Web hosting giant Go Daddy announced on Thursday that it has partnered with retail office supply company OfficeMax to deliver Go Daddy’s small business web hosting services to customers in its physical stores.
Go Daddy is already probably the best known hosting provider, thanks to years of advertising in mainstream TV venues, including a yearly appearance in the Super Bowl since 2005. But the OfficeMax deal could extend its reach considerably, with the retailer operating roughly 900 stores in the US and Mexico, and earning more than $7 billion annually.
The new Go Daddy OfficeMax channel arrangement is not the first time a hosting company has attempted to sell its product in a physical retail environment. In 2002, C I Host partnered with CompUSA to place hosting packages in its retail stores. And in 2009 web design and hosting firm Slamdot opened its own storefront in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The OfficeMax partnership is the first big announcement to come out of the hosting company since a new Go Daddy CEO, Blake Irving, was introduced in December (excluding the news that Go Daddy’s 2013 Super Bowl ad would feature super model Bar Refaeli). But it doesn’t necessarily represent a new direction for the hosting company, which broadened its approach to serving small business customers in 2012 when Go Daddy acquired financial management software company Outright.
Go Daddy says in the press release announcing the OfficeMax partnership that 70 percent of its more than 11 million customers are small businesses.
“An in-store presence at OfficeMax gives Go Daddy the opportunity to help small business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses,” said Go Daddy vice president of marketing Teri Dhooge, quoted in the press release announcing the deal. “The Internet is at the heart of today’s economy. If you’re not building an online presence, you’re missing opportunities to capture new customers, yet, according to the US Census Bureau, nearly seventy-five percent of businesses don’t have a website. Partnering with OfficeMax means we can help more people leverage the power of the Internet – people who may not realize how easy it can be.”
The deal is not the first such arrangement to recognize the synergy between a hosting service and a more traditional small business service. Web-based small business printing service Deluxe acquired hosting provider Hostopia in 2008. In 2009, Deluxe acquired web host Aplus.net. In 2011, VistaPrint, a very similar printing services provider, acquired web hosting firm Webs.com.
That OfficeMax chose to partner with Go Daddy, rather than to pursue a similar acquisition, is a big win for the web hosting provider, both in terms of the increased exposure, and in the avoidance of another big competitor.
While the press release doesn’t describe exactly what a Go Daddy “in-store presence” at an OfficeMax retail location will look like, it sounds more like a hands-on service than a box on a shelf. The release says OfficeMax’s “exclusive bundles” of Go Daddy services – yearly packages that range from a simple domain and website to a more advanced online store – will enable businesses to register domains, create websites and “maximize their visibility on Internet search engines.”
“Trained OfficeMax store associates are available on-site to help each business select the Go Daddy website bundle that best meets their needs,” says the press release.
Talk back: Is the Go Daddy OfficeMax deal a big win for the web hosting provider? Is a traditional retail environment a useful opportunity to sell web hosting services to small businesses? Do you have any experience trying to move outside the traditional channels in selling your hosting services? Let us know in the comments.