Small busi­nesses and the im­por­tance of do­main own­er­ship

BLAKE IRV­ING CEO, GODADDY

HWM (Malaysia) - - Q&A - ZacharyChan

by Can you give some in­sights into GoDaddy’s ag­gres­sive ex­pan­sion into Asia with its re­cent launch into 11 new mar­kets? We man­age 20 per­cent of the global do­main in­ven­tory. Of the 270 mil­lion do­mains in the world, 62 mil­lion of them are in our back­end. That’s big. We’re cur­rently lo­cal­ized in 26 lan­guages, 53 dif­fer­ent mar­kets, 44 dif­fer­ent cur­ren­cies.

The thing that’s most im­por­tant, is that we’ve built our in­fra­struc­ture to be able to grow on the same plat­form around the globe. The way we view glob­al­iza­tion is dif­fer­ent than (a tra­di­tional) de­ploy­ment of thou­sands of peo­ple. In a soft­ware com­pany, it’s a soft­ware prob­lem. We have a lo­cal­iza­tion layer to take all (our ex­ist­ing) ser­vices and pro­duce them in as many lan­guages as we want, so we can ex­pand with lit­tle risk. Any dif­fer­ence be­tween Asia and the rest of the world? They’re ho­mo­ge­neous in a way that small busi­nesses want to achieve the same thing. They want a dig­i­tal pres­ence be­cause they know they can ac­quire more cus­tomers. What’s in­ter­est­ing about Asia is that In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity is ubiq­ui­tous, it’s pretty much ev­ery­where and it’s been grow­ing very quickly. Where there’s In­ter­net growth, where there’s pop­u­la­tion growth and small busi­ness pen­e­tra­tion, that’s a good place for us to be. How about coun­tries that aren’t as con­nected like Viet­nam com­pared to one that is highly con­nected such as Sin­ga­pore? There’s a huge op­por­tu­nity to go in early. (In Viet­nam), In­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion isn’t that huge, but small busi­ness growth is crazy big. (In Sin­ga­pore), In­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion is crazy, but the growth isn’t that big. How­ever, 40 per­cent of busi­nesses still do not have a web­site. They might have a Face­book page or pres­ence in Yel­low Pages, etc, so there is still plenty of op­por­tu­nity. Speak­ing of Face­book pages, small busi­nesses may feel they can get away with not hav­ing a web­site... Imag­ine this. You have a Face­book page to rep­re­sent your busi­ness, but do not own your do­main. Some­one else could own it. (If you had a do­main), we could help point all those to your Face­book page. For ex­am­ple, blakeirv­ing.com to­day points to my Linkedin pres­ence. I’m not go­ing to do up a web­site about me and Linkedin al­ready ex­ists, but I damn sure want my name reg­is­tered. I don’t want it to not re­solve, see a 404 er­ror or a parked page. You don’t want to wait too long un­til it’s too late. Jeb Bush knows this now. Do you see changes in the way busi­nesses go on­line, from build­ing web­sites to the mo­bile or apps first move­ment? For small busi­nesses, it’s ac­tu­ally a non-ques­tion. You are not go­ing to have an app for ev­ery small busi­ness you deal on your phone. You might have a mar­ket­place, such as Ama­zon, where you go to search for the ser­vices you want. There will be room for lo­ca­tion-based ag­gre­ga­tors such as Yelp! or Google Maps too.

Most busi­nesses are found by go­ing through search. If it had a web­site, you could click through to it, but if it just had an app, you prob­a­bly wouldn’t in­stall it. I think that the whole no­tion that a small busi­ness would in­vest in de­vel­op­ing an app first is not true. They want to be found on the web. If you do a re­ally good job with a re­act-based web­site that is su­per re­spon­sive, looks good on a phone, looks good on a tablet, you don’t re­ally even need an app. How do you help small busi­nesses other than se­cur­ing a do­main? That’s ac­tu­ally our whole model, to help peo­ple with an idea turn it into some­thing real. We run what we call a life­cy­cle busi­ness. From, “I have an idea, I want to get started but I don’t know what to do,” to “I’m up and run­ning, I’m start­ing to make money, what’s the next step?” and “I’m now es­tab­lished, I might quit my day job and go at this full time.” And for those busi­nesses that might have al­ready been es­tab­lished and they think they don’t need a web­site, we help those peo­ple too.

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