On September 14, GoDaddy announced it had acquired SkyVerge, a major WooCommerce-focused development company, for an undisclosed amount. At the moment, GoDaddy is playing it close to the vest in terms of its future plans. It has not publicly announced anything beyond a continued commitment to current customers.
The initial announcement makes note that SkyVerge’s free plugins on WordPress.org have been downloaded more than 3.1 million times. However, the company’s nine plugins in the directory currently have over 155,000 active installs. Nevertheless, SkyVerge’s real value is in its team and its impressive array of free and commercial add-on plugins available directly from its site.
WooCommerce is a cash cow for companies with the right products and marketing at the moment. GoDaddy seems to be going all-in on the back of WordPress’s most popular eCommerce solution. It launched a managed WooCommerce hosting plan in October 2019. The hosting company has now added over 60 WooCommerce extensions to its inventory in one swoop.
“As more small businesses and entrepreneurs go online, having a highly performant eCommerce experience is becoming more important than ever,” said Rich Tabor, Senior Product Manager of WordPress Experience at GoDaddy. “Late last year we launched a Managed WooCommerce offering, bundling many WooCommerce extensions in the Managed WordPress environment.”
SkyVerge has quietly become a massively successful WordPress and WooCommerce business. It was bringing in $350,000 per month at the end of 2019. There was no response on how well the business has performed thus far in 2020.
The entire SkyVerge team came along for the transition to GoDaddy. “We’re just beginning to deliver more capabilities and an even better setup and ongoing usage experience for our customers,” said Tabor. “The SkyVerge team will lead and accelerate those plans. They are an incredibly talented and innovative team that lives and breathes WooCommerce. Joining forces with them advances GoDaddy’s WordPress strategy and enhances our ability to deliver intuitive eCommerce experiences that help everyday entrepreneurs sell online.”
With so many extensions in place, the big question for average users is whether those extensions will become a part of GoDaddy’s eCommerce hosting bundle. Tabor either did not or could not let slip any plans in the works. “We’re just beginning to determine how to best deliver SkyVerge’s wonderful products to GoDaddy customers. SkyVerge brings a lot of great software. It’s reasonable to expect we’ll be delivering that to our customers who are selling online.”
It is doubtful that GoDaddy went into this acquisition without at least some short-term plans or visions for how its managed hosting service would use these extensions. For now, we will have to wait and see.
It seems that the immediate plan will be to maintain business as usual. Tabor said GoDaddy had no changes to announce related to SkyVerge’s products and website. “We are committed to continuing support of SkyVerge’s customers and investing in the SkyVerge software,” he said.
SkyVerge also created Jilt, which is an email marketing platform for eCommerce sites. The platform currently supports WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, Shopify, and Shopify Plus. Tabor did not directly respond to what the future looked like for Jilt’s non-WooCommerce customers nor did he give any indication of whether there were plans to expand Jilt to other eCommerce systems.
He did say that GoDaddy would continue to invest in its priority eCommerce platforms, which are WooCommerce and GoDaddy Websites + Marketing.
Max Rice, co-founder of SkyVerge, did leave some indication of Jilt’s future in his announcement post. “We made a commitment to be there for your business with software you can depend on, and we’re sticking to it,” he said. “We’ll continue to support our existing WooCommerce plugins and Jilt. While we’ll be building something new at GoDaddy, everything we’ve already built is a big part of that.”
Are there any other developers out there concerned about all of these GoDaddy acquisitions? I’m happy for the SkyVerge team, and others that have been acquired, but I’m trying really hard and just can’t see how this is good for the developer ecosystem…