GoDaddy, a technology provider serving millions of very small businesses, has been on an aggressive expansion kick since 2013. And it’s most recent expansion announcement is for geographical products and services.
GoDaddy  recently added localized products and support in 14 new languages. That brings the total number of languages it supports to 17, in 42 markets and supporting 44 currencies. Countries now served include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain.
GoDaddy traditionally has been known for its domain name registrations, web hosting and website builder tools. But more recently, after a leveraged buyout and a new management team in place, the company has been on an aggressive expansion path to broaden the ways in which it supports small businesses, and the products and services it provides.
Expanding Based on Geography
Blake Irving, GoDaddy CEO since late 2012 , told us in a recent interview that the international expansion is part of GoDaddy’s mission to support the needs of small businesses located outside of the United States, that have 1 to 5 people.
Eighty-five percent of small businesses in the United States consist of five people or less. “Outside the U.S., the size of businesses is even smaller,” he says.
There are over 200 million small businesses worldwide, including the United States. In the United States 50% have a website, but outside the U.S. the percentage without a website is much larger and GoDaddy’s market opportunity is very large, he adds.
While language and local currencies for e-commerce are obvious ways that needs differ outside the U.S., he points out that localization also includes more subtle differences. “The images we provide for websites in Chile are different from those we provide in Peru, because the cultures are very different.”
To illustrate that point, GoDaddy provided us with a series of images it uses, all of which differ depending on the country targeted.
- The image at the top of this article is designed to be used for the U.S. market.
- The image in the middle of this article is designed to appeal to India, showing an Indian native in the image, as well as domain name differences.
- And the image toward the bottom of this article is localized for use in Russia, using Cyrillic characters but just as importantly, showing a person of Russian ethnicity.
Meeting the Global Needs State of Small Businesses Worldwide
While the internationalization of GoDaddy offerings may be of some help to U.S. based businesses that want to expand into other countries, that’s not the main driver of GoDaddy’s international expansion. Geographic expansion is really about GoDaddy meeting the needs of small businesses located outside of the United States.
There are over 200 million small businesses worldwide, including the United States. In the United States 50% have a website, but outside the U.S. the percentage without a website is much larger and the opportunity is very large, Irving says.
“These small businesses need to be served by someone and no one is doing it today,” he says. “Once you leave the USA it’s a very fragmented market landscape. No one is doing anything in a way that scales globally.” GoDaddy, he adds, because of its scale is in a position to provide services at a lower cost than smaller competitors.
Expanding Products and Services for the U.S. Market
For the U.S. market, expansion has been more in terms of providing new products and services to help very small businesses be more productive and effective in running their businesses. Says Irving, “We know that some of our small business customers in the United States don’t necessarily want to grow. [They may be looking more for solutions] to save them time and give them more freedom, rather than grow the business.”
To that end, since 2013 GoDaddy has been on an acquisition and expansion path to add products like bookkeeping, invoicing and marketing services like GetFound , as well as expand its hosting offerings by acquiring MediaTemple .
Irving has an ambitious vision for GoDaddy: to be the technology platform that very small businesses operate their businesses from, front end and back end — no matter where those small businesses may be located.