How to kill an elephant, your online reputation and anger a swarm of mosquitoes
When I read this, Webpronews Godaddy, I was surprised to see the number of comments – apparently hundreds of people felt the need to comment – within 2 days! That means, this issue touched a nerve… Something to remember next time you post your holiday-video online – and then brag about it!
In short, Bob Parson, the CEO/Owner of Go Daddy (hosting & domains) went to Zimbabwe with a hunting rifle – shot an elephant
bull female in a cornfield, gave the locals GD-swag and filmed not only the hunting, but also the butchering. Claiming that it was a rogue bull, that shooting it was the only option and that it provided meat for the starving people.
I was a GD client for several years – but yesterday I transferred my (clients) domains away from them (and not renewing the ones I left with them). Because of the above. Not because their products are bad (ok, their interface sometimes is cluttered and their upsell is obnoxious), but simply because I don’t support hunting. This senseless hunting takes plase all the time here in Southern Africa (and many other areas!) – it’s small people with big wallets and big guns needing to prove their manhood.
I know, elephants do destroy crops, trample villages and people. In some areas they have become a threat, so something needs to be done. In case of threatening herds, there are better solutions than simply killing them – particularly when it is done in an ‘uncontrolled’ way, by self-proclaimed conservationists that are basically only interested in the trophy-shots. But look at the cause. People invade the natural territories of game and wildlife on a daily basis. So what used to be the animals’ feeding-grounds for centuries, is taken away from them. Because of that, perhaps we should look into population-reduction – as opposed to wild-life extinction?
And yes, people in Zimbabwe are starving. But not because of an allegedly rogue elephant – unless you want to put that label on Robert Mugabe. No, the country is a completely ‘Failed State’ – it’s in the top 5 – all African countries – with elephants – for so long, as poaching decimates their numbers rapidly. By travelling to Zim, one bad Bob supported some other Bob – a totally corrupt and inhumane one. Yes, the villagers got some meat for a few days, but the money went to the baddest Bob of all – not to the people.
Also, it is claimed Parson shot a leopard. Was that a rogue animal as well? Destroying crops? Eating babies? Did Bob come to the rescue once again? Hard to believe; it was just another trophy – and even worse than the elephant, as leopards are even more endangered – and feed less starving people…
Parson thrives on publicity. I’m sure he got more than he begged for. Everywhere people started to cry out loud. “how to leave Godaddy” is a popular search term, with dozens of instruction-pages now. Competitor Namecheap (no, I didn’t need to watch the vids) offered a transfer-special, donating $1 per domain to Save the Elephants. Even banners are designed: Bye Daddy swag. That is all within a few days – even before big media picks up on it.
Update 10 April: apparently my post and the massive media-coverage made Bob (or his PR guru) a bit nervous – his original video now re-surfaces heavily edited. He intially claimed to fully stand behind his actions, including his videos. Although I doubt he will give up hunting, he now tries to save some of his public image? Or business?
Internet can be your friend – as self-made man Parson knows: he built GD from scratch and is now the biggest domain registrar – I have a lot of respect for that. However, it can turn into your worst enemy as well… we will probably never know how many clients Bob lost, but his 2 shots killed more than just that bull… yet, I don’t think he, as a former Marine, will lose much sleep over it….
Some people may argue that I ‘make an elephant out of a mosquito’ (as the Dutch say). And obviously, Bob is the elephant here, whereas I’m nothing more than, well, a futile mosquito. But then, Anita Roddick, put it cleverly: “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”
As a mosquito I now go to bed knowing that I put my money where my mouth is.
UPDATE: $20.000 donated!