What Does Free Earn? GoDaddy Go Figure

by Jay Deragon on 02/07/2008

What Does Free Earn?

The perplexing question for businesses is “how can we make money using the social web?”

Most view the social web as a playground, a place where people connect, converse and businesses view the economic game as purely one of advertising.

For years businesses have continuously tried to develop metrics to measure their return on advertising and marketing initiatives. Public relations and marketing firms have responded with a variety of models all designed to justify the huge expense firms spend on advertising and marketing. In the old days it was about eye balls and impressions, clicks and finally correlations of efforts vs. actual sales gains and value in branding.

These models and measures have been used by the gurus of marketing for years and the Fortune 500, and those wishing to be a Fortune 500, have taken the bait and adopted “the “trick of the trade” all aimed at getting our attention hoping to entice us to a call for action, buy something.

Consider the spending on the recent Super Bowl Ads. Millions for seconds of our attention but one must wonder what were the actual results gained by those advertisers. Data will be collected to justify the cost and spin will be used to demonstrate the proposed value gained. There is an old saying, figures don’t lie but liars figure.

What Does Free Earn? GoDaddy Go FigureGoDaddy’s Super Bowl Ad used sex ( the oldest game in the book) to draw peoples attention to their web site The ad cost GoDaddy millions to run. Subsequently GoDaddy’s video will be freely distributed throughout the web as more and more people engage in discussions, both the good and bad about the ad, the method and of course the brand.

Conversations Are Free But Will The Impact Help or Hurt Revenue?.

Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy reports: Our Web site has never been busier! Before the game was over, we received right at 1.5 million visits to our Web site. We had a whopping 2 million visitors for the day. This compares to last year when we had less than 1/2 million visitors. Traffic to our Web site today is up over 4 times normal levels. But the real test concerning any ad’s effectiveness is simply this: did it generate sales?

Before the ad aired Go Daddy’s worldwide market share of new domain name registrations was 25%. The following week this number catapulted to 32% and held there.

More than 160,000 customers took our survey after viewing the ad on GoDaddy.com’s Web site. 75% were male and 17% were female. The vast majorities of viewers liked “Exposure.” But here’s the surprise, 17.1% of males and 16.5% of females disliked the commercial – there was virtually no difference between the sexes! So you see, both ads not only worked, they were incredibly effective

Just How Effective Was the Ad?

There were 97.5 million viewers who watched the Super Bowl. According to GoDaddy they received 2 million visitors to their site or roughly 2% of the viewers. Of the 2 million visitors GoDaddy reports that 160,000 filled out a survey, or 8% of the visitors of which roughly 17% expressed a negative opinion of the ad. Wonder what the other 98% of the viewers thought about the ad?

GoDaddy reported the short term economic gains received as a result of their ad. GoDaddy used sex to stir traffic and attention. How well that translates to establishing customer relations and brand value to their core offering and subsequent earnings is yet to be seen.

Relationships have a long term effect and decisions based on short term traffic and results don’t always tell the full story. One wonders what the hidden effect of 96 million people who were exposed to the ad but didn’t go to GoDaddy’s web site and voice an opinion or make a purchase will be. One also wonders what the conversational rivers from the 96 million who did not visit the GoDaddy web site will produce and how many million others will be influenced by these conversations over time.

GoDaddy, and your advertising firm, you’ll have to go figure what relationships you really gained or lost over time.

What say you?


Ijaz Tareen February 9, 2008 at 3:51 am

Not to mention the 7% increase in the world wide market share and from one ad campaign doesn’t sound too bad to me.

Ijaz Tareen February 9, 2008 at 3:27 am

“Before the ad aired Go Daddy’s worldwide market share of new domain name registrations was 25%. The following week this number catapulted to 32% and held there.”

That’s almost a 25% increase in overall sales of godaddy. But you do have a point , that 0nly 2% of 96 Mil decided to visit godaddy, if we had some sort of percentage of general behaviour pattren of customers towards domain sales ads we would be in a lot better position to decide if it was worth it.

Jay Deragon February 8, 2008 at 7:06 am


Spot on and that was the objective of the post. Just because one gets traffic does not mean one has established good relations.

Jessan Dunn Otis February 8, 2008 at 6:02 am


As you reported, Parsons’ is quoted as saying that GoD’s website has never been busier; but, does that “busy-ness” translate into business?

In my experience, it’s not the hits but the customers/clients – all the rest is just ….blah, blah, blah.

What say you, please?

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