Bob Parsons will never be famous for his doggerel, but his memorably named company is producing some pretty poetic revenue.
Parsons, president of the Scottsdale-based GoDaddy Group, heads a software and Internet enterprise that is among the fastest growing companies in Arizona. Despite a weak high-tech economy, GoDaddy’s revenue increased 190 percent in 2002 over the previous year. And the company is on track to grow another 80 percent this year.
The company’s primary business is registration of domain names, software programs that allow people to set up their own Web sites and Web hosting. And it has expanded into new areas such as e-mail accounts and spam filters that are furthering his strategy of providing a range of complementary software products and services.
Parsons thinks the name has been a factor in the company’s success. "The GoDaddy Web site gets almost four million hits a month, and only 5 percent of that comes from advertising," he said. "The rest must have been from branding, people remembering our name."
He insists there is no unusual story behind the name. He founded the company as Jomax Technologies in Scottsdale in 1997 but decided two years later that the company needed a more memorable label.
"We did a lot of brainstorming, and GoDaddy just kind of fell out of the sky," he said. "Some people said BigDaddy or FatDaddy, but GoDaddy is what stuck."
The adventurous 52-year-old entrepreneur, who has bungee jumped in New Zealand and run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, entered the software business in 1984 while he was living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He started the Parsons Technology company in his basement, almost as a hobby. Within 10 years he sold the company to Intuit for $64 million after developing a series of tax, financial, legal and business productivity programs.
He started Jomax Technologies three years later using the proceeds from the sale, but he admitted he didn’t have much of a plan.
"We had a lot of money and no ideas," he said.
Parsons tried education software and networking, and became an Internet service provider but eventually settled on Web site creation. In November 2000 the company became an official domain name registrar sanctioned by the Internet Corporation for Assignment of Names and Numbers.
Customers can register a domain name at GoDaddy.com for a minimum of one year or up to 10 years. The annual registration price of $8.95 decreases the longer the domain name is registered.
GoDaddy claims to have risen from No. 47 in number of total domain registrations in 2001 to No. 4 last year. The number of total domain registrations grew 125 percent from May 2002 to May 2003, from one million to nearly 2.4 million, the company said.
Other indicators of GoDaddy’s growth:
• The company ranked No. 1 among all registrars in net new domain name registration in 2002 and the first quarter of 2003, with a new domain registered every 17 seconds.
• The number of customers of GoDaddy Group increased 152 percent, from 338,010 in June 2002 to 851,757 in June of this year.
• The group has 243 employees, a 94 percent increase from the middle of last year.
The company was recognized in June as the fastest growing company among 100 privately owned businesses at the Arizona Corporate Excellence Private 100 ceremony, with sales growing from $10 million in 2001 to $29 million in 2002 — a gain of 190 percent.
GoDaddy Group, formerly Parsons Advanced Holdings, is the parent company of several related companies: GoDaddy.com, which is the domain registrar and offers other related Internet services; Starfield Technologies, developer of software systems and services; WildWestDomains.com, a domain name reseller service; and Domains By Proxy, a privat e name registration service.
Connie Parker, vice president of Johnson Bank, who has followed the company, said it has benefited from strong management and good value for their products.
"Their prices are less than the competition, which has allowed them to take significant market share," she said. "And they have good service behind it."
Because the company is well-capitalized, it has been able to take advantage of opportunities that a struggling start-up couldn’t, she said.
Parson said the company is profitable and has no debt. Profits are used to develop new products such as the Spam Xploder, which filters spam out of e-mail. Parsons has six more products under development, which he hopes will keep the company going into the future.
"My exit strategy is to be cremated," he said. "I’m going to stick with this company."