Apparently, Bob Parsons, the very outspoken CEO of the largest Internet domain registrar Go Daddy, shot and killed an elephant in Labola, Zimbabwe and then posted a graphic video of the hunt online.
The elephant kill footage, dated March 8, first caught the attention of people after being posted on his Twitter account March 14, CNN reported. The video gained further attention after making its way onto online petition site Change.org. Parsons and his company are now facing fall out, despite the fact that he claims the “problem elephant” was ruining crops and threatening the livelihoods of impoverished villagers, according to an interview with AOL Small Business (of which he is a board member).
Not surprisingly, animal rights groups are outraged. PETA said that it closed its account with Go Daddy, which reportedly includes a few hundred domain name registrations. It is encouraging others to boycott the company and even branded Parsons “Scummiest CEO of the Year.”
Meanwhile, domain registrar rivals, such as DomainIt.com and NameCheap.com, pounced on this controversy like lion on prey, offering special discounts for domain name transfers and donating a portion of each transfer to wildlife charities, including World Wildlife Fund and Save The Elephants. From a business angle, it’s a smart move to use the animal cause as a marketing tactic to sway clients away from one of the biggest Internet domain competitors around.
But Mashable reports that this story is far from black and white. Parsons was quoted as saying that he’s been going to Africa for six years and has become increasingly aware of the problem that elephants pose for the locals and their crops.
To PETA and other critics, he says: “These people look at this from the context of being Americans. We’re well-fed and isolated from the process of growing and butchering meat. We see this, and we’re horrified. Their hearts are in the right place, but they just don’t understand what’s going on over there.”
While that may be true, critics are also asking why the video is set to AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” and at one point zooms in on the company’s Go Daddy logo. Even if his intentions were humanitarian, at the very least isn’t this an example of really poor taste? And moreover isn’t it bad for business?
Go Daddy spokeswoman Elizabeth Driscoll told CNN there has been no significant change in business, but I’m not so sure I believe her.