The Wall Street Journal reported today that GoDaddy, which is a privately held company, may be up for auction. GoDaddy is the world’s largest registrar, with over 43 million domains, and posted revenue between $750 and $800 million in 2009.
The story has been picked up by the San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters Canada, Domain Name News, and others. It’s too soon to tell what this move (if it’s true) could mean for GoDaddy and its customers. Commenters on Mashable are speculating that Google would be the obvious choice to jump in and buy the company (“GoogleDaddy,” anyone?), given that the tech giant already has such a stronghold on the internet space.
I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, because I love Google, but I don’t know if I want them to have that kind of control. Imagine all of those parked pages with Google feeds, registered to the same company…and how would it affect Adsense? And Adwords? I think we already hand over so much information to Google with the Webmaster Tools (which are, undoubtedly, useful, but still give Big G an intimate view of our domains, keywords, and how we’re using them), that I’m hesitant to give them any more.
Google isn’t the only big name being mentioned. Ebay, Apple, and Amazon also have the presence and infrastructure to handle GoDaddy’s large customer base and assets.
Jesse Ma of Gawker Media (@JesseMa on Twitter) says Amazon would make a particularly attractive suitor. You can read his original post here as well as the follow-up article. Can you imagine clicking on Amazon’s front page and seeing the latest bestselling novels, electronics, and domain names, too? That’s probably wishful thinking, but it’s a nice thought.
GoDaddy is reportedly hoping to attract upwards of $1 Billion, and has retained the services of Qatalyst Partners to manage the private auction. It will be interesting to see which of these big companies step up to the plate.