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Subject: GoDaddy.com presents A Dead Elephant rss

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Has anybody else heard about this? The CEO of GoDaddy apparently goes to Africa once a year to shoot "problem" elephants and this time released a video of it.

Explosion ensues on internet, and competitors move to capitalize.
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April fools'?
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Possibly, maybe even likely. OTOH, elephants destroying crops are a problem in Africa, especially since most farming is at a subsistence level, rather than commercial. Several years ago Swaziland was going to cull (read "kill") seven elephants because the population had gotten too large for the animal preserve to hold*. Anyway, as far as the butchering - hey, it's meat. they don't get a whole lot of it there, and when you're starving, food is food, whether it's pretty or not.



* The San Diego Zoo (where I work) instead had them flown here to put in our Wild Animal Park. Since then, we've had 3 additional calves born from those seven. Interestingly enough, we had a lot of protestors who felt that the animals were better off dead than with us.
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Regardless of your stance on the actual issue, you should ask yourself one thing if you are considering using GoDaddy for your e-business services: Should I trust a company to handle my e-business internet needs that has a CEO that thinks it is a good move to post videos of himself killing animals (one that is an endangered species and has been popularly anthropomorphized by Disney!)on the internet? To me that is like going to a PR firm whose CEO willing published materials of himself kinked out in furry fetish gear. Aside from the ethical scolding I would like to give him, this guy is a freaking moron.
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I would never patronize a business whose sexist ads make the CEO sound like a sleazoid pimp with a tiny little ****.


(bonus points if you name the movie)
 
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Alaren wrote:
Kilde wrote:
Regardless of your stance on the actual issue, you should ask yourself one thing if you are considering using GoDaddy for your e-business services: Should I trust a company to handle my e-business internet needs that has a CEO that thinks it is a good move to post videos of himself killing animals (one that is an endangered species and has been popularly anthropomorphized by Disney!)on the internet? To me that is like going to a PR firm whose CEO willing published materials of himself kinked out in furry fetish gear. Aside from the ethical scolding I would like to give him, this guy is a freaking moron.
You know... five years after the fact, it still bothers me sometimes that Bob fired one of my best techs while I was on vacation. So I wouldn't exactly call myself a Bob Parsons apologist. But really, "a freaking moron?" You don't seem to realize that this is extremely in line with the GoDaddy approach to advertising.

While I was working there, GoDaddy ran its first Superbowl ad and started Bob's "radio show" (which at the time focused on "stuff we found around the web," not sure how it is now as I haven't listened recently). Bob made sure we all knew both were a big deal. I remember some employees speculating that it was all just to feed Bob's ego, cross off items on his "millionaire bucket list," since hey, how many people really need a domain name? And after the Superbowl ad ran, there were a number of calls to boycott GoDaddy for sexism. But from a business perspective, it was a resounding success. In fact Bob bought two slots, but after the first ad ran, someone on the broadcasting end made the decision not to run ad a second time. I don't know any of the details of the settlement on that breach, but I do know that Bob spun that controversy like a magician and has been using the "GoDaddy girls" for advertising ever since.

There are certainly some industries in which "shock advertising" can backfire. But on the internet, where attention-getting, meme-propagating culture has taken the maxim "there's no such thing as bad press" to whole new heights? There are a couple reasons GoDaddy was able to surpass Network Solutions as the largest domain name registrar and shared hosting provider in the world. There are many cogent criticisms worth leveling at GoDaddy; its marketing to its customers can be overwhelmingly pushy, for example, and its creation of resellers via Wild West Domains often feels a bit underhanded to me. But I don't think calling Bob "a freaking moron" really fits here. How much free advertising did his humanitarian aid efforts just secure? How many news programs ran the story, "CEO and founder of GoDaddy.com, the world's largest domain name registrar, publishes elephant-hunting video!"

That's advertising gold.

Regarding the "ethical scolding" you'd like to give him, however, I'd be interested in your response to his response (which I lifted from Wikipedia):

Quote:
I kind of figured that this [backlash] might happen. So be it, I’m not ashamed of what I did. All these people that are complaining that this shouldn’t happen, that these people who are starving to death otherwise shouldn’t eat these elephants, you probably see them driving through at McDonald’s or cutting a steak. These people [Zimbabwe villagers] don’t have that option...The people there have very little, many die each year from starvation and one of the problems they have is the elephants, of which there are thousands and thousands, that trash many of their fields destroying the crops.

The tribal authorities request that I and others like me, patrol the fields before and during the harvest — we can’t cover them all, there are just a few of us — and drive the elephant from the fields. The farmers try to run the elephants away by cracking whips, beating drums and lighting fires. All of this is ignored by the elephants. When my team catch elephants in a field...we typically kill one of them and the rest leave for good. After we kill an elephant the people butcher the elephant and it feeds a number of villages. These people have literally nothing and when an elephant is killed it’s a big event for them, they are going to be able to eat some protein. This is no different than you or I eating beef...
Well, I can think of a couple ways in which is is different (cows aren't endangered as a species), and I'm sure there is a long list of "other ways a rich guy like Bob could have handled the situation." But if it was your struggling farm, and your poor country, and your life on the line: wouldn't you be grateful? There are some perplexing ethical conundrums in play, certainly, but whether or not you or I would have done the same in Bob's shoes, this may be one of the most ethically defensible (not to mention personally involved, can-do) behaviors I've seen from a wealthy businessman in years.
If Bob really has a good heart I'd like to see what other activities he does to personally help communities in need. If he is so keen on publicizing his good deeds he should have no problem documenting the regular activities he does to benefit the good of man kind. To me publicizing the of killing an animal as a heroic act is childish. A person with his means should be able to find a non-violent way to deal with the problem of that particular village if that really is his intention. Using your wealth to vacation and hunt hardly seems noble to me.
 
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Alaren wrote:
Well, I'm not really arguing that he's kind-hearted. The point is not that he's a saint. The point is that what he did falls well short of monstrous and was even at least arguably a good deed.
Bluntly? This is crap. Well-meant crap, don't get me wrong, and I appreciate Ken's attempt at a defense. But crap.

Let's leave aside the question of "problem animals," which are typically animals whose territory has been enroached upon by humans so calling them "problems" is a bit unfair, to say the least - let's just ignore that and assume that the animal is a problem.

Even if you make that assumption, it is beyond ludicrous to assume that Bob Parsons' "help" was needed. Every African country has a ranger service expressly for problem animals - typically they try to resolve these issues without harming the animal, but they will kill an animal if they don't see another option.

So why didn't they take care of this elephant? Are we seriously to believe that what they really needed was a rich guy from the USA to come shoot it? This is Africa - if there's one thing they have too much of, it's guns. They can shoot elephants all by themselves quite easily (and have, and not just elephants - one of the reasons every African country has a ranger service is to prevent the bushmeat trade).

So I ask: what is more likely? That a white millionaire was called in specifically to put down an elephant instead of that country's ranger service, or that a white millionare (and, not incidentally, an avowed big-game hunting enthusiast) spread a little money around to get the opportunity to hunt an elephant with official permission? We can't be sure, of course, because TIA and if there ever was a paper trail to prove anything it's long gone. But given that the official story of what happened is basically ridiculous, I know what I'd put my money on.
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So, MGK-

Would a Millionaire/Billionaire who spent millions of dollars on heavily carbon emitting race cars- thereby not only putting more CO2 into the atmosphere, but doing so at a rate possibly millions of times faster than that of a 'normal' US consumer- be 'monstrous' as well?

Maybe not AS monstrous as killing Dumbo- everyone knows how cute Elephants are- but a monster in and of itself?

The real question is whether or not Bob Parson's actions are inconsistent or not- really, Kenya and other african nations make a considerable amount of money allowing rich basterds like Parson's come and do things that the rangers COULD do, as you point out. But the elephants were going to die- at the hands of a ranger or at the hands of a rich spoiled internet millionaire.

But because of Bob Parson's money, that nation has a little bit more money they could spend on helping the animals. Or not- its possible that its all a corrupt racket.

Slamming Parson's solely because he likes to do something that is distasteful, but legal, and then calling him a 'monster', is pretty low. Especially given the fact that the elephants were going to die even if NO rich millionaires came into the country, eager to demonstrate how 'manly' they are with a huge rifle.

Now, if you could demonstrate that MORE elephants were being considered 'dangerous', in order to generate money via bribes, or if you could show that the money that Parson's spends isn't helping rangers help the animals in other ways, THEN you'd have an argument.

But the fact that he fancies himeself as a 'Great White Hunter?" Wierdly out of step in the 21st century, yes, but hardly 'monstrous'.

You still have to demonstrate HARM.

Darilian
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Alaren wrote:
mightygodking wrote:
...or that a white millionare (and, not incidentally, an avowed big-game hunting enthusiast) spread a little money around to get the opportunity to hunt an elephant with official permission?
Honestly, I was operating under the assumption that this is exactly how it went down. But think of that ranger service--in that part of the world, they're not exactly well-funded. And if an animal needs putting down, why just do the job when you can get the job done and pick up some scratch sponsorship from some rich American? And if that animal was going down anyway, what's the big deal?

(I think there is potential for abuse there, of course--how high does the bidding have to get before you start to cull non-problem animals? But that does not appear to be the case in this instance.)

And if you're Bob, why just grease a few palms and go big game hunting, when you could video the experience and generate buzz about your company, further entrenching the name recognition on which you rely for your income?

It just seems like your position is, "because Bob sought out and enjoyed the experience, it has no moral value." And while I understand why it's easier to laud plainly altruistic behavior, your position seems based on the idea that because Bob's motives were not purely altruistic, they must have been vicious. I would suggest instead that what occurred here was a powerful confluence of aligned interests--Bob's (commercial, personal, and philanthropic), the area authority's, and the villager's.

Yes, the elephants lose out. Yes, that can be ethically challenging. But the outrage I've seen from Westerners seems based primarily on idealized conceptions of nature built mostly of anthropomorphic cartoon animals. It's funny how compassionate so many people claim to be, in light of how uncomfortable they are with the implementation of actual solutions.
The point I am primarily making is that Bob deserves no sympathy for the criticism he is getting for intentionally publicizing what a reasonable person could assume would be a controversial event.

I don't think the outrage is that shocking at all. In fact I would go as far to say that Bob's video was baiting.

Also if Bob has the means to solve the problem without killing an animal, how do you consider it an ethical alignment of his interests and philanthropy? I would say his pleasure would have gotten in the way from choosing the most ethical action he has the capacity to do.

I also am skeptical that helping the community was actually an interest of his instead of an ad hoc justification for his enjoyment of hunting.
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tscook wrote:
Alaren wrote:

And re-read Gregory's post--likely no matter what Bob did with those elephants, someone would be complaining about it. If I recall correctly, PETA only hates zoos a tiny bit less than it hates hunting. Likely the only elephant advocacy group that wouldn't complain would be whichever one Bob paid to handle the problem--and the solution would likely be overpriced and not at all guaranteed. The fact is, we must kill to live.
Pet peeve: pointing to bad vegans is like pointing to bad Christians, really easy to do but doesn't help your point.
Yeah, like how does that link "prove" we need to kill to live? There are plenty of vegan babies and people who are "living" right now, contrary to that anecdotal single incident.

The mother didn't have enough B-12 to pass on to the infant. She could have gotten B-12 from non-animal sources. It was a case of a bad mother, not a bad philosophy.
 
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Darilian wrote:
So, MGK-

Would a Millionaire/Billionaire who spent millions of dollars on heavily carbon emitting race cars- thereby not only putting more CO2 into the atmosphere, but doing so at a rate possibly millions of times faster than that of a 'normal' US consumer- be 'monstrous' as well?
Alaren used the word "monstrous," not me. I was actually taking issue with him characterizing a selfish act as a "good deed." Beneficial effects of an action taken selfishly don't make it a good deed.

I wouldn't characterize his actions as monstrous anyway. I would have gone with "pathetic."

Quote:
Maybe not AS monstrous as killing Dumbo- everyone knows how cute Elephants are
For me it's not about the fact that elephants are beautiful (which they are). Horses are pretty beautiful too, but I don't get torn up when somebody needs to put one with a broken leg down.

But what is not widely known is that elephants are intelligent in a way that most animals are not: they're emotionally complex and learn actively rather than through instinct. If you put a mirror in front of a cat or a dog, the cat or dog will always think they're seeing another cat or dog and react accordingly. Most animals will do this. Elephants (along with most apes and cetaceans) don't: they recognize that they see themselves in the mirror and act accordingly. (Typically by preening.)

There's a thought in there that says "Yep. I'm an elephant," and most animals don't have that level of sentience. I think that merits a higher level of consideration than most animals do.
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TheChin! wrote:

The mother didn't have enough B-12 to pass on to the infant. She could have gotten B-12 from non-animal sources. It was a case of a bad mother, not a bad philosophy.
It is the case of a bad philosophy, but that bad philosophy is not veganism.

The issue is something we see on both sides of the classic political spectrum: So much value in one's judgement that listening to mainstream experts is considered a bad thing altogether. It's the same force that popularizes homeopathy and the most bonkers of biblical interpretations. The interesting thing is that that force doesn't really make people fail to trust anyone: They just often pick a very different set of experts who have no idea of what they are doing. Fortunately, most of the time all that is lost is quite a bit of money. In the worst cases, like this one, innocents pay the price.
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