Internet domain registrar and web hosting company GoDaddy has officially launched its Australian operations, announcing former LinkedIn brand builder Tara Commerford as its country manager for Australia and New Zealand.
James Carroll, executive vice president of GoDaddy International, said Australia was one of the four markets the company first considered for international expansion. The company, which went public earlier this year, will be targeting the small business and startup sectors as it looks to grow its base of 13 million paying customers.
“With Tara at the helm, we have the opportunity to be closer to our small business customers and continue to help entrepreneurs turn their aspirations into reality,” he said.
GoDaddy wants to be a one stop shop for a small business and startup. As well as web hosting and domain name registration – it has over 300 top-level domains available – it provides email marketing and e-commerce solutions.
Commerford said the opportunity is huge, with the Australian small business sector an “underserved market.”
“Australia is built on small businesses…while nearly all of them are connected to the Internet, less than half have a website of their own. We want to help bridge this gap by continuing to empower small businesses to create and grow their online presence with relevant, affordable products and world-class customer care,” she said.
GoDaddy’s focus on the Australian market doesn’t come as a surprise. Following its IPO earlier this year, GoDaddy acquired Australian company Elto (originally Tweaky) founded by PJ Murray and Ned Dwyer.
Elto, which connects small businesses with website developers to make ‘tweaks’ or carry out small website-based projects, officially launched in July 2012 and had the backing of some of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs and VCs like Mark Harbottle (99Designs, Sitepoint), Leni Mayo (Learnable) and Niki Scevak (Blackbird VC), to name a few.
Prior to the acquisition and IPO – the company ended up raising $460 million with a valuation of $4 billion – GoDaddy had been working hard to transform itself and part of that planning has been the launch of GoDaddy Pro BETA, a program that the company created specifically to service web professionals.
The intention behind the technology was to provide a better, more in-depth service for its 13 million strong customer base. It was designed so that developers and web designers can manage site monitoring, shopping carts, account access and support functions across a dashboard for their clients.
It was clear after the acquisition was announced that the GoDaddy Pro service would work well for Elto’s community of developers and web professionals; they’ll have even more tools at their disposal to service small business clients who need a variety of small to medium sized projects completed for their websites.
Commerford, who was at LinkedIn Australia leading strategic partnerships and brand strategy prior to being tasked with heading up GoDaddy’s Australian operations, said she’s excited to get back into startup mode and build.
Of course, GoDaddy isn’t starting from the bottom. Though he wouldn’t reveal numbers, Carroll said GoDaddy has already developed a substantial customer base in Australia, with its service having been available for a number of years.
The company will be looking to grow by driving awareness within the market, educating small businesses about the benefits of creating an online presence.
GoDaddy’s competition is no longer just other web hosting providers; platforms like Oneflare and Yelp, which allow small businesses to reach customers directly without having to invest too much money or effort, are increasingly being seen as one of the best ways to create an online presence.