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. 🙂

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. I can understand peoples fears of GoDaddy touching anything. They have a truly horrendous reputation to due to their previous business practices. They can redeem themselves in time, but I’m avoiding touching anything GoDaddy related until they’ve spent a lot more time to proving themselves.

  2. GoDaddy simply has a history that is hard to deny.

    Many years ago my last experience of being a direct GoDaddy customer ended after one of their support people would not answer a question and told me that I could read the manual just as well as he.

    I then became a MediaTemple customer. After the economy crashed (2008 – 2009) I went from being the boss who had a staff of full time tech people to learning how to do basic server administration myself. I was able to do this, because the MediaTemple support staff were really great. As long as I showed that I was willing to do the work and read tutorials, they were always there to point me in the right direction and help me solve my problems. But, immediately after MediaTemple was acquired by GoDaddy, every time I called support, I knew more than they did. So, I began asking if they had been hired after GoDaddy acquired MediaTemple. I was not surprised to find out that all these support staff, who knew less than me, were hired after the acquisition. I know some key things about server administration, but I am no expert. The thing I had liked best about MediaTemple was their staff. When GoDaddy acquired MediaTemple they received the “brand value” of that staff, but then replaced the excellent support staff with people who were not able to answer my questions.

    So, I became a WPengine customer shortly after the GoDaddy acquisition of MediaTemple. I’ve been really happy as a WPengine customer.

    It is good to hear from people that GoDaddy has made some improvements. However, I just hope and pray that WPengine is never acquired by them.

  3. Great article! I haven’t used GoDaddy for years for hosting, so i can’t say how well or not they handle things. But if they’re only charge $4/mo for hosting, I’m willing to bet you’re not going to get top tier hardware and a terrabyte pipe. You do still continue to get what you pay for.

    I love ManageWP – their product is absolutely fantastic and I’ve been using Orion since it’s first release in Beta and it has gotten immensely better and faster since its inception. I too have had my support tickets answered by the founder, how awesome is that?!?!

    Whenever I’ve had to deal with things outside of the norm for GoDaddy (I use them for domain registration/DNS only at this point) – their support has been fantastic. They answered my questions, helped me get things straightened out and even called me back the next day to make sure everything was going right. That sure doesn’t sound like a rotten company to me.

    ManageWP according to their blog is extremely profitable, they provide an amazing service and I don’t blame GoDaddy for buying them. The benefit of what they can offer to their customers is going to be something many other companies dream of. I bet we hear about InfiniteWP up for sale soon to some other hosting company just so that they can compete.

    Who knows, GoDaddy might even drop the costs or provide things that are currently premium options for free?

  4. Great post Carrie…
    I’ve never understood the drama and negativity that exists in the WP community.
    I love the direction GoDaddy is moving in to support WordPress. Had the pleasure of going to their offices in San Francisco for a meetup and really enjoyed connecting with them and hearing about what they’re doing.

    Awesome article.
    🙂

  5. People need to CHILL. This weekend I had the good fortune to have dinner with both Jeff King (Godaddy GM) and Vladimir (Manage WP). Everything is fine and will be even better as time goes on. The sky is not falling.

  6. I feel the same way Carrie and posted this on the AWP group thread:

    “I started with GoDaddy back in Nov 2006 and through trial and error, the support team of GD were my ‘teachers’ for learning how to work with hosting and domains.

    I called so many times that I have my customer number memorized and 90% of the time I had great conversations and issues solved.

    This level of animosity that comes out at GoDaddy and anyone that partners with them, isn’t very becoming of the WordPress community.

    Just think of all those that agree with this thread but keep silent to avoid being bashed or shamed.”

    I agree that the work that Mendel, Frankie and other GD evangelists are doing, are really helping turn the tide.

  7. Tabatha DiDomenico

    Let’s not underestimate the shock from the announcement. It just seems like strange bedfellows.

    Like when you find out your best friend is hanging out with the jock. (Nancy/Steve) Maybe we all settled into ManageWP character as one of us – the nerd who has her paper in on time and will score an A. Now she is dating that guy.

    Maybe Carrie is right and GoDaddy isn’t “that guy” anymore. Only time will tell. Hooray for freedom of opinions though!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Carrie Dils uses Accessibility Checker to monitor our website's accessibility.