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One can launch your business online for as little as Rs 199 a year: Rajiv Sodhi

Friday, 21 March 2014 - 9:20am IST | Agency: dna

Domain hosting company, GoDaddy that started operations in 1997 and entered India in 2012, has been rapidly growing by helping more startups launch their online presence. With a global turnover of $1.5 billion plus, Rajiv Sodhi, VP & MD – India, GoDaddy tells Beryl Menezes about small and medium enterprise (SME) plans in India. Excerpts...

GoDaddy has launched two new ad campaigns in India today. How else are you planning to spread awareness?
Since the idea is to reach out to as many people as we can, apart from TV advertising, you will see us across print, social media, search, email, display, and on our website, so basically we have integrated across multiple touch points. Our Facebook page is one of the most active engagement points with customers, creators and creative guys approaching us there.

What about your IPO plans?
No comments since its global in nature.

With 55 million domains worldwide, 12 million customers – including 1 million in India, why did you enter India only in 2012, despite being around since 1997?
When we entered in 2012, India had just 120 million Internet users. We think 2012 was the right time to enter the country because internet adoption was just growing, though still at a nascent stage. Thus, we still have to do a lot of work to create awareness, create a simple service with affordable product and pricing, and back that up with excellent 24/7 customer service through our call centre.

So how much does it cost to get up and running with GoDaddy?
Just for the domain name, the cost is as low as Rs 199 a year, with a website available for Rs 99 a month - so for less than Rs 100 a month you get a domain name, website builder and hosting, all inclusive, with no extra charges for customisation or add-on maintenance charges. Basically, if you know basic powerpoint you can create your website – you don't need any extra technical knowledge, and you can change it as many times you want. We also have a whole bouquet of other services like digital services, email, online store, internet marketing solutions, dedicated servers – whose individual price depends on configuration and features.

What is the most popular feature in India?
Most popular in India is the mobile feature on the website builder – that allows you access across desktop and mobile which is available across all mobile devices, including smartphones, and tablets, and across operating systems. It is very important for a country like India to have a mobile presence, where Internet usage is more on mobile than desktop. This is especially good for SMEs who don't have to separately build their mobile presence after launching the desktop website. Our constant effort is to ensure near parity between the mobile and desktop, so that if you want to sell something, you should be able to do it as easily on the desktop as the mobile site.

What is the latest your doing for SMEs?
Since SMEs make up 99% of over all businesses in India, totaling 30 million and counting – they make up a majority of our clientele, apart from large entrepreneurs. So for the next five years we will be focused on a strategy to encourage website adoption, which is still lagging. There are not enough websites; and even if you go to an average SME he does his business offline – so there is a need to go to the market and reach out to them about the benefits of why they should get a website. The biggest challenge is most SMEs get very intimidated to create a website, thinking you need to be a technology whiz kid to make a website or it will cost a lot – we are trying to change this myth.

Since startups are growing, what's the potential for businesses starting up online first?
In today's day and age, having an online presence is imperative – whether you are historically an offline player or not. This is because today a lot of customers are looking for solutions to their problems online – and its only accelerating, because of proliferation of mobile devices and bandwidth expansion. A lot of scope of people launching their businesses online first because when you're at a stage of 15% internet penetration, internet adoption will continue to grow.

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