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My question to Godaddy's CEO at NamesCon: Domain Liquidity for the industry

Located in Local Events and Meetups started by Rob Monster, Feb 5, 2020.

Replies:
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27,340

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Was Rob Monster's question at NamesCon out of bounds or bad form?

  1. The industry needs to be having that conversation and Godaddy should engage

    76 vote(s)
    62.3%
  2. No, we don't need domain assets to become more liquid or bankable

    2 vote(s)
    1.6%
  3. What's NamesCon?

    4 vote(s)
    3.3%
  4. This thread is stupid

    40 vote(s)
    32.8%
Total: 122 vote(s)
  1. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    You don't miss much.

    If someone wants to start a thread for meme development, feel free to use that graphic to advance that conversation. It is out of scope for thread. However, a viral meme to "spread the love" on Valentines seems like a viable counter-measure against bad policy decisions in closed board rooms.
     
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  2. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    Godaddy Q4 call done.

    Remarkably little discussion about Uniregistry with no mention of price tag other than that it will pay for itself quickly through cash flow, which is probably true.

    https://s23.q4cdn.com/406380394/fil...9/q4/2019_Q4_Earnings_February-2020_FINAL.pdf

    The main theme was increased velocity of innovation. I believe it.

    Wordpress hosting and integrated user journey and life cycles seems to be a legit area for innovation.
    WPEngine might be getting a bit nervous right about now.

    The SEC filings don't give much more hints so that kicks the can down the road a bit.

    Not much on emerging markets or empowerment. Was hoping for some more meat there but given the analyst-centric audience, the CSR talking points likely don't get much play until April investor day.
     
  3. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    In the meantime, while much of the industry was distracted with the news of ICANN's cloture vote on allowing the .COM price to go up massively, the more interesting news might have been the $1 billion uptick in the market cap of Godaddy after the Thursday earnings call.

    As for the purchase price, the rumor was that the purchase tag was $350 million. It may have ended up being way less, which would be remarkably opportunistic. The pattern of industry consolidation is a bit alarming.

    Moreover, the Keiretsu-like alignment with PayPal (payment processors), LinkedIn (social media) and New York Times (mainstream media) via board representations is enough to cause some reasonable concern that Antitrust review is needed before the next big Monopoly-enhancing acquisitions get spawned.

    As a voice for a thriving independent domain economy, I will begin to speak as industry observer, commenting more actively in the court of public opinion, notably on Twitter and LinkedIn. I did post a Tweet today about the Godaddy acquisition frenzy here:

    https://twitter.com/robmonster/status/1228536232587747328

    I might taper my public commentary if there was some evidence of empowerment. For now, I am not sure the rhetoric is backed up with enough substance. Aman can be an industry dictator, but the evidence of benevolence needs to more substantial for the industry to tolerate it.
     
  4. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Contributor VIP

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    I don't think that's going to inspire them to want to work with you.
     
  5. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    As long as they stay out of the JD Rockefeller school of business, we're fine:

    upload_2020-2-14_23-25-31.png
     
  6. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Contributor VIP

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    So this was all you just trying to get at them right. Competitors going at competitors, normal stuff. Not greater good stuff.
     
  7. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    No, not at all.

    The thread was a a very authentic invitation to deliver on the rhetoric of empowerment. I 100% can guarantee you of that. It is a shame that Shane intimated otherwise, and I called BS on that.

    What I saw at NamesCon was an inspired address from a guy whose sentiment spoke to me. The language of empowerment and the illustrative examples were really encouraging.

    This thread was also started before the announcement of the Uniregistry acquisition and before the earnings call of Thursday.
     
  8. nothere

    nothere Established Member

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    No one will do anything. People can register domains in a gazillion other places, host their sites and get any service that GoDaddy provides at hundreds of other companies. In fact, as others said, registered domains might get cheaper, and we shouldn't be against hoarding, since this is/was an argument used against domaining since day one. Of course, scale matters and GoDaddy probably has 10x the names the biggest domainer had but so what.

    They will probably move into e-commerce, incorporation, payment etc. Offer one package at 3 times the regular cost...and mom and pop will be happy, since they have to deal with just one company. GoDaddy has access to essentially unlimited amount of money, and with the right CEO they will keep expanding and expanding. They will probably buy a smaller shopify alternative and push that to all their customers. Then think of other ways to upsell to to their existing custoomers base. Lather, rinse, repeat. Buying domain portfolios is chump change for them...

     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
  9. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    Specific to the Anti-Trust topic, from what I know about such cases, it would come down to intent. Over the years there have been many high profile cases. Whether such a case would be tried under the Trump administration, who knows, but the Sherman Act is highly codified with an abundance of case law.

    Good primer here:

    https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/antitrust-laws

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15

    Whether there ever is an anti-trust suit or other major suit, the scope for discovery is pretty vast. A reasonable judge would allow stakeholders to seek factual answers on an array of discovery questions that in many cases are beyond the scope of regulatory oversight.

    Here are some sample discovery questions;

    - Does Godaddy routinely interfere with domain transfers through policies related to domain locking or changing of authorization codes beyond what would be required to maintain compliance or security?

    - Does Godaddy knowingly allow WHOIS records to be wrong as a basis as domains go un-renewed while the actual legal owners cannot be contacted by 3rd parties due to WHOIS obfuscation or errors?

    - What is the nature of the commercial relationship between Godaddy, HugeDomains as it relates to acquiring expired domains under terms not available to all others?

    - What is the nature and scope of operating engagement with Board-affiliated organizations, in media (NY Times), social networks (LinkedIn), payment processors (PayPal and Intuit)?

    - What has been the nature of Godaddy's communication with mainstream media outlets and social media outlets to defame, discredit, de-fund, or other undermine or impair potential competitors directly or by proxy?

    These are not accusations. These are questions. A reasonable discovery process would determine whether there is a compelling case. The size of prize is not small for a prosecuting attorney.

    On the other hand, even a $1 billion settlement is covered by Friday's spike in market cap. So, the upside of operating with impunity might exceed the eventual downside of a settlement of a Federal case.

    To be clear, I believe Godaddy has many lovely staff. However, there are also an abundance of current and former staff who might provide insight into a legacy of anti-competitive operating practices.

    For calibration, I have had some concern about Godaddy's Draconian practices already long before Epik became a registrar. It was their Draconian practices that caused the decision to become a registrar:

    https://epik.com/blog/bob-parsons-tear-down-your-privacy-wall.html

    Keep in mind post was written in May 2010 -- almost 10 years ago! Epik became a registrar in June 2011 through an acquisition, being confidence that Draconian nonsense would not stand the test of time.

    In other words, I have been an active observer of Godaddy for a very long time. With the private equity guys now mostly gone, and an empowerment-minded CEO at the helm, it might be a chance to turn the page.

    So, let's just hope Godaddy's Board gives Aman the opportunity to project a kinder and gentler version of Godaddy. That is my genuine hope. As long as the playing field stays level, we're absolutely cool.

    If we are lucky, Godaddy will be a giant force for good, both in the domain industry and in the world. Aman has declared a agenda of empowerment. He should try to make good on that before the die is cast.
     
  10. nothere

    nothere Established Member

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    What you said can probably cause a lot of class action attorneys to take a look, since there's money in that. As for antitrust, we just need to see what Google did and no one has stopped them.

    We all know that GoDaddy is not going to stop, in fact they will get greedier by the quarter. If antitrust actions in USA ever stops them, it would be decades later.
     
  11. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    And for avoidance of doubt, my hope is that Godaddy management takes the opportunity to change the course of history by delivering on the empowerment rhetoric and departing from the extraction legacy.
     

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