Exclusive interview: Media Temple speaks out about GoDaddy takeover

Internet domain registrar GoDaddy recently aquired web hosting and cloud services company Media Temple, and the question on everyone's lips is what does this mean for both organisations and their customers? We spoke to Media Temple president Russell P Reeder to find out.

Q: Congratulations on the acquisition! Was the deal concluded smoothly and easily?

Thanks, guys! It's a very exciting time for Media Temple and GoDaddy. Both companies keep operating separately, but because of Media Temple’s compatibility with GoDaddy, both on a cultural and business level, this acquisition was indeed (almost) a smooth ride!

Q. Can we ask how much money changed hands? (We won’t tell anyone!)

Unfortunately, we can’t discuss any financial details.

Q: Are there any regulatory approval steps left to be completed? Are there any anti-trust concerns and considerations in the US or Europe to worry about?

No, we made sure to anticipate any future potential state, federal and international legal issues, so we can only focus on what we do best: serve Web designers and Web developers, and help them succeed online.

Q: How have Media Temple’s major customers reacted to news of the deal?

Russell P Reeder

Russell P Reeder

Our large and small customers have been very supportive. They see that we will stay as an independent company, but will also have access to global scale that will also help them in the future. Since we continue to operate independently, our brand and operations stay completely separate from GoDaddy’s, so nothing changes for our customers, regardless or their size.

There has been a lot of social traffic, and we are trying to get back to as many people as possible to thank them for their kind words and their loyalty, or ease their fears, but given the high volume of feedback we are dealing with, it might take us just a little longer than expected…

Q: One fewer company always means less competition in a market. How would you reassure web professionals worried about GoDaddy's growing scale and influence?

Firstly, I would tell them that I completely understand why they are worrying, given the reputation GoDaddy had a couple of years ago. To reassure them, I would tell them that we don’t become GoDaddy, we stay the Media Temple they’ve known and trusted since 1998.

GoDaddy actually understands there are vastly different needs on the customer continuum between their customer base (SMB) and ours (Web developers). Which means that, although we are of course looking forward to leveraging GoDaddy’s scale and investment to accelerate our growth, they won’t influence the way we do business and serve our customers – we keep doing everything we’ve been doing right over the last 15 years, from our customer service to our products, our pricing and, even, our employees.

Also, I would like to add that today’s GoDaddy is completely different from yesterday’s: in the last 10 months, and under their new CEO Blake Irving’s leadership, they have completely transformed the company, who has actually been receiving kudos from the tech community for their new approach with marketing, products and even UX. In other words, the “new” GoDaddy is another reason why Web developers shouldn’t worry.

Q: In purely practical terms, will Media Temple customers experience any material changes in service and support?

No, there are no changes on that front either – we keep our very own customer service and CloudTech support teams.

Q: Will the Media Temple brand continue with autonomy and independence?

Absolutely, and in fact, although we are very excited about GoDaddy’s CEO Blake Irving’s vision for GoDaddy – which is to build bridges into the Web pro community- what really sealed the deal for us was the commitment for Media Temple to maintain its independence – on all fronts, including our brand, operations, employees, products, pricing, and company culture.

Q: And staff. Do you envisage any jobs being lost as economies of scale are chased?

No, we are keeping our same teams and staying focused on fostering happy, productive employees. No relocation will happen either, and all our employees will still be working from their current work location. In fact, we are looking to hire more people as we scale.

Q: Looking at Twitter today, many Media Temple customers are worried – or even angered - about what the deals means for them in terms of customer service? How would your reassure them?

Well, again, if this acquisition were to negatively impact how we serve our customers on any level, we would have NEVER run the risk of jeopardizing what we’ve been building for the last 15 years, especially our customers’ trust.

With Media Temple remaining an independent company, our #1 priority hasn’t changed: we are still focusing on providing our clients with the best hosting services and customer support.

Q: We've noticed your competitors have jumped on Twitter and have begun trying to poach worried Media Temple customers. What’s your take on this?

We are not concerned about it. We are confident in our customers' loyalty. If they felt they could get better service elsewhere, we would respect their decision but definitely be sad to see them go.

Q: The web community hasn't always smiled on GoDaddy’s marketing messages, style and posture. We're thinking here about the Super Bowl advert. How do you imagine web professionals are feeling right now?

We understand how upset they might feel, but what they don't know is that they are upset about GoDaddy's old marketing approach (which we didn't like either, by the way), which is not how the 'new' GoDaddy team is doing business.

Since January, the new leadership team has changed everything from their advertising style to their product focus, and, frankly, we like what we see - if we didn't, we wouldn’t have joined the GoDaddy family.

Q: Moving to technology. Will joining forces with GoDaddy allow Media Temple customers access to any new technologies?

We will definitely consider cross-leveraging any complementary technologies that enable us to further improve the quality of our products and services.

Q: Can you tell us more about GoDaddy's plans to expand into Europe and beyond?

GoDaddy is planning on being in 60 countries in 30 different languages by the end of 2014.

Q: Will the move entail moving servers to new data centres? Indeed will your infrastructures be merged?

Absolutely not, we will continue to serve our customers’ hosting from our own facilities, and have no plans to migrate anything at this time.

Q: In his blog post, Brad Smith is saying that "after early meetings with GoDaddy, it quickly became apparent that we shared different visions for our website builders". What are those different visions and how exactly did Brad manage to get GoDaddy to sell Virb back to him?

Brad Smith didn't have to convince GoDaddy: they both came to the conclusion that integrating Virb into their website builder didn't make a lot of sense, from a business and a customer perspective. GoDaddy took the 'high road' and offered it back to the founders and investors, instead of no supporting it.

Q: Will the traditional and riotous SxSW party happen next year?

You bet! We look forward to seeing you all there!

Watch this! Full Q&A session with Media Temple:

What are your thoughts on Media Temple's acquisition by GoDaddy? Tell us in the comments!

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