Featured Network Partners: Microsoft BizSpark

Our Network Partners share our passion for driving the success of software startups through mentoring, networking, business advice, financial assistance, and peer connections. Network Partners know the startup environment and understand what it takes to succeed.

Featured Network Partner

Company: The Go Daddy Group
Interviewee: Yong Lee, Director of Business Development
Web Site: www.godaddy.com

With 35 million+ domains under management and as one of the world’s dominant hosting providers, The Go Daddy Group, Inc. offers a complete product line including comprehensive hosting solutions, Web site creation tools, SSL certificates, personalized email with spam and anti-phishing filtering, e-commerce tools and much more. As a Microsoft® BizSpark™ Network Partner and Hosting Partner, Go Daddy works with more than six million customers around the world.

Q: Tell us a little bit about Go Daddy?

GoDaddy.com is the largest domain registrar in the world and is also the second largest certificate authority in the world, in terms of market share. Go Daddy is a one-stop shop for those who are looking for domains, web site hosting, SSL certificates, e-commerce products, as well as any marketing products that will help their sites grow. We are located in the U.S., based in Scottsdale, Arizona, but we have customers all over the world. Go Daddy offers 24/7 unparalleled customer support. We develop most all our own products in-house.

Q: What is your competitive advantage in the marketplace — in other words, what is your differentiation compared to your competitors?

Go Daddy is all about helping customers, with many of them being entrepreneurs. We have more than six million customers around the world and the majority of them are entrepreneurs or small business owners. We make things easy and provide excellent customer support to these customers. At the same time, we provide a cost-effective solution for our customers who need domains, hosting solutions, secure certificates and other products. Helping them enhance their online presence is the most important thing for Go Daddy.

Q: So how or when did you first hear about the BizSpark program?

We learned about the BizSpark program sometime in the fourth quarter of last year and spoke to our account manager who introduced us to the BizSpark program.

Q: So we would guess you host a lot of software Startups already, and have a lot of clients who are typical BizSpark companies?

With more than 6.6 million customers, we have a large number of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and entrepreneurs using our services.

Q: Go Daddy joined BizSpark as a Hosting Partner a few weeks ago. So what is the Go Daddy offer for BizSpark Startups?

We will be offering 20 percent discounts to all Windows® hosting products. In addition to that, we'll be offering discounted pricing for SSL certificates, as well as domain names for all BizSpark Startups.

Q: What do your clients think about the BizSpark program, those Startups that you have already enrolled in the program?

Even though we recently signed up to become a BizSpark Network and Hosting Partner just a few weeks ago, we have already received a number of inquiries about the program. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback. The BizSpark program allows Startups to save money and continue to develop what they do best, which would be starting a new business and creating a solution for their customers.

Q: What do you think in particular is very interesting or valuable to them?

I would definitely say the money-saving opportunities and using the Microsoft hosting environment have been invaluable. We’ve also seen some Startups interested in the program come from different platforms. Because of this program, the Startups are definitely more interested in the Windows platform and they want to learn more about the opportunity.

Q: As a Network Partner, do you have any feedback, anything we should change or add to the program?

Overall the program has been easy to implement. The only request we would have is to see Microsoft automate the validation process. For instance, Go Daddy allows our users to interact with us in whichever way is most convenient to them. We’ve made our site easy-to-use for customers wanting to take care of business online. If a customer would like to speak with someone about a product or any questions they have, they can contact our Customer Care Department.

Q: Yes, this is something we've been working on for the next software release of the BizSpark portal — in fact it’s now live. So I think you'll enjoy it. So the next question was, would you recommend Windows as a platform for software entrepreneurs or rather are you seeing attraction in Windows coming from Startups?

With the most recent IIS 7.0 release which supports PHP, programmers can run one of the more common languages used online. This allows flexibility for the Web site to be designed in a language most comfortable to the designer.

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, how would you rate the program so far as a Hoster and as a Network Partner?

As both a Network Partner and as a Hoster I would say 9. If you guys automate the validation process I might say 10.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add about the BizSpark program?

We were surprised by the excitement and energy Startups showed once we announced we were offering BizSpark. These small businesses realize the importance of saving money and by joining this program they not only reduce their costs, but are backed by stable companies with great reputations.

Q: Go Daddy was still a Startup a few years ago, so what advice would you give to current software entrepreneurs?

Believe it or not, GoDaddy.com has been around for nine years now. Our CEO and Founder started his first company after being involved with computers as a hobby. We recommend entrepreneurs and everyone go read CEO Bob Parsons’ 16 rules, which are posted on BobParsons.me. These 16 rules are Bob's secret to his success with his previous company, as well as GoDaddy.com. I would highly recommend that any of these young software entrepreneurs check out these rules, and learn about the ‘secret sauce’– if you will – that Bob has developed over the years.

For more information, contact Yong Lee at ylee@godaddy.com