive the point home. Sad to say that I think there may be some truth to what Jeff said. Parsons sure likes to stir it up. He has with this, and he frequently gains from it. I appreciate your part, David, in seeing that, at least here, the momentum opposes that.

  26. @David, thanks. And sure, I’ll respond to Hamish’s take.

    @Hamish. My take on your comments is that you’re either against Bob Parsons actions or his motivation.

    If you are against his actions; Unless you are a vegetarian, your attitude would contradict your own actions. By anyone’s standards, this elephant has lived a better life than any of the cows or chickens you or I have ever eaten. If you are a vegetarian, well, I commend you then. I think I may get there too one day but for now I am an omnivore and am about to sit down to a meal of sausages in less than 30 minutes. I will not be boycotting the man that murdered the pig to make them. But even if you are a vegetarian, this doesn’t mean that you stand for the rights of animals to be over the rights of humans.

    If you are against Parsons motivation then I get it (while not necessarily agreeing with it). The idea of Bob Parsons, a rich, privileged, white American, who probably paid money for the “thrill” of shooting an elephant does come off a bit “Mr. Burn-ish” but in addition to saving the farmer’s crops and giving nutritious protein to those people, he also would have paid the government in that country to shoot that elephant. That’s because this is a common program in African countries. Foreigners can have the “thrill” of shooting a “rogue” elephant (i.e. Not a mother but a bull who has left, or more likely kicked out of, his herd) for quite a high fee but all of the elephant has to go to locals.

    Other than Bob Parsons getting the opportunity to feel like he’s Theodore Rosevelt, this doesn’t bother me. At most, Bob might come off as a bit of a douche but his company has always been great to me and GoDaddy’s technical support is super friendly, helpful, and extremely, extremely patient, which for me was a big issue when I started getting into web design (which admittedly, I still have a ton to learn).

  27. Oh man. The same thing happened to me a few years ago. I tried 5-6 times to renew my domain with another host, who kept insisting that I wasn’t a customer (even as I read the renewal notice they sent me on the phone). After it eventually (unwillingly) expired, some shady people started using it for spam. Fast forward two years and it’s on GoDaddy’s banned list for abuse. I contact them about getting it back and they tell me I need proof of my trademark. I know that I don’t, but they are so terrible I gave up trying to fight them. (Stack this on top of their awful bait-and-switch tactics and painful UI.)

  28. I own domains. All were originated through godaddy. Have not had any big problems with the service. However…
    As a human being type creature, I am anguished by the killing of this other creature. The pain inflicted upon the animal kingdom by us humans is not new. When Mr. Bob Parsons clearly identified himself as being part of that infliction, I am forced to separate myself. I will not continue business with Mr. Bob Parsons and godaddy.
    Mr. Bob Parsons will get no more money for bullets from this customer of 9 years.

  29. I have always enjoyed using GoDaddy (all of my 70+) domains hosted there. Main reason I stick around is I am used to the site, and I love the support that I get.

    This here I think is fucked up though. There are other ways to get an elephant off the land other than killing it, and the fact that Bob is actually taking part in the kill is against any action I’d ever take. Bob has plenty of money and connections, he could have easily arranged something more humane.

    I can’t say this will stop me from using GoDaddy, but I won’t forget this. It isn’t the fault of the employees for his actions, so they shouldn’t have to be punished for it, indirectly or directly.

  30. I respect people who value ethics. Good stuff David and thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  31. good move David, Godaddy is not a good hosting provider anyway. I always heard bad reviews about them and wonder why WordPress would recommend them.

  32. Hey David

    Excellent arguments and a very compelling reason to switch registrars. I was just curious, but could you perhaps suggest or aggregate some of the other suggestions for registrars that you received through Facebook and Twitter?

  33. This another reason to not do business with GoKillElephants. They’re notorious for crappy customer service, beyond ignorant technical support, and its elephant killing CEO. Be forewarned, GoDaddy makes it fairly difficult to transfer domain names. Be sure to unlock the domain and then cancel the Private Registration for each of your domain names. Then you’ll easily be able to escape the beast.

  34. I live in South Africa at present. I’m sick to my stomach with ‘rich tourists’ paying for the ‘pleasure’ of killing our wildlife. Problem or not. There are no problem wild animals, only problem people, with a desire to kill.

    Thank you, for making a stand by taking your business elsewhere, as a show of dissatisfaction with GoDaddy.

    I do not use any of their products/services either, and now, I know, that I will *never*.

  35. The only response you all will ever get from Bab Parsons regarding this matter would be – ‘PENDING SETUP’

  36. I’m surprised anyone could have stayed registered with GoDaddy for more than 10 minutes. When I had one there a few years ago it was almost impossible to find what you’re after due to the terribly overcrowded design with about a million links on each page.

    I haven’t been to the website for years but it was an absolute shambles with regards to design. I wonder why so many designers could stand it for so long.

    Also; my stance on the elephants? Very bad. Good for you David for moving and highlighting this.

  37. Chris, Namecheap was another register that came up regularly, although this might’ve been because of the “bye bye GoDaddy” promotion it was running, where it would donate a percentage of newly transferred domain income to saving elephants.

    Valentino, I felt a form of gratitude toward GoDaddy the company helped to restore my domain name. That’s why my domains where held there. Thanks for your comment.

    You’re welcome, Travis. It was Hamish’s link I was asking for your thoughts on, where it’s stated:

    “The government deliberately inflates the number of elephants so they can allot a certain number to be killed. Last year they said 500 elephants could be killed. They say there are 100,000 elephants. From what I have found, the figure is more like between 30,000 and 35,000. They lie about the number so they can allow hunters to kill them. They use the income generated to pay the wages to the park staffers and to keep the parks running because they have no money. The villagers don’t see a penny.

    “The problem in Zimbabwe is the guardians of the wildlife are the perpetrators. We’re the only country in Africa that shoots game to pay wages to national park guardians and ration meat to their staff. It’s sick. You wouldn’t tolerate it. Zimbabwe is the only country where some of the park guardians are politically connected and don’t care about the animals. They’re the ones benefiting economically from their killing, even though they are the ones who are supposed to protect them.”

    According to the Red Cross, the situation in Zimbabwe is ‘critical’ with 2.17 million — one in four of the population — requiring urgent food aid. The problem is not elephants. The problem is Robert Mugabe, and Bob Parsons’ actions are funding Mugabe’s regime.

  38. Dunno whom to feel sorry for. The elephants, the farmers or Bob.

  39. Another macho man with a gun. What are the alternatives to GoDaddy?

  40. Thanks for bringing this to my awareness, David. Keep fighting the good fight. I back you on the boycott for this, and other reasons.

    I fired [ you will get the pun later] a client a few years back for boasting and ‘glorifying’ these types of thrill kills — he also went on to send me the trophy pics. These wild game hunters justify the barbaric behaviour by saying that they help raise and bring to the wild, more animals than they harm. However, that does not take away from the brutal, cowardly, act.

    While I agree there is a level of contradiction in us who eat meat, you must agree too that making public, the inhumane act of killing a defenseless elephant, was not necessary. It’s obvious it would warrant a public backlash. I am still hoping there will be a good ending.

    One day in the future, generations will look back at our time and see that we had to privilege to live harmoniously with these and many other majestic creatures and wonder how we condoned such things.

  41. Bob makes out like he was doing them a big favor. If he really wanted to help the people in Zimbabwe he would help start something sustainable like COMACO has done in Zambia. They’ve figured out the best way to save Elephants and other wildlife while helping people learn skills to earn money and feed themselves – check out http://www.itswild.org and this youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjFfRAtZ83c – pass this on to help focus attention towards an organization that deserves it rather than giving Bob more of the attention he craves.

  42. I would never use GoDaddy in the first place because their customer service sucks, but to boycott because the owner shot an animal that was destroying a farmers only source of income and sustenance is absurd! Everyone is downplaying the importance of that “small” destroyed crop. That farmer is most likely almost starving, and any amount of his field destroyed could devastate his family. Secondly did you see how crazy the people were going over getting some meat for their families.

    I think that Mr. GoDaddy is an idiot for putting that video up. But it’s very easy to sit back in our comfy chairs and our easy lives and look down on killing an animal without looking at the positives that it has brought to that area. If you were practically starving you’d be happy some moron American had killed a huge animal that you could eat!

  43. David,

    Certainly you are to be comended for putting action to your convictions. That being said, I actually applaud Parsons for the video. In drawing attention to the elephants he has drawn attention to the needs of human beings, in this case their need for food. How is it that that need is being overlooked in all of this? Because an animal was killed? Who do we boycott when we sit down at a popular resturaunt and enjoy a tender steak? Who do we boycott when we indulge in a sushi boat? I think there is some hypocrisy on the part of some, not necessarily you, as they vocalize outrage over this video. They focus on its graphic nature and miss the opportunity to impact the lives of these people by seeking ways to improve their plight.

  44. I just went to view this video again, and it appears that in attempt to do some damage control, they have edited the video a bit. Updates include:
    – No longer titled as “My Vacation Video”
    – No AC/DC playing during butchering.
    – Less pictures of Parsons with elephant carcass
    – Less emphasis on GoDaddy Hats worn by villagers.

    For those wanting the full effect of the original directors cut, you can find it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcX-2sgw070

  45. I’m not using GoDaddy with my website. That’s a good thing I never used GoDaddy since I’ve heard negative feedbacks from them. But with this video killing or hunting those elephants, that really sucks…

  46. Luke Kennedy

    David,

    To clarify does ICD Soft use Go Daddy as their domain registrar service?

    I am a very happy customer of ICD Soft, would be disappointed to hear that?

  47. Good on you! I hope anyone of your thousands of followers reading this who also might have a link with GoDaddy cuts them immediately. Hope he feels wounded.

  48. All of the money he spent on his trip plus all of the money he will lose in customers, especially all of the designers he’s seemed to have lost from your article alone who recommend their clients to Go Daddy as well, would have been more than enough to plants tons of crops elsewhere and provide more than enough food. Some of the money spent and lost could have gone to re-homing the elephants. With all of the money he will lose in the long run with lifetime customers turning elsewhere and taking their referrals with them, he could have moved the elephant, built a fence, AND planted more crops.

    Not only that, but he recorded it. Those who are doing a truly good deed, like he seems to think he is doing, don’t ask for recognition or glory. ACDC and a YouTube video don’t scream modesty. This was for personal reasons and there were so many other options. He says himself that the villagers have done everything else they could and have nothing. Well, instead of flying your ignorant self out to Africa and shooting an elephant (who himself does not have a large hunting rifle to make things fair) to post on a little macho man YouTube video, HELP THEM! If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach him to fish, he will eat forever. You killed an elephant, so they will eat until the next one comes. Then you have to kill that one too. Then again and again. This sound familiar…I think I read it in an article about endangered and extinct animals.

    Death is always the only solution, right Mr. Parsons?

  49. ..following suit..incredible how ignorant and cruel some can be..domains will be switched.

  50. I think that this video does a pretty good job of summing things up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QM4XqWGwUg

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