Here’s one more example of why you should be careful about what you post on the Internet. GoDaddy, the web domain name company made famous by its racy (pun intended) SuperBowl commercials, is facing a boycott called by PETA over a video of an elephant shot by GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons.
MSNBC ran this story showing the video, PETA’s outrage over it, and Parson’s response. Actually, I thought the news story of it was unusually balanced. They invited celebrity-expert Jeff Corwin to comment and he did a good job of explaining both sides of the issue of these kinds of safaris that do double duty in helping protect villagers from over-population of elephants in some areas while providing needed cash from wealthy foreigners who like to come in and help control the population. Of course, that’s not the way PETA sees it, saying there are non-lethal ways of protecting the villagers and their livelihoods.
Parsons, for his part, stands behind the hunt, saying he was just helping the villagers out.
I suspect that the boycott won’t hurt GoDaddy much. In fact, the publicity from the news reports and from online discussion (like this one) will certainly bring attention to the brand. The Twitter conversation, expectedly is pretty negative about this with plenty of the favorite expletive expressed. But Parsons has a bit of a rogue reputation and PETA’s brand itself is a lightning rod for a great many who dislike their kind of extreme activism, which means that GoDaddy could benefit from some loyalty from those folks.
But, my question is this. In this hypersensitive world of easily offended people and groups, and where organizations like PETA long for situations like this to extend their agenda, and news organizations like MSNBC are quick to capitalize on trending topics–why, why post the video on the Internet? It has to either be ignorance of the reality of reputation management today, or, it is a somewhat cynical publicity ploy. Given GoDaddy’s reputation for advertising, I’m leaning toward the second explanation.