Online space warms up with Go Daddy’s entry in India

The Economic Times,

The online space is getting more interesting with the entry of Go Daddy in India. The web hosting and domain name registration giant is expanding in India with the appointment of former Microsoft executive Rajiv Sodhi to lead its India business. As managing director for its India business, Sodhi will oversee Go Daddy’s expansion in India and has begun hiring a team. Based in New Delhi, he is the company’s first employee in India and also the first non-US citizen to become a part of its global management team.

The company stated India being a priority market for global expansion. There is an increased activity off late from Indian businesses to come online while new e-commerce websites are being started every day. Governments are moving towards e-governance while educational institutions are moving admission procedures online. Go Daddy sells domain names, hosting space, the primary requirements for anyone to come online, along with SSL certificates, Domain names are website addresses, while web hosting is the space to store website contents that are sent over the Internet to be displayed to the users visiting the websites. SSL certificates are authenticators and identifiers for websites that need secure transactions like in e-commerce or banking.

Go Daddy, which began in 1997, offered low cost online products to small and medium enterprises in the US and later expanded worldwide. Currently, the company states it has around 10.3 million customers and around 53 million domain names under management. It started offering offering .IN domain names, India’s country specific domain extension, from January 2009.

Like in the US, the company is also looking to target and expand into the SMEs in India, where it expects to have its largest international office before the end of this year. “Go Daddy offers a one-stop shop for small businesses and consumers who are looking to grow their businesses on the Internet. From a simple domain name, or a mobile website, to cloud services, Go Daddy has it all,” Sodhi said. Companies in India could already buy Go Daddy services, everything being online. With an office in India and a separate business centre, the company can now offer local products customised for Indian markets, with local support. “Our vision is to expand our footprint in India, hire locally and serve customers in India with people who speak their language,” Go Daddy CEO Warren Adelman said.

Go Daddy is entering a market where a race for SMEs has just begun off late. Companies in the web domain and hosting have been aggressively pushing for SMEs to take their businesses online. In November last year, search giant Google and web hosting provider Hostgator started the India Get Your Business Online project to entice SMEs who never had a website to try one free for a year. Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises, Standard Chartered Bank and ICICI Bank are partners in the project. There is no disclosure yet on how many websites have been booked in this project. India has 26 million SMEs., an online B2B marketplace for SMEs, which allows them to list free business catalogs, has over 5 lakh SMEs on it.

Big Rock, another domain registration and hosting provider had started a TV campaign last year offering domains names and websites for Rs 99. It came back with its TV campaigns in January this year, offering .COM and .ORG websites at under Rs 500. The ads featured fun and humour around businesses like maid servant provider, cheer leader provider, chest stylist, ink maker, etc. Essentially they harped on the point that those who have a business should also have a website.

According to INRegistry, India’s official .in domain registry, 89 companies operate in India, in the domain name registration business. Go Daddy is currently ranked fifth in the order of sales in India. This registry only counts the sale of .in domains. Times Internet Limited, a subsidiary of Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, which owns The Economic Times, is also in the business of providing domains and hosting services.