Some Thoughts on the ManageWP / GoDaddy Deal

I don’t typically write editorials — especially not ranty ones — but I’m going to today because I have opinions and a platform to share them (thank you, WordPress!).

ManageWP, a WordPress management tool I have publicly loved for years, was recently acquired by GoDaddy, a hosting company I have not historically had warm-fuzzy feelings for.

The uproar in the WordPress community is, frankly, shocking.

Generally speaking, acquisitions are always accompanied by mixed feelings of fear, uncertainty, excitement, and speculation. I’ve been through them in the past as both an employee and an outside observer. But this ManageWP acquisition by GoDaddy has unleashed a bizarre, venomous response that is, frankly, ridiculous.

I get it, people don’t like GoDaddy. The reasons vary based on experience (or perception). People are skittish that because their lovable ManageWP got eaten by the evil GoDaddy, they’ll morph overnight into something hideous and foul. So they’re jumping ship (or “threatening” to) quite loudly (and rudely).

Be civil, people. It’s business.

Allow me to share some of my personal experiences with both ManageWP and GoDaddy and why I’m happy for them both.

The people at ManageWP

ManageWP team
The Manage WP Team (look at all those humans!!)
photo borrowed from managewp.com

Introductions

I started using and writing about ManageWP long before I knew any of the people behind the company.

In 2013 I entered a contest they were hosting in exchange for my opinions about their service (for the record, I don’t need any incentives to give my opinions). At any rate, this opened the door to communication with Dejan Cancarevic and later on Milan Ilic. Those were also the same two gentlemen who helped me with the ManageWP affiliate program.

I met the Founder of ManageWP, Vladimir Prelovac early on as well – he was the one answering my support tickets. ๐Ÿ™‚

Most recently, I’ve had a lot of conversations with Nemanja Aleksic about the Orion beta program I participated in (and of course the eventual launch of Orion).

Supporting my business

Not long after I launched the OfficeHours.fm podcast, Vladimir reached out via email with this:

I’ve been keenly following your blog in the past few months or so. What I see is the determination to continue building a brand for yourself int he WordPress community as well as achieve financial goals.

I respect what you are doing and I also like the way you do it. That is why I would like to offer sponsorship of your podcast on a long term basis as I believe we have similar set of values based on providing value for our clients.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I emailed him back. ManageWP was the first company to sponsor my podcast and gave me the financial support I needed in those early months to keep going (2.5 years and over 100 episodes later, the podcast is going strong!).

Supporting the WordPress community

Have you heard of managewp.org? Aside from Post Status, it’s my primary news source for all things WordPress. It’s also social and encourages interaction through upvotes and comments. It’s a free resource for the WordPress community, powered and funded by ManageWP. (Thanks, guys!)

Aside from community efforts like managewp.org, my podcast is just one instance of many where Vladimir has invested time and money to help other people succeed. On social media, Vladimir’s tagline is:

I would love to change the world, I just don’t have the source code yet.

That’s the spirit of the man behind ManageWP, the guy that’s hitched his company to GoDaddy with the hopes of doing even better things than he’s already done.

The people at GoDaddy

Pressnomics 2016 at GoDaddy offices in Tempe, AZ photo courtesy of Mendel Kurland
Pressnomics 2016 at GoDaddy offices in Tempe, AZ
photo courtesy of Mendel Kurland

Introductions

If you’ve ever been to a WordCamp and stopped by the GoDaddy booth, you’ve met Mendel Kurland. He is a purveyor of fun and goodwill for the WordPress community. I attend a lot of WordCamps (though a mere percentage compared to Mendel) and my WordCamp experience is not complete until I’ve hugged him and had a good catch-up session.

Then there’s Christopher Carfi. I believe I first met him at Pressnomics 2015. We may or may not have danced in a country western bar. Or how about Gabriel Mays? I met him at Pressnomics 2016. His wife is the first female Blue Angel, which is beyond cool. There’s also Frankie Jarrett and Andy McIllwain. And these are just the people I’ve met in person!

Supporting the WordPress community

I mentioned Mendel earlier and WordCamps. I don’t know how many WordCamps that GoDaddy sponsors, but it’s A LOT.

By the way, if you’ve never been to a WordCamp or even heard of one, here’s a summary: it’s a 1-2 day conference focused on everything WordPress. For a $20 ticket, attendees get a full day of education, a meal, a ticket to a post-conference party, and priceless encounters with other people in the WordPress community. And it’s so affordable because of companies like GoDaddy that help significantly subsidize the cost.

GoDaddy doesn’t just send a box of t-shirts to these events. They send wonderful human collateral: Mendel, Frankie, Christopher…

And they don’t just do sponsorships. They recently hired Aaron Campbell on as a full-time WordPress contributor. That means they pay him to work on the WordPress project.

Does GoDaddy benefit from WordPress? Absolutely! But they’re not just taking. They’re actively pouring back into WordPress.

Me, post-slide
Me, post-slide

At Pressnomics 2016, I had the pleasure of seeing the GoDaddy offices in Tempe, AZ – it was certainly a side of GoDaddy I hadn’t seen before. The facility was like a candyland, complete with pedal-powered cars you could drive around the halls in and a giant slide. There was also a basketball court and air hockey. Fun stuff aside, I enjoyed touring their massive call support area, which showed giant digital “scoreboards” keeping track of how many callers were in queue, average wait time, etc.

I liked the culture I saw.

We’re all “just a bunch of humans”

ManageWP was at a point in their business where, in order to do the things they want to do and grow in the ways they want to grow, they needed more support. Vladimir clearly saw how a partnership with GoDaddy would align with his vision for ManageWP. He’s a savvy business man.

And, of course, GoDaddy wins an amazing product that they can offer their managed WordPress hosting customers.

The acquisition was good business.

Ditching ManageWP because of their new affiliation with GoDaddy is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater (assuming the proverbial bathwater even needs to be thrown out). I’m happy that people I appreciate and admire at both companies are finding success.

When you ridicule, insult, or question the decision-making skills of the people involved, you look ignorant. Ignorant of what’s happening at a business level. At a relationship level. At a personal level.

37 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on the ManageWP / GoDaddy Deal”

  1. Thank you for the rant Carrie. I use both services, GoDaddy mainly because my clients ask for it, have their domains registered there already, and are comfortable and happy with the choice.

    Just had a terrible experience with a client who wanted to stay with Media Temple, and found out later they are owned by GoDaddy. Years ago Media Temple was a trailblazer for WordPress hosting, now they are just a shared hosting service with really bad support.

    So close on the heels of the MediaTemple experience, was thinking seriously about leaving ManageWP, but you’ve helped change my mind. Though I’ll be watchful going forward.

  2. Left GoDaddy in 2009-10(?) time frame, LOVE Manage WP and willing to ‘wait and see’ –

    There is a reason why I think the knee-jerk reaction went so deeply – I, myself, have watched wonderful, local/small regional companies go from awesome to OMG after being successful enough to be eyed/acquired by big nationally known ones in the following industry areas:

    Telephone/Internet Service
    Propane Service
    Health Insurance
    Home/Property insurance
    Public School Bus Transportation Services
    Courier Services for rural areas
    Home-Health Care services for rural areas
    Cable/Satellite TV services in remote areas – (psst! You can tell where I call home? EH? LOL)

    Anyways, like always, I will be gracious to tech support, try to ride out the transition hiccups, as I’m a managedWP customer AND, just recently got 4 customers wrested away from ‘cheap, shared server hosting service” that I had been meaning to do, since buyout, but could never find good time to do – and so, getting fired-up and such when you, yourself, are under big strain, is ridiculous – LOL

    But….given my long list of examples/experiences, each time, I get a little more ready to have back-up plan/one-foot-at door-step ready – just cuz, only way I’ve found to not have a total heart-attack and ranting frenzy if/when things do go exactly how I feared they might – I will happily stay and support if things continue along with great service, etc., will sadly wave goodbye with, thanks for the good times, if they don’t and in the end, it’s just easier on me – ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great post and really helped me in some of my own research to-do list, etc., just by reading post and comments – Long Live WP community! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Completely agree! I’ve honestly been a long-time supporter and user of many of GoDaddy’s services, and can’t grasp what all the complaints are about (sometimes it seems people think they’re the Nickelback of hosting) over the years. Of course support can vary at times based on the font-line personnel, but that’s always a possibility and shouldn’t taint your opinion of an entire company if it’s only occasional.
    And for ManageWP, well of course I’m a huge fan and have been an enthusiastic user for many years as well. Looking forward to the partnership and how it’ll move the two companies ahead and benefit us users ๐Ÿ™‚

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