How to kill an elephant, your online reputation and anger a swarm of mosquitoes

Thank you, Sarah: http://sarahactivated.blogspot.com/2011/04/bye-bye-daddy-badges.html 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!

15 comments

  1. Tom Napier

    And good for you to write this blog, Jacques! There are times when the wild and mankind intersect but for such proud species as elephants and leopards to be gunned down, just to satisfy the ego of one man, its a shame. It takes many drops of water to make an ocean but each drop is necessary. If there were no rain drops, we wouldn’t have the oceans, or even rain. Corporate empires are built w/ money, so like those drops that make up the ocean, if we take the money away from that corporation, there won’t be much of an empire left. The power of one has just been doubled, so lets see if we can start an exodus of rain drops supporting the ego of both Bobs you wrote about above.

    There has never been a time in history where so many species have been affected by mankind. However, today, its within mankind’s power to prevent this from occurring. Maybe the prevention of mankind’s extinction process has started with this simple blog. It has to start one day or mankind will be the only species left on earth.

  2. Great post. I didn’t see the full video he posted, I wouldn’t even want to but the little I saw where he was posing with this great creature was enough to turn my stomach. It made me wish I had some GD accounts to cancel. There is always a way to handle these situations rather than shooting the elephant. I saw a gentleman last night on the news discussing the use of bees as well as electric fences. Albeit there is not currently any electricity in that area that could be changed and in the meantime bees could be used.

    Those who hunt big game disgust me, and they are only a few bucks away from hunting humans. Which sadly does happen yet is never spoke of.

  3. Thanks Tom – much appreciated!

    I’m not a treehugger, I do eat meat, I pollute and I do get tired of people that constantly bash corporations for all the (perceived) bad they do – but, killing animals for pleasure/prowess is just too much.
    Parson won’t miss my bucks. But perhaps it is a signal to other wannabe ‘heroes’. Or maybe they just keep their hunting even more secret from now on. In that case they become more vulnerable for exposure later on. It’s now up to the watchdogs to keep the pressure on. As you put it: every little drop helps.

  4. cristina falcão

    What a shame!
    Did he really think he could just do what he did, plus out it on the web?
    Great post, Jacques!

  5. Hi SME,

    I read they could use impregnated wire as well. Thanks to the internet, research has become so much easier. If he was really concerned about crops, he could have donated it to the farmers? To me it sounds like lame excuses… I figure humans are hunted as well,yes – unfortunately no game-hunters are hunted – that would level the playfield…

  6. Cristina,

    Apparently he did – underestimating the power of social media and not realising he lost touch with the sentiments of the people out there. But he is not the first CEO to suffer from that.

    Thanks for commenting!

  7. You write beautifully and unlike me, you actually know what the hell you’re talking about :)

    Thanks so much for using my badge. It means a lot.

    I’m glad to see the commenters on this post share the same sentiments as you and I.

  8. Thanks Sarah – both for commenting and the badges! I sure hope this creates awareness – not only by the public in the general, but also by researchers and philantropists: they are spending millions on curing Aids and malaria, but in a sense that aggrevates the problems for wildlife – especially in weak countries with little to no law-enforcement to protect the game.

  9. Bob Flenner

    Great post JJJ, as always well said. I love the arrogance; we have usurped the natural ranges of these animals and we blame them for acting like…well…animals.

  10. Thanks – at last a ‘good’ Bob in this post… Very true – but sadly, we act like animals ourselves – a few millennia of ‘civilization’ has brought us, well….. bigger guns….

  11. Bob Flenner

    I had to stand up for the name,after all! Sadly, bigger guns and no increase in cranial volume.

  12. So true Bob and JJJ. We categorized these animals in whatever way most benefits the humans (and I use that term loosely). It is much the same as the aerial wolf hunts here in Alaska. The Moose and caribou herds are dwindling because of hunting yet we blame the wolves and shoot them from above. It makes me sick. If any area is overwhelmed with wolves then move them, don’t shoot them. But that doesn’t satisfy the out of state buddies of our politicians that want to bag a bear or a moose so instead they make up an issue with wolves to kill them.

    Several years ago I was meeting with a potential client, and walked into their house (their offices were located on the property) and felt as if I had walked into a big game reserve. My God I was shocked at all the beautiful animals that had died just to give them bragging rights in their great room. It sickened me and I walked out. It just shows what big money buys these people.

  13. I never understand where the proclaimed ‘sportsmanship’ comes in when hunting animals. You know upfront that you’re going to ‘win’, as the gun is selected for that hunt – if not, you would take a bigger gun, right? It would be a fair match if you go out bare-handed: try to kill the animal with sticks or rocks – if you feel the primal urge to kill an animal for fun in the first place, that is, of course. To me those trophies and pics are nothing more than a pathetic display of lack of respect, civilization and sportsmanship – exactly the opposite of what the proud hunter tries to achieve.

  14. I have no issue with real hunting, especially for those that do subsistence hunting. But those that hunt for sport make me ill.

  15. @ SME: those hunters don’t post videos online, broadly smiling…