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GoDaddy.com lands Jillian Michaels as spokeswoman

- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) - GoDaddy.com is adding a second spokeswoman as it closes in on $1 billion in annual sales this year: fitness guru Jillian Michaels.

Michaels joins race car driver Danica Patrick as a Go Daddy Girl, a move that CEO Bob Parsons said should attract new customers _ even as he predicts that next year will see a repeat of this year's revenue growth of 22 percent.

Michaels is a well-known celebrity, famous for her role as a coach on NBC's weight-loss show, "The Biggest Loser."

Parsons said he suspects most of his company's customers are overweight, as are most Americans, who he said make up 82 percent of the world's Internet users.

"They will recognize Jillian and they'll be charged up by her," said Parsons, 59, who said that he and his wife came upon the idea while watching TV. "My days of being a fat guy are numbered."

The new addition comes after a report in The Wall Street Journal last week that said the company, the world's largest registrar of Internet domain names, was up for sale. The paper, citing people familiar with the matter, said Go Daddy Group Inc. had hired Qatalyst Partners to shop the company to private equity investors.

Parsons said he wouldn't comment on what he called a rumor.

"The only thing I will say is I'm a typical businessman. I'm always open to all alternatives," he said in an interview. "But have I decided to sell the company? I haven't made any decisions there."

He also said the company, of which he is the majority shareholder, is worth "well in excess of a $1 billion."

Go Daddy manages more than 43 million domain names, but makes more money offering services such as website designing, building, hosting and e-mail. It accounts for nearly 50 percent of new domain names registered.

Parsons founded the company in 1997 by using most of the $64 million he made selling Parsons Technology to finance software maker Intuit Inc. in 1994. He said Go Daddy is "significantly cash flow positive" and has turned an operating profit since 2001.

He said about three-quarters of his customers are small businesses and yet less than half of small businesses in the United States have websites.

"There's a big untapped market there," he said. "A lot of people think the Internet is already here and established. I mean, we're not even in the second inning of the game."

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