The GoDaddy.com Elephant Debacle and the Ethics of Frugality
As a result of extensive coverage of GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons posting a video showing him hunting and killing an elephant in Zimbabwe, outraged customers have jumped ship to other registrars and have exhorted others to do the same via Twitter hashtag #movingdomains.
Competitor NameCheap is capitalizing on the movement with a special "Bye bye, GoDaddy" promo code for 50% off the cost of domain registration.
This isn't the first time GoDaddy has sparked public criticism and calls for a boycott and while it remains to be seen how much of their 32% market share will be lost due this public relations debacle, it's likely that its business won't suffer a major loss when all is said and done. I personally know someone who moved 400 domains from GoDaddy to another provider at an estimated additional cost of $1,200--not to mention the time and aggravation. An avid animal rights activist, he was more than willing to vote with his wallet but often saving money triumphs over taking a stand.
This is the reason that GoDaddy will probably still remain the number one domain registrar--they are known for their cheap domain registration. While numerous outraged customers will take their business to a company whose CEO doesn't blithely poach pachyderms--or willfully exploit females in their advertising--many more will opt to stay with the budget-friendly pricing at GoDaddy. When the choice is between one's ethics and conscience vs. cost-consciousness, the latter more often wins out.
While many people have spoken out against the exploitative labor practices of Walmart, the $422 billion in revenue the company earned in 2010 indicates their discounted prices outweigh publicized problems such as low wages, poor working conditions, inadequate health care, anti-unionism and gender discrimination. Similarly, the allure of scoring a deal or getting bargain-priced merchandise has allowed many consumers to turn a blind eye towards issues such as sweatshop labor, piracy and counterfeit and knock-off goods, poor quality and defects.
For some, ethical sourcing and fair trade are important factors in the purchasing process. For most consumers, however, principles are trumped by price tag and the issue of ethics vs. frugality is the metaphorical "elephant in the room."
Are integrity and high standards important factors in choosing with whom you conduct business or are you more concerned with the bottom line?