GoDaddy.com’s New Direction: Less Provocative, More SMB Focused

LogoWTaglineToday I got an email from current CEO Blake Irving, regarding the changes at Godaddy.com. Being a loyal customer of the service for over 7 years now, this new direction looks to be very serious and even more attractive for people trying to start a website.

Today, GoDaddy’s front page got a revamp. Gone is Danika Patrick and those provocative GoDaddy commercials you saw during the Superbowl, World Series, NBA finals and other events. Who replaced her?

Jean Claude Van Damme?

This is part of GoDaddy’s new era – “It’s go time“. A great marketing slogan that can point to GoDaddy and their new direction.

In the email, Irving wrote:

Blake Irving, Godaddy“Today, GoDaddy is the world’s largest web host and domain provider — and sites registered or hosted with us make up a massive portion of what we know as the Internet today. That statement, however, says little about who you are, our customers, or how we can serve you best. So earlier this year we embarked on an effort to learn more about you, what makes you so incredibly unique, and the values you all have in common. In the process, we learned an equal amount about ourselves, and we’re making changes to reflect that new clarity. ”

Irving goes on to say they want to know more about you and how to make you succeed. They started by streamlining the website – making things easier and “more intuitive”. GoDaddy also highlighted their Award winning customer support (awards from CareerBuilder’s Top Companies to Work for Award, to  Fortune 100 “Best Companies to Work For”).

Other Changes at Godaddy.com

GoDaddy is bringing on new Top Level Domains, such as .app, .web and more (over 700 new gTLD from ICANN).

They started a new video ad campain using Jean Claude Van Damme to show how serious – yet still jockular – they can be. The first video includes a baker who not only gets new orders through his GoDaddy website, but a full solo from Van Damme who motivates while telling him “It’s Go Time”.

Out With the Old, In With the New

Founder and previous CEO Bob Parsons brought a lot of controversy, not only on GoDaddy for viral content, but also on his personal life. He left when GoDaddy was purchased in 2011. Interim CEO Warren Adelman made some changes, but it was not the direction the board was looking for. It took two years to bring Blake Irving on as CEO (former EVP at Yahoo! and VP of Windows Live Platform at Microsoft). Irving’s approach is for Small Business owners (SMB).

In an interview he did earlier this year, he talked about how he has a full open door policy. He talks about how he walks around campus in jeans and t-shirts, talking to people and finding out what matters to them.

Irving’s Direction is no Joke, though…

Irving states: “This is the radical shift we knew we had to make and it’s more than just marketing. A brand is a promise to our customers and a commitment to understand their needs. Our mission is to ‘fight the good fight for the go getter’ … the small business owner … or anyone who labors for the love of it and wants the benefits of the latest technology without having to be an expert.”

With a new look and a different direction, GoDaddy seems to be focusing less on viral content and more on the SMBs they need to appease. From Domains to hosting, SSL certificates and more.

What are YOUR THOUGHTS on GoDaddy’s new direction? Comment below!

Real Currency Instead of Xbox Points

Xbox LogoThere is a change coming that will affect people who play games on Xbox. Soon, transactions on Xbox will use your local currency instead of Microsoft Points. The change will take place after the next Xbox 360 system update. Once that happens, the Microsoft Points system will be retired.

What if you currently have some Microsoft Points? You might want to spend them before the update hits. Microsoft explains what happens if you don’t spend them before that time on their announcement:

When you initiate a purchase or redeem a Points card or code with your Microsoft account after the next Xbox 360 system update, we’ll add to your account an amount of currency equal or greater than the Marketplace value of your Microsoft Points, and your Microsoft Points will be retired. The currency we add to your account at the time of the transaction will expire on June 1, 2015. However, the currency you purchase and add to your account after the transition will not expire.

Any Microsoft Points that you have earned through Xbox Live Rewards will still be in your Xbox Live account, for now. They will transition into your local currency when the Microsoft Points system retires. It is worth noting that you cannot get a cash payout of currency from your Microsoft account. You also cannot use your Microsoft Points to purchase an Xbox Live Gold Membership at this time.

MSN TV is Closing in September

MSNTVThose of you who have parents or grandparents who are currently using MSN TV 2 may have some family requested free tech support in your future. Microsoft has announced that MSN TV 2 will close, forever, as of September, 30, 2013. People who are using the MSN TV set-top box will not have to return it to Microsoft. In fact, they prefer you recycle it instead of attempting to return it to them (if you find you no longer have a use for it).

What is now called MSN TV 2 started out as WebTV back in 1996. It was intended to be a way for people who were not very internet savvy to have an easy way to get online. Why has Microsoft decided to end the MSN TV service? They put it this way:

…Since then, the web has continued to evolve at a breathtaking pace, and there are many new ways to access the internet. Accordingly, we have made the difficult decision to end the MSN TV service on September 30, 2013. We are working with our customers to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.

The set-top box can still be used to access videos and music from a PC, for those who have a home network that uses broadband. It also will still have photo albums stored in it, which will remain viewable. Microsoft recommends that people save the photos that they care about before the service ends.

Feedback Results in Changes to Xbox One

Xbox LogoIt’s always nice when a company listens to the feedback it is getting from consumers, and makes positive changes as a result. After E3, gamers took to the internet to express their extreme displeasure over some of the things that the Xbox One required.

Many stated, very clearly, that they would buy a Sony Playstation 4 instead of the Xbox One. My best guess is that is the part that caught Microsoft’s attention. In general, companies become more willing to make the changes that consumers are asking for if they have reason to believe that they could lose out on sales if they don’t make those changes.

Gamers didn’t like that the Xbox One had to be constantly connected to the internet. The inability to play a used copy of a game on the Xbox One, and the realization that this meant you cannot share your game with a friend, also made a lot of gamers angry.

Today, Microsoft has announced that they are making the following changes to Xbox One:

An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games.
After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want to play your games, just like on the Xbox 360.

Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today -There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does on Xbox 360.

Microsoft also clarifies that if you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Will these changes influence gamers to choose the Xbox One instead of the PlayStation 4? It’s possible. However, since the PlayStation 4 is less expensive than the Xbox One, these changes might not generate as many sales as Microsoft may have been hoping for.

Microsoft to Buy Nook?

Nook

Nook

Microsoft is looking at the Barnes & Noble Nook – and they are willing to pay $1 billion for them.

Barnes and Noble stock rose 16% as news flew about Microsoft wanting to purchase the Nook e-reader, tablet and e-book business. This, just days after an announcement that Nook was allowing users to download via Google Play. Barnes and Noble also considered spinning off the Nook to its own company.

According to a document obtained by TechCrunch, if Microsoft was to obtain Nook, the Android-based tablet would be discontinued and the e-reader would be phased out at a later time. The expectation would be to merge Nook e-reader into the Microsoft Windows 8 tablet.

Right now, 10 million Nook devices have been sold, with 7 million active subscribers.

Microsoft attempts to woo Android users with ‘Switch to Windows Phone’ app

For a week now rumors have been rampant that Microsoft would release a “Switch to Windows Phone” app to Android users. The day has arrived and the app has landed in the Google Play store.

The free app is available today and attempts to make a switch from the Google mobile platform to that of Microsoft an easier transition. “Use Switch to Windows Phone to see how many of your Android apps are available on Windows Phone. Just run Switch to Windows Phone on your Android, and this app will check to see if your installed apps are available in the Windows Phone Store” the app tells us.

switch to windows phone

Switch to Windows Phone will then proceed to save to the cloud the app list it puts together and keep it ready for you when you pick up that Nokia Lumia or HTC 8X handset.

Needless to say, Microsoft  is being attacked by Android phone fans — the app already has a two star rating, with only 22 users giving it five stars, while 213 customers handed it a one star review. Still, you have to hand it to Microsoft for trying. Perhaps the company may even land a few new customers who may have already been on the fence about switching.

Order Pizza Through Your Xbox 360

Pizza Who doesn’t love pizza? It is served at meetings, is the main course at parties, and a staple of food courts everywhere. You can order a pizza by walking up the counter at a food court, or visiting a fast food restaurant that serves it. You can call your local pizza place on the phone to order a pizza. Many of the big chain pizza places give you the option of placing your order online, through their website.

One might assume that we have plenty of ways to order a pizza. Perhaps Pizza Hut and Microsoft would disagree with that assessment. The two companies have teamed and will be launching an app for Xbox Live that will allow users to order a pizza directly through their Xbox 360.

According to Polygon, the app will be available for Xbox Live users on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Users who download the app before May 6, 2013, will get 15% off their first purchase from Pizza Hut.

Pizza Hut’s entire menu will be available through the Xbox app, and users will be able to build their own customized pizza. An order can be placed via Kinect motion controls, voice commands, or the Xbox 360 controller. The app will also feature Facebook integration, which will allow users to order a pizza and then share what they ordered on their Facebook page for all their friends to see.

I can see where the app would be convenient for gamers who want to order a pizza but do not want to stop playing their games for the amount of time it would take to drive to the local Pizza Hut, or even to phone in an order. Just pause the game, use the app, and get back to playing. On the other hand, I have some concerns. Xbox 360 is used by both adults and children. I’m not sure all parents are going to be comfortable with how easy this app would make it for their teenager, or child, to order themselves a pizza.

Image: Stock Photo Pizza by BigStock

Microsoft introduces new Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Artist Editions

microsoft 3500 mouseMicrosoft has always been labeled as a software company, and there is some reason for that — mainly Windows and Office. But when the company introduced the Surface tablet, it was not the first foray into hardware. Many people tend to forget that Microsoft produces some of the most popular hardware on the planet in the Xbox and Kinect. It has also long built excellent mice and keyboards, used by many businesses around the world.

Today Microsoft announced six new versions of its popular 3500 model wireless mouse. All of the new editions are a part of the Artist Series. Dana McClure, Deanne Cheuk, Kustaa Saksi, Matt Lyon, Joy Deangdeelert Cho and Si Scott all contributed to this latest line of peripheral devices.

Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc tells us “each mouse features a snap-in nano USB transceiver, BlueTrack Technology and a two-color battery light indicator”.

The line will be available soon and retail for a reported $29.95 U.S. You will be able to grab one from both Microsoft online and brick and mortar stores, as well as other retail locations, which the company did not specify.

Xbox gets new entertainment options

xbox live logoMicrosoft may be planning to unveil its next Xbox console in the near future, but that has not stopped the company from continuing to update its current 360 version of the device.

The Xbox 360 may sometimes be thought of as a gaming box, but it has long since exited that pigeon hole. Microsoft wants to use the console to take over your living room and it has been moving steadily in that direction for some time. The company has been adding more and more entertainment content and now it has announced the next wave.

Larry Hryb, better known as Major Nelson, announced the next set of updates, which are rolling out right now and include a load of new entertainment options for customers.

Updates:

  • Xbox SmartGlass for Game of Thrones Season 3
  • MLB.TV Refresh
  • IndieFlix
  • Revision 3
  • PopcornFlix
  • Toys “R” Us Movies

If you have an Xbox 360 then you should be receiving these updates at any moment. If you do not yet have one of the consoles then you may just want to wait and find out what gets announced at the upcoming E3 show.

Microsoft gives Blue info and attacks Google

Microsoft’s next version of Windows 8, code named “Blue” leaked out this past Sunday and ever since then I have been feverishly testing the new operating system in a virtual machine. There is a lot new here, making this “update” much more than a service pack, but also not quite “Windows 9” either.

windows blue start screen in red

In a rare move, Microsoft has actually acknowledged the leak and added information about it. In the process, the company also took a swipe at Google’s recent decision to kill Reader.

Microsoft vice president Frank Shaw began his announcement by telling us “While some folks were out doing “spring cleaning,” we used the opportunity to look back a bit at what has happened in the past season, and to look ahead at what we have coming”.

More important than the shot at Google, which Microsoft seems to take on a regular basis, was the acknowledgement of Blue, which would have been hard to deny, given that many of us are testing it out. Shaw stated “Now, the look ahead. With a remarkable foundation of products in market and a clear view of how we will evolve the company, product leaders across Microsoft are working together on plans to advance our devices and services, a set of plans referred to internally as ‘Blue’.”

He went on to inform that “today, Steve Guggenheimer announced the next Build developer conference. At Build, developers will see what’s next for Windows, Windows Server, Windows Azure, Visual Studio and more. This is just one place we’ll discuss the advances coming – another is TechEd”.

Of course, he could not resist one final parting shot at the end — “See, spring isn’t just for cleaning/whacking away at things. It’s also a time to plant and get ready for summer”.