On Monday morning GoDaddy experienced a major crisis when thousands of their customers’ domains and websites went crashing down. As a dominating company within their industry, this was a big deal. Thousands of businesses were left without websites and you can imagine the onslaught of frustration, anger and annoyance that flushed the web in an attack against the hosting company.

However, when I went to their Facebook page to see what customers had posted to their wall, I found this:

Check out the dates of these posts. Since today is Thursday, September 13th, something very strange is going on here. Either nobody what-so-ever directly posted their grievances to the hosting company’s Facebook page since the crash, or GoDaddy is deleting all negative comments posted to their timeline. So I thought I’d ask them. Here’s what went down:

“A” for response, only they didn’t quite answer my question, did they.

However, this (#fail) aside, when it came to communicating with their customers on social media throughout the crisis, the hosting company did a great job at keeping their customers informed. Check it out:

GoDaddy’s Social Media Crisis Communications

First thing’s first, when (I suppose) the comments came flooding into their Facebook timeline and they were made aware of the situation at hand, GoDaddy posted their first response to the crisis on Facebook, alerting the public that they were aware of the situation, and that they were looking into it.

This post was followed by a number of timely updates. Even when there was nothing to report, they still updated their frustrated fans and customers (you’ll also see that they rightfully kept all comments from their fans posted to these updates, which contain a mixture of both positive and negative sentiment):

Right up until the issue was fixed and their customers’ sites were back online:

The same updates were tweeted from their Twitter account:

So in terms of updating their customers, fans and followers during the crisis, GoDaddy kept up with this in a timely and efficient manner.

After the issue was resolved, on September 11th, the CEO of GoDaddy, Scott Wagner, published a news release to their website:

Within this news release, Wagner did a good job at answering some important questions, such as:

  • What happened?
  • What did you do about it?
  • Was my data and information at risk?

and GoDaddy clearly took the blame and apologized to their customers. The fact that this release was followed by a private email to their customers who experienced the impact of the crisis (see below), really amplifies the fact that GoDaddy was sincerely apologetic and shows that they care about their customers to the level that we, as customers, love to see!

When concern started being expressed that some had not received this letter of apology and refund, GoDaddy posted the following update to their Facebook page:

The verdict is in: Pass!

So, in terms of social media crisis communications, I have to give GoDaddy credit and a passing grade! Throughout this hectic time, they did a great job at communicating with their audience, calming nerves, and making an effort to right their wrong and show true sympathy to their beloved customers. As the leader in online domain and website hosting, I would have expected nothing less from the brand.

The big question: Will their reputation suffer?

Considering that this is not the first crisis the brand experiences as of late (there was the whole elephant shooting fiasco and of course their pledge to support SOPA), it’s quite possible that some customers are simply tired of all the drama around the brand and for that reason will choose to take their business elsewhere. However, on account of this crisis alone, I think that GoDaddy did a great job at handling the crisis and communicating with their audience, and the sentiment that I’ve found online seems to consist mainly of positive praise and support towards the company for handling the crisis and making amends with their month of free services to all those affected.

What can you do to protect yourself from falling victim to a crashed website or domain?

No matter who you host your domain and/or website with, experiencing a crash of this sort is a risk that we are all subject to. Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself and your business in advance:

  • Build your network on social media
  • Build your email list

By doing both of these things on a regular basis, you assure that, even if your website is left in the dark, your voice and your reach won’t be.

  • Back up your website on a regular basis
  • Have a dark website ready to go on a different server – and have alternate domains hosted by a secondary company

How do you feel about the way GoDaddy handled this crisis? Were you a victim of a crashed website? Share your thoughts and experiences with me below!