“Driving awareness around internet is our prime strategy in India,” Rajiv Sodhi, MD, GoDaddy India

For anyone who has bought a domain name for their business, GoDaddy sounds familiar. GoDaddy doesn’t only provide domain names; they offer websites, email, hosting, security certificates and an array of related services for SMBs to conduct their businesses online.

With 1.2 lakh customers in India already, GoDaddy is a heavyweight in the field and has its corporate office in India based out of Gurgaon. Being a very strategic country for GoDaddy, they launched their India Care Center in Bangalore on June 18, 2012. At the helm of GoDaddy’s India Operations is Rajiv Sodhi. Prior to GoDaddy, Rajiv has held the positions of Director of SMB and Cloud Business, both with Microsoft and in total has close to 15 years of experience in Technology.

“Our first objective is to be present here, partner with the ecosystem and drive the internet ecosystem within India massively. As more and more businesses get online for the first time, they don’t necessarily know how to go about managing their online presence; we are here to help them,” says Rajiv about GoDaddy’s plans in India. For instance, GoDaddy set up their first customer care center outside of the US in Bangalore, India. “This is exclusively meant for our Indian customers, as how closely we work with our resellers and partners is extremely important for us,” adds Rajiv.

Quarter 3 has just ended with a 95% increase in India resellers and in April, GoDaddy also announced specific reseller plans for Indian needs. Cutting the long story short, GoDaddy’s plan for India is threefold in Rajiv’s words:
1. Set up a strong base in India and position themselves as the SMB one-stop in the country
2. Establish exceptional customer care center within India for Indian customers

3. Establish robust and scalable channels

Internet Penetration in India – Numbers and the Opportunity

The number of internet users has been placed around 120-130 million. The estimates are by 2014, this number will more than double and reach 300 million making it the second largest internet market in the world after China. “We are already seeing SMBs seeking to have online presence. Companies like Flipkart and Jabong are creating an online culture in the country. One aspect for SMBs is to have an online presence and the second stage is to transact online. With GoDaddy’s support services, there is a lot that our customers can do online,” says Rajiv.

Challenges Specific to Indian Internet Scene

GoDaddy has over 10 million customers worldwide and knows the geography. India is still considerably new in the field and it’ll face some unique challenges. Rajiv throws some light on this fact saying, “While India is a large market, it is also a fairly unique market. While India is regarded as IT superpower, our PC penetration is one of the lowest in the world. Also, from a cultural perspective the world is largely a DIY market, while in India it is DIM (Do it for Me). The expectation here is that somebody else will do it for me when it comes to online businesses.”
“Also, driving awareness around internet is our prime strategy in India. Using mass media is one big way we are trying to drive our brand and also use the opportunity to tell the customers why they should come online,” he adds.

Advice to Startup Entrepreneurs in India

“If you are an entrepreneur in India and when you are starting a new company, it is very important to protect your brand. Whatever company you are setting up, a strong brand presence is most important,” says Rajiv from his experience.“If you are a startup especially, you are resource crunched at all times, and that is where we can help you and we also have a pay as you go model. Cloud is increasingly becoming immensely important, entrepreneurs should also take advantage of that,” he adds.

Also, if one looks at customers in India today, they are becoming more and more aware. Hence engaging with them regularly and knowing them to cater to their needs is the need of the hour. Rajiv also believes that it is a myth to assume that India is a price sensitive market,“I believe that India is a value sensitive market, people here are willing to pay for value as long as you successfully explain to them the exact value for the product/service offering.” This necessitates all entrepreneurs to spend a lot of time interacting with and understanding his customer.

With 53 million domain names under itself already and pumping up operations in India, this number can only go up! Make the best use of GoDaddy and let us bring more of India online! YourStory thanks Rajiv for his time, and wishes him all the best as he embarks on an ambitious journey.