Why I kinda like GoDaddy. Hint: it's all about service.

Why I kinda like GoDaddy. Hint: it's all about service.

Summary: In a world where customer service is normally a matter of unanswered emails or, at best, incomprehensible accents, it was a refreshing pleasure to work with a company willing and able to help me solve my problem, spend as much time with me as I needed, and do it well after midnight.

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TOPICS: Browser, Networking
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Image courtesy of GoDaddy.

GoDaddy often gets a lot of bad press. Most market leaders get their fair share of bad press, and GoDaddy goes out of its way to stand out from the crowd, ranging from its altogether stupid name to its outlandish ads, to its almost Borg-like attempts at upsells.

Recently, my friend and ZDNet colleague Scott Raymond wrote GoDaddy still violates ICANN policy--and still sleazy. To say Scott doesn't like GoDaddy is an understatement. He details some problems he had moving a domain name, and his complaints are legitimate.

I've used GoDaddy for years to host my hundred-plus domain names. I don't do any Web hosting with them or any other services -- they're just my domain registrar. When I moved my domains off of the truly heinous Network Solutions more than a decade ago, I found GoDaddy to be a breath of fresh air.

Today, the air is a little less fresh, but in contrast to Scott, I have to say that I'm still rather satisfied with GoDaddy. Over the last two very late nights, I spent a whole lot of hours on the phone with GoDaddy's Gary, Devin, Matthew, Brian, Daniel, MaryAnne, Sergio, and Steve, and while not all of them had a deep clue, they were all, without fail, helpful and polite.

Here's what I wanted to do. For a very long time, I've managed my own DNS servers using BIND. I noticed some weird DNS activity in my logs this week and decided to check on my BIND version. I found an ISC Advisory dating back to May indicating that the BIND version I'm running might have some vulnerabilities.

Unfortunately, there wasn't an updated version of BIND prepared for CentOS, and I once again faced losing another pile of hours to downloading an alternate distribution of BIND, finding and filling all the dependencies, compiling my own build, installing it without error, and yada, yada, yada...you know this story.

I'd had enough. I get free DNS management with my GoDaddy domains and I wanted to get one more maintenance hassle off of my plate. I decided to delegate domain management to GoDaddy.

As it turns out, this isn't particularly simple, although it's not as bad as you might think. I had to move 25 active domains over, so it took quite a while to get all the zone files moved. A bunch of my calls to GoDaddy (mind you, these were at, like, 1am and 2am and real Americans were there to answer the phone!) were before moving the zones, to make sure I understood everything that I'd need to do the move.

But some zones, upon movement into GoDaddy's system, got "stuck". They were corrupted in some way that couldn't be fixed through the self-service Web interface. I had to call in, get the calls escalated, and get help from their DNS team. Most of the time, the problem was fixed in less than an hour. Once it took until the next morning, because the one guy who knew how to fix my particular weirdness had gone home.

In all cases, the GoDaddy customer support people followed up and when they said they'd fix my problem in the morning, they did.

Now, this is GoDaddy, so there were some bumps in the road. Some of the first-line phone people didn't know anything about DNS, thought they did, and needed a little firm persuasion to get them to escalate my questions and problems to the right experts.

And then there was the upsell. The upsell is annoying, but almost charming the first time you experience  it on any given evening. But by the fifth or sixth time you have to listen to it and politely and firmly dissuade the nice man or woman from proceeding, it becomes brutal. No, I don't want to pre-register all my domains. Yes, I know I can save a few bucks. Yes, I know I could host my incredibly complex and completely non-portable CMS on your piddly shared server, and, no thank you, I really don't want to move it. Yada, yada, yada...you know the story.

But the fact was, despite the upsell (and we want successful American companies who employ actual Americans for customer service work, don't we?), my experience with GoDaddy was about as good as I could have hoped for.

Gary, Devin, Matthew, Brian, Daniel, MaryAnne, Sergio, and Steve were all very nice, they were all there very late at night, they were all very patient with me and took all the time with me that I needed, they were all real Americans with real American jobs (GoDaddy's customer support people work in Scottsdale, Arizona), and I did get my needs met.

Scott and I (and many of the other ZDNet columnists) are going to keep a watchful eye on GoDaddy because the company does push its luck at every opportunity.

That said, in a world where customer service is normally a matter of unanswered emails or, at best, incomprehensible accents, it was a refreshing pleasure to work with a company willing and able to help me solve my problem, spend as much time with me as I needed, and do it well after midnight.

Topics: Browser, Networking

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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17 comments
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  • GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons is also notable for his work

    at killing animals. Specifically, two elephants who were suspected of trampling on some plants that some African villagers wanted to keep. As an amateur gardener, I can tell you how attached one becomes to ones Petunias.<br><br>So Parsons, wearing clothing bearing the logos of his company, shot and killed both elephants in an exciting video posted on the companys web site.<br><br>"Then the video gets really graphic, as Parsons records villagers who come out in the early morning to slaughter the dead animal, stripping it of its flesh. Oddly enough, this part, which is set to AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," is almost a shameless plug for the company, zooming in at one point on the company's logo."<br><br>Thrilled as I was by this exciting video, I posted on the CEO's blog page complimenting him on his killing prowess, and asking how I too could start out on an exciting hobby of shooting and killing animals - whether I should set my sights (no pun intended!) on elephants right away, or start out small with something like mice or hamsters. You know, work your way up the 'food chain' (hehe!) to puppies, hares, pigeons, before tackling the larger more exotic game species such as African elephants. As yet, no reply.
    HollywoodDog
    • And this has anything to do with this article how?

      @HollywoodDog
      I mean,we get that you don't like Parsons.
      And , yes, having stupid and/or sleazy advertising isn't what I would call business best practices.

      What David is getting at, however, is that despite this, the company IS providing a level of customer support that most of the other "big names" do not.
      VBJackson
  • RE: Why I kinda like GoDaddy. Hint: it's all about service.

    Are you aware that those 25 domains are now excluded from a niche search engine that is in development, and when you go for statistics from another project you won't get any results?

    GoDaddy now has a "Selective DNS Blackouts" policy, where they block all DNS queries from DNS resolvers it doesn't like.
    rscott13
  • Hint: it's all about service.

    Which is what I didn't get. Hence why I left them. Horrible customer service.
    WindowWasher
  • Price & Service is what makes GoDaddy go

    My experience mirrors David's - GoDaddy customer service always has taken the time to answer and resolve my questions promptly. Their scope of services is a good fit for the vast majority of customers and the fact that their techs are in the US is a plus for me. Bob Parsons IS a jerk, as I am sure some other CEO's are. His mistake is that he is stupid enough to associate his private BS with the business stuff.
    impcad
  • RE: Why I kinda like GoDaddy. Hint: it's all about service.

    Nothing but reliable service, ever-ready tech support and issue free hosting and registration.
    justin.donie@...
  • No complaints here...

    My two cents: I've used GoDaddy services (domain names, shared web hosting, VPS, hosted Exchange) for about 11 years and never had a complaint about their product quality, service level, or policies. They have great custom-built admin tools and their pricing is among the lowest that I've found at the level of large/stable/enterprise-grade providers. But as they say with anything: your mileage may vary.
    ThePublicEye
  • I stay because it works, and cheaply

    I hate the advertising offensive, I hate the CEO for both his personal and professional actions ... and I won't leave. I'm a really small customer with a dozen personal-use domains and no added services. I've been with GoDaddy for eight years. Prior to that, and during because of transfers, I've had five other registrars -- all atrocious. GoDaddy gives me (1) online tools that complete the promised action within a few minutes, (2) people who respond promptly when the tools aren't enough, (3) processes that keep me from losing my domains through bureaucratic error or my own occasional negligence, (4) a competitive price. Sounds simple. All registrars should be able to handle that as basic business practice, but I've never had that anywhere else.

    Yes, the upsell can be annoying, but when I ask them to go away, they do (until next time).
    esobocinski
  • RE: Why I kinda like GoDaddy. Hint: it's all about service.

    I agree that their customer service is excellent, but Parsons should be condemned for his brutal actions with those elephants.
    jsmith2113
    • RE: Why I kinda like GoDaddy. Hint: it's all about service.

      @jsmith2113 "Parsons should be condemned for his brutal actions with those elephants. "<br><br>Oh, please! You do know that Africa would be a much more prosperous and civilized place without elephants, don't you? If there's one truly execrable trend in America these days, it's the growing pious propensity to save even the most wretched and beastly animals on the planet. Enough elephants - more sausages!
      JJJoseph
  • RE: Why I kinda like GoDaddy. Hint: it's all about service.

    Just a clarification: Corporate offices are in Scottsdale; Customer Service operations are shared with Hiawatha, IA.
    Muzhik1
  • It Is the Service, and the Prices

    GoDaddy is like most companies -- aggressively marketing to you and trying to get you to buy services you don't need. But GoDaddy does have decent prices and you can actually speak with a live person without an excruciatingly long wait. While they messed up one order costing me an extra $27, they have saved me a ton compared to NetNation (which was good until it was sold) and Network Solutions. Sleazy as GoDaddy's advertising and owner may be, its staff is pretty darned good.
    dl@...
  • re: &quot;I don&acirc;??t do any Web hosting with them or any other services&quot;

    Write an article about customer service and technical support when you actually <i>use</i> these services.

    It's clear by your article that even rudimentary DNS functions and provisions still prove to be a challenge for GoDaddy, yet you seem to be in love with them. They must be paying you well.

    "Friendly" doesn't cut it when a clients site stops functioning because Go Daddy arbitrarily deprecates PHP, Ajax or ColdFusion syntax. I don't want a "nice guy" who has no technical idea beyond reading from a scripted "trouble-shooting" flow chart. "Polite" is useless and out the window when 'tech support' is suddenly is able to conjure up a technical dissertation: blame <i>you</i>, their client, and code that has functioned properly and unchanged for months on their servers. After debating with them for nearly an hour as to why functional code would suddenly stop functioning, their "friendly" response is to refer you to a 'network specialist.' Who of course, takes 48 hours or more to resume blaming you, their client, and your code. They then "politely" tell you that the only solution to your purported faulty code, is to 'upgrade' your hosting package. Apparently PHP and Ajax somehow work differently on the "Ultimate" hosting plan vs. the "Delux."

    In the past two years, I have migrated each and every one of my new clients <b>away</b> from Go Daddy hosting and registrar service. Surprise, surprise... I am no longer having to deal with any midnight calls because functionality of the mysql_fetch_array() syntax has mysteriously stopped.

    With my new hosting provider, in the one instance where there was a mid-day, Sunday problem with one of my clients sites; I found that they actually have <i>real</i> techs, who live in the Continental US, who will resolve a problem without a song and dance about how throwing more money at the host will make code execute better. And for the same amount of money that GoDaddy charges.

    I'd rather deal with a grumpy, mean and nasty tech who is willing to and <i>knows</i> how to resolve an issue in a timely fashion, than a "polite" and "friendly" person who knows nothing other than throwing attempts at selling me something I do not need.
    frizzllefry
  • RE: Why I kinda like GoDaddy. Hint: it's all about service.

    Danica, FTW. Just sayin'.
    StephenChapman
  • RE: Why I kinda like GoDaddy. Hint: it's all about service.

    I love the service provided by GoDaddy. On the network server side of things, GoDaddy is my IT department. Long before Apple and Amazon were using the term, "cloud computing," GoDaddy gave me that service. I used GoDaddy's servers as a central repository for my work, during a masters degree program that I completed, last year, graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

    Not only are the company and its employees responsive to my queries, but so is Bob Parsons. I have written to him in the past, and he has responded to me.

    I also watch Bob's videos about basic business techniques, including his presentations about establishing vision, reigning in costs, and staying courageous. Bob Parsons understands the concepts of "deep change" and self reinvention, having modified his own business model according to changing technologies, from copiers and fax machines to the modern internet.

    I appreciate all of the functionality that GoDaddy offers, from programming languages to simple database interfaces for me to try, and when some new-in-thing comes along, like Joomla or WordPress, GoDaddy makes those applications available on its servers.

    Essentially, GoDaddy provides solid, current, stable, and thorough service.
    prwexler@...
  • RE: Why I kinda like GoDaddy. Hint: it's all about service.

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