Business, News Oct 15, 2013

How To Destroy A Brand In One Press Release


This morning a press release hit my inbox announcing that MediaTemple had been acquired by GoDaddy.  Right away, I started writing our clients who host their websites on MediaTemple, recommending that we start the process of finding them a new host.

Even if you’ve never used a computer, you’ve probably seen GoDaddy’s less-than-classy SuperBowl commercials, or maybe you heard about their CEO’s proclivity for shooting elephants. If you’re familiar with the world of web hosting, you probably know the other side of GoDaddy’s reputation: that they prey on naive customers by promising them the world for just $5.99/mo, then deliver awful service and a barrage of disorienting upsells every time they log into their account.

MediaTemple, which has a much lower profile, is in many ways the anti-GoDaddy. They were one of the first hosts to offer a simple grid-based hosting service, meaning that if your website hit the frontpage of a site like Reddit, they could handle the traffic. Their hosting service starts at about 4x the cost of GoDaddy’s, but delivers quite a bit of value for that price.  They target tech-saavy consumers who are after high quality, but easy-to-use hosting.  In the 6 years that I’ve been using them, they’ve tried to upsell me exactly zero times.   As far as I know, their CEO hasn’t shot any endangered mammals.

I understand why GoDaddy wanted to acquire MediaTemple.  I expect they wanted a brand that would lend credibility to their image with web developers and designers.   They wanted to reach a group of consumers who almost universally loathe GoDaddy.  And they picked a brand that those customers love.  What they seem to have underestimated is the backlash from those very same users.  Instead of improving GoDaddy’s brand, they’ve ruined MediaTemple’s.

Time will tell if GoDaddy is able to turn things around and convince the public that they won’t ruin MediaTemple.  In the meantime, we’ll be finding new online homes for our clients that hosted on MediaTemple.

Update: Marco Arment weighed in on the announcement, and there’s really no better way to sum up the two companies than this:

“GoDaddy is a horrible company run by horrible people selling horrible products. Media Temple made a big name for themselves in the late 2000s with modern design [and] strong branding with lots of parentheses…”

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