It all starts with an idea or the start of a new company. The natural first step is to buy your domain name. You go to godaddy.com and enter the domain name you want to purchase. GoDaddy put’s the following image right in the center of their home page.
Ladies and Gentleman, Let the upsell begin!!
GoDaddy views domain name’s the same way Walgreen’s views a Gallon of Milk. The customer is there for the Milk, but we all know what happens once we enter the store. We end up with a whole lot more than what we originally wanted.
In the screen below, GoDaddy presents you with more options after you type in your future domain name.
[Average User: Hmmm. All I really need is the .com domain name, but what if someone likes my business and buys the .net version of my domain name! I have a really unique idea, the last thing I want to do is for someone to piggy back off my success! Ok, GoDaddy has a sweet deal, I'll just buy 3 domains for 15 dollars. It's only 2 dollars more!]
3 domains for 15 dollars, not a bad deal at all. The next screen brings up your domain settings. Pretty normal screen here right? It defaults to 5 years.
[Average User: 5 years? That's an awfully long time. But hey, my idea is worth millions and I'm in this for the long haul. 5 years it is.]
Notice how GoDaddy doesn’t associate a price with the 5 years length?
Let’s move on to this certified domain all the way at the right.
[Average User: hmm. certified domain? I'm not sure what that is really. Let me click that little info button]
[Average User. Hmm. interesting. The last thing I need is a website that people think is SPAM! I'm going to run a real business! I better get this domain name as certified just in case. I DEFINITELY want to gain consumer confidence and ease fears. Plus, It's only 4.95. Let me check that box. I'll put that seal on my website to show people how real my business is. I don't have a clue on how to put that Certified Domain Seal on my website, but I'll worry about that later. I'm up to $20 now. No big deal. My idea is worth millions]
OK, phew past that stage. Can I purchase it now? Not so fast there. We still have a few more screens to go.
[Average User: So many options! It's a business, so I better get business registration. The business Registration allows me to provide information to millions of daily WHOIS searchers. I have no idea what a WHOIS is, but I want to make sure people see my site! I don't want to build a website that no one see's! ]
I had no idea what this “vital details” is about so I google’d it. It came up with the following text:
Business Registration provides more prominent visibility on your domain name’s Whois listing by letting you add a logo, business links, images, business hours, coupons, and even a local map that highlights your location.
So let me get this straight. A user would chose this option so they can do PRIVATE WHOIS registration, and then GoDaddy gives them the option to publicize their business details? ALL IN THE SAME PACKAGE! DEAL OF THE CENTURY!
OK, let’s move on. We’re done right? NOT YET SKIPPY. We have STEP 4 which is activation. I like to call this screen “THE SCREEN OF FEAR”
[Average User: Oh man. I definitely want my own email address. I can't run a business using my aol.com email! This is a no brainer. Hosting Plan. Hmm. Not really sure what hosting is, so let me click on the details link]
[Average User: OHH, this is for my website. And it looks like it's fast. 10GB of space. I have 16GB on my iPhone, so sure that sounds OK to me. And it's on sale, it's my lucky day. I'll go ahead with the Web Hosting Economy plan.
Ok, let's see what else GoDaddy is recommending. SSL, not sure what that is. Shopping cart I don't need quite yet. Drive traffic to my website? Of course I want to drive traffic to my website. Let's see more details on that]
[Average User: It lists my website on google, Yahoo and MSN. So, If I don't do this then people aren't able to find me online? That would be a disaster. I thought that the business registration package that allowed me to publicize my business details would do this, but I guess not. I don't want to take any chances. I better pay the $35.88 a year! If I get one customer from this a year, then it pays itself off. That's a no brainer.
OK, I am ready to purchase now! Let's get on with the show!]
The final screen appears [redacted because it's too long and it's just a summary of what you are buying]. Right at the bottom of the checkout summary is this little gem:
[Average User: I have no idea how to build a website. 3 simple steps to build one. Hmm. I have some time tonight, let's go for it]
Total Damage: $304 dollars! Don’t forget 90% of that cost is a YEARLY cost too!
The best part about all of this is that 99% of the time, the business never actually launches and you never use any of GoDaddy’s tools and services besides the actual registration of the domain name.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Call your tech guy before you buy anything. The tech guy knows what you really need and he knows the other services you can do for free and are often much better than what GoDaddy will provide you.