GoDaddy CEO Goes Elephant Hunting - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-01-2011, 11:45 AM   #1
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GoDaddy CEO Goes Elephant Hunting

The video is available online for anyone who really wants to see it, not something I want to see or post. They showed some of it on the morning news and that was more than enough for me. He seems to have a high sense of self importance....

March 31, 2011

(CBS News)

Over the years, GoDaddy has reveled in the controversy generated by its racy Super Bowl ads, which have generated a level of buzz other Internet domain-hosting companies would kill for.

Not this time.

On Thursday, Bob Parsons, the company's chief executive, came under sharp criticism after videos of him hunting big game in Zimbabwe went viral. One clip shows Parsons on vacation this year bagging an elephant (warning: the video is graphic.) An earlier video from 2009 shows him in pursuit of a leopard that ultimately gets shot dead.

For whatever reason, the videos - which were posted publicly for the last three years - only this week began attracting much attention. They also sparked a call by PETA to boycott GoDaddy until Parsons agrees to abandon the annual hunts.

The animal rights organization sent Parsons an email presenting him with the group's first-ever "Scummiest CEO of the Year Award." If they make good on sending the certificate, however, Parsons said he plans on framing the award in his office.

"I couldn't be any better," he told in an interview. "The blowback - you've got to look at who it's coming from: a small but very, very vocal group that moves in unison, inspired by PETA. Very few of them are our customers."

One former customer is PETA, which said it canceled its account with GoDaddy in protest. Tracy Reiman, PETA's executive vice president, accused Parsons of acting like the "Great White Hope" for African villagers. She challenged Parsons' claim that shooting elephants was the right way to manage local herd populations and said there were non-lethal methods that have proven effective at deterring elephants from destroying crops.

But Parsons brushed aside the criticism as misinformed.

"I think that most people when they see this video will understand what's happening," he continued. These people are on the brink of starvation; they need their crops and need to eat. Elephants are not endangered and probably there are too many of them. A lot of people are up in arms about this. Their hearts are in the right place but they don't understand the situation. If they'd go on one of my trips to Zimbabwe, they'd understand."

Parsons, who has proven deft at knowing how far to push the envelope with GoDaddy advertisements, said he does not expect the furor over his elephant hunts to negatively impact the company's brand.

"I expect sales will go up," he said. "The reason is that first of all, the average American is a very good individual who understands that people need to eat. They know there is a circle of life and they don't much care for political correctness. When they see this, people who are not familiar with GoDaddy will check us out. It'll be a good thing."

"People over there have a problem with problem elephants. They try to drive them out by beating drums, lighting fires, cracking whips but the elephants have learned to ignore them. The way to deal with it is with a few guys like me, who go through that and deal with it on behalf of these people," he said. Parsons added that the hunts were designed to help control the population and were targeted at male, or bull elephants.

"The bulls stay separate from the herd. So when you shoot the bull, it has no impact on social structure - and people get to eat," he said. "You talk about appreciative! When I go (to Zimbabwe) they can't thank me enough and they greet me with open arms."

He said he no longer plans to pursue leopards since it requires too much time and that would take away from the elephant hunts.

Some of the comments on are saying this is an April Fools joke-if it is that is one pretty sick "joke"

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Old 04-01-2011, 01:27 PM   #2
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I spent most of last summer in southern Africa, including Zimbabwe and I became very familiar with this. One of the guides that we used for a few of our game drives was actually a hunting guide and his sister still owns a hunting lodge in Zimbabwe.

The governments of several of these countries issues permits to hunt x number of large game (elephants, lions, etc). in any given year. It is really expensive - somewhere between $35,000-$50,000 per elephant + you have to commit to at least a 2 week tracking stay at a hunting lodge (which runs you around $1500/day) and so on. For some of the animals if you kill one you have to kill a second one of a different species to offset the hunting ratio. I think that's the case with lions but I'm not 100% sure. The guide told us the the hunters are almost exclusively Russian "tycoons". It's a VERY cowardly way to hunt because essentially what happens is that they send out a couple of local hunting guides to track the animal for about two weeks and then they call you at the lodge, you get into a jeep, are driven out to where the animal is, get within a distance and shoot at it. I mean, it's all very absurd and has nothing to do with any sort of hunting.

The elephants are then processed - you can take home the skin and the head. The elephant legs are usually made into bar stools for you (and shipped later). You have to leave the tusks (allegedly they go to the government and are destroyed) and the meat for the locals who consume it.

I find the whole thing to be pretty dumb though if they are culling anyway, I suppose there is not an actual endangerment issue. I can sure think of a million better ways to spend my money. Plus it creates an unsettling phenomenon - when you drive through national parks and protected game reserves, the animals have no fear of you. They will approach you, look curiously, you can take photos and study them in their natural habitat. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. But sometimes you will be driving down a road and to your left is a national park or reserve area and to your right is wilderness (no fences anywhere). And you will literally see dozens of elephants or oryx or whatever lounging and strolling along on the left and not a single animal on the right because that is how much they fear contact with people. The animals will not cross over either - they have learned very well what happens on the other side of the road.

To me, it's millionaires/billionaires who have nothing better to do with their money and a good number of them are also probably trying to assert some sort of manhood. Why not just whip it out and measure it for heaven's sake?

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Old 04-01-2011, 01:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for all of that information. But he's saving the people there from starvation, it has nothing to do with "manhood". He's their hero!

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:42 PM   #4
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I once considered using GoDaddy for web hosting. Good thing I didn't follow through.
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:00 PM   #5
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I don't have a problem with hunting if it is with the scrutiny of a very well managed natural resources department, and if the animals are to be shot because they will starve or overrun their natural environment.
I'm not a fan of culling nuisance animals (nuisance is terribly subjective). And, I certainly am not a fan of "canned" hunts.
This guy seems like a douche regardless and gives responsible hunters a bad name.

I don't have a problem with the GoDaddy ads using sex to sell their service (get in line behind hundreds of other products/services to do so).
If as its CEO you want to claim to help Africa, there are plenty of other far more productive ways to do so. Don't do what you want, and then boast about how much it helps someone else. I think people can see the lack of altruism.
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Old 04-02-2011, 04:58 AM   #6
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Rich people problems....

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