Hostgator founder launches new hosting company, offers 2 years of free hosting, to spite GoDaddy.

Potatoe

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Brent Oxley sold Hostgator for 300m back in 2013, and went on to put together one of the premiere portfolios of domain names including gems like: broker.com, document.com, athlete.com, cpu.com, zombie.com, import.com, toll.com, storm.com, opinion.com, limit.com, diagnose.com, brokerage.com, veg.com, message.com, piano.com, pack.com... there's like 100 more of this caliber. You get the idea.

Recently, someone in another country filed a sketchy claim in court, which resulted in GoDaddy locking a significant portion of Brent's portfolio, meaning they're basically off the market now. All it took to get the names locked was a court filing from somewhere on the other side of the planet. (FWIW: This guy also contacted NameCheap to try to get additional names locked, and NameCheap said NOPE.)

This blog did a more in-depth write up if you want more than the TLDR.

Brent, in a self-described moment of weakness, tried to pay this person $10k to drop it, and buyers of Brent's names offered 10's of thousands to the person, but they demanded more. They wanted compensation for supposedly helping broker some domain name deals, allegedly without any type of contract or agreement in place. In my limited experience with brokers, you can barely say "hello" without a contract. Brent says it's all basically nonsense, and that this guy didn't do anything to earn a commission.

This is relevant to us because, imagine you're in the process of selling a high-profile site, and someone decides to spend $12 somewhere in the world, gets a local court to take them seriously, and GoDaddy decides to lock your shit up. Maybe a competitor, maybe a buyer who wants to encourage a panic-sale, maybe somebody who wants to extort you since they know you're desperate for the sale to go through smoothly... Whoever it is, it doesn't take much to derail whatever you've got going on.

Brent had been on the fence about getting back into the hosting game since selling HostGator, but after dealing with GoDaddy, he decided to get the band back together and launch a new brand that's 100% Texas-based. Anyone who hasn't felt like doing extreme things after dealing with GoDaddy probably hasn't dealt with GoDaddy for very long.

In a recent forum post, Brent explained:

"I’ve been on the fence for a while now about launching my new hosting company Create. If it wasn’t for Godaddy poking me, I’m not sure I would have ever entered back into the hosting space; at least one good thing came from this nonsense!

Now it's time to steal some of their market share as payback! I was told at the time of Hostgator's exit that we hosted more sites than GoDaddy. If I did it once, I can do it again."

He seems pretty serious about seizing some of that market share, since he's offering 2 years of free hosting to get the ball rolling with his new brand, Create.com.

https://www.create.com/promo?promo_code=RapidFireDomaining - Here's the code to get 2 free years of hosting on any of their plans (without the link, you get 1 year by default), and this seems to include their $75/month WP business plan, so that's about $1800 worth of free hosting.

(Not an aff-link, I have zero affiliation with Brent or Create.com, just thought this story was interesting enough to share. I haven't used Create.com, don't know if it's any good. They have some sort of automated site-migration tool that will clone your site and then run speed tests on it to see if you'd get a performance boost by switching, that's kinda cool.)
 
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Potatoe

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What if he got a friend to file the case to make a pr worthy story for the new launch... the plot thickens

He also owns CIA.com so who knows how deep this goes...



But realistically, it's probably a case of "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."

Here's another post from Brent that describes some of the interesting messages he's been getting from the guy who locked his names:

"I'm positive Puneet is insane. He has sent me thousands upon thousands of emails, messages, calls, etc, etc. Many of these messages involve death threats, talking about praying to the devil, drugs, pictures of mutilated naked bodies, and all kinds of craziness. In a few of the messages, he told me he got in trouble for waiting outside Prime Minister Modi's private house and office for trying to talk to him. I'm not sure I would have even believed this if it wasn't for him sending over a document that was an official complaint against the officer that questioned him for harassment!"
I've seen some wild posts from the duder in question here and the above kinda checks out.
So far, the two morals of this story are don't broker shit without a contract, and don't try to stiff your broker.
 

secretagentdad

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I love brokering shit with out a contract and getting screwed. Lol. Y the hate. We got lots of hand shake borkers around here.

Sounds like he just has a stalker.

This sounds very interesting. Looks like he’s for real about picking up retail market share. Really curious about the unmetered bandwidth claims and how long that will last.

If it’s actually unmetered they might be a really competitive host for larger media assets.
 

Potatoe

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If it’s actually unmetered they might be a really competitive host for larger media assets.

From their ToS:

"Shared accounts have unmetered bandwidth resource usage. This means that the bandwidth transfer speed of the server is set, but there is no restriction to how much you can use. Reseller and Wordpress accounts are subject to the terms of the plan that was purchased."

"Shared hosting space may only be used for web files, active email and content of User Websites. Shared hosting space may not be used for storage (whether of media, emails, or other data), including, as offsite storage of electronic files, email or FTP hosts. Create.com expressly reserves the right to review every shared account for excessive usage of CPU, disk space and other resources that may be caused by a violation of this Agreement or the Acceptable Use Policy. Create.com may, in our sole discretion, terminate access to the Services, apply additional fees, or remove or delete User Content for those accounts that are found to be in violation of Create.com’s terms and conditions. Create.com reserves the right to temporarily suspend any account found using more than 25% of the server’s total resources (Memory, CPU, etc.) for more than 90 seconds at a time to maintain the integrity of the server."
 

Golan

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What if he got a friend to file the case to make a pr worthy story for the new launch
Nah. If you have ever read NamePros, you know that guy is totally crazy. Threatens to kill people etc. He was banned a couple times there i think but somehow admins there are too kind.
 

secretagentdad

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Way to crush my dreams.
Was enjoying a nice fantasy about cutting infrastructure costs.

I hate marketing hype homepage copy.

That sounds like limited everything And unlimited nothing when you read the legal version of the claim.
 
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Potatoe

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That's one of the locked domains, it's addressed in the article I linked:

"Oxley confirmed, though, that his new hosting business wouldn’t be affected by the locking of Create.com since the domain is only used for sales and has nothing to do with the hosting servers that keep his customer’s sites online."
I would bet he's going to move it out as soon as he can, lol.
 

Golan

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He seems pretty serious about seizing some of that market share
I just realized, this way he doesn't only punish Godaddy for their douchebaggery, but also many legit and honest smaller hostings...
 

bernard

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He is going to be very popular on Digital Point.
 

Jared

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I signed up. It's quick and easy, and doesn't even require adding any payment options.

I setup a WordPress install. Again, very quick and easy. There's nothing on the frontend of the site outside of the installation default, but the backend feels lightning fast; as fast, if not faster than the SiteGround I'm paying $40/month for.

I'm tempted to switch over, but I'm skeptical about using something so unproven and "free."
 

Golan

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And me they put on manual review. Not a word since yesterday...
 

Jared

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I threw up a WordPress install, a middle-of-the-pack Theme Forest theme, 7 plugins, and a few pages of content, and then quickly setup WP-Rocket and AutoOptimize (2 of the 7 plugins).

Here are the results from Google Page Speed (first and only test):





Good enough to tell Site Ground to stick it.

Am I still a little skeptical? Sure, but that's what site backups are for.

Edit: For anyone curious, I'm scoring 98 Desktop and 79 Mobile with WP-Rocket and AutoOptimize disabled.
 
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I setup a WordPress install. Again, very quick and easy. There's nothing on the frontend of the site outside of the installation default, but the backend feels lightning fast; as fast, if not faster than the SiteGround I'm paying $40/month for.
When people are enthusiastically speaking of fast shared hosting where WordPress backed is snappy...
I mean, $40-50 is a starting price for EU dedicated servers with latest AMD processors, SSDs, more RAM than you ever need. And then you're free to setup whatever caching mechanism you want.

WordPress site hosting scene is just weird.
But I guess that's the price to pay if one doesn't want to pay attention to technical details.
 
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This is an amazing public relations campaign from Brent Oxley.

I doubt any of GoDaddy's managers or employees would be offended by a new competitor in the market. There's new companies in the hosting market all the time and employees and managers get paid no matter what. A new competitor would not affect them at all. It's not fear evoking or offensive or annoying or hurtful, any of the requirements for a successful spite. Brent Oxley is not their antagonist at all. This story makes it seem like that. GoDaddy won't be upset by a new competitor, unfortunately, as it is business as usual to get new competitors and it'll be business as usual at GoDaddy after this story is over as well.

I also doubt that Brent Oxley is doing this purely out of spite. He has the knowledge and expertise to start a new hosting company and I'm sure he did the market analysis. He's riding on this story for free publicity.

It's amazing public relations as GoDaddy has a bad reputation and many unsatisfied customers. Many of them host on GoDaddy or have hosted with GoDaddy or are webmasters. A story of someone spiting GoDaddy with a new hosting service, which is free, would get so many initial customers to the hosting company's customer base. Customers who have had a bad time with GoDaddy would sympathize and feel empowered and sign up. The target audience are webmasters and domainers. The vehicle is through blogs and domainer websites and webmaster websites, including this one. The power comes from the intense dislike of GoDaddy within the market place.

The only person we haven't heard from is GoDaddy. I wonder what their reasoning for freezing Brent Oxley's domains were. The story makes that Indian guy seem insane, which he probably is; but, there must be some policy within GoDaddy to allow for his complaint to be taken seriously. If the policy is poorly written, it should be rewritten.
 
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There's new companies in the hosting market all the time and employees and managers get paid no matter what
Yeah, until the customer base shrinks due to competition and the managers and employees start to get laid off. They aren't a charity. The managers might be aware of it, and might not get offended, but get fearful for their jobs.

Customers who have had a bad time with GoDaddy would sympathize and feel empowered and sign up.
This proves my point above.

I'm kinda confused about what you are writing. It's kinda smart, stupid, nonsense, and good insight in the same post.
 
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Yeah, until the customer base shrinks due to competition and the managers and employees start to get laid off. They aren't a charity. The managers might be aware of it, and might not get offended, but get fearful for their jobs.

This proves my point above.

I'm kinda confused about what you are writing. It's kinda smart, stupid, nonsense, and good insight in the same post.
You're under valuing the switching cost for domains and hosting. It's much higher than what you're expecting, especially for business. GoDaddy's fine. The hypothetical situation you're imagining will never happen. No managers are going to switch their companies' hosting service to a shared hosting service to save 2 years of hosting expenses. For institutional customers of GoDaddy, they're not going to switch anytime soon. Doing so would cost $x,xxx in employee time, which isn't worth it.

I'm telling you that BuSo fell for a PR stunt by Brent Oxley, so that he can promote his new business. There's people here who own like 10 Wordpress sites who would switch hosting just because of 2 years of free hosting. That's the target audience. The speed optimization is another lure for these small time webmasters. Enjoy the free hosting guys! If I were you, I'd just focus on what makes me more money instead of what saving me $20/month for 24 months... AWS is pretty good and scales super well! Plus, they have data centers around the globe, this reduces load time even for people in India. Good luck!
 
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You're under valuing the switching cost for domains and hosting. It's much higher than what you're expecting, especially for business. GoDaddy's fine. The hypothetical situation you're imagining will never happen. No managers are going to switch their companies' hosting service to a shared hosting service to save 2 years of hosting expenses. For institutional customers of GoDaddy, they're not going to switch anytime soon. Doing so would cost $x,xxx in employee time, which isn't worth it.

I'm telling you that BuSo fell for a PR stunt by Brent Oxley, so that he can promote his new business. There's people here who own like 10 Wordpress sites who would switch hosting just because of 2 years of free hosting. That's the target audience. The speed optimization is another lure for these small time webmasters. Enjoy the free hosting guys! If I were you, I'd just focus on what makes me more money instead of what saving me $20/month for 24 months... AWS is pretty good and scales super well! Plus, they have data centers around the globe, this reduces load time even for people in India. Good luck!

Oh I agree with you about the PR stunt. I also agree that most legacy clients are gonna stay, but those are dying to new companies entering the market, who aren't gonna choose godaddy.

I have had clients on Godaddy, and I know what they are like. Complete shitstorm. They are blockbuster of hosting.

And in no way am I supporting Brent, I didn't know who he was before this, but even with the little info I have I would prefer to give my data and client accounts to the new host, than go to godaddy.