Small businesses and the importance of domain ownership
BLAKE IRVING CEO, GODADDY
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.