There have been a lot of WordPress acquisitions this year, but none of them are as surprising as GoDaddy acquiring Pagely. In fact, it has taken nearly 24 hours for the shock and awe to decrease to the point where I can finally write about it.
No one saw this coming except for those involved with the deal and had you asked who would acquire Pagely if they were available, I’d bet no one would have responded with GoDaddy. That’s partly because of the relationship the two companies had in the beginning. Josh made it known that he was not a fan of what GoDaddy was doing in the hosting space, nor was he a fan of what was going on with webhosting in general which is why he vowed to do something about it. That’s one of the reasons Pagely was created. But GoDaddy has undergone massive changes since the days of Bob Parsons, raunchy GoDaddy ads, and lackluster service.
Josh Strebel, Co-founder of Pagely, explains that they did things their way and it worked so well, GoDaddy noticed. “It worked so well that one of the largest internet brands in the world, GoDaddy, wants us – to help them – to be more like us,” Strebel said. “They’ve put their cards, and cash, on the table and are serious about serving a wider segment of the market, with better quality products and top class service, to ultimately; help more people succeed.”
Pagely will be absorbed into GoDaddy but remain a separate entity. The company will work closely with SkyVerge, which was acquired by GoDaddy in 2020, to create a world-class hosted WooCommerce solution.
One of the best parts of this acquisition is how the funds were distributed. In an hour-long interview hosted by Cory Miller, Strebel explained that since Pagely had no investors and that he and his wife owned all of the stock, that a significant portion of the funds from the sale was spread amongst the company’s employees.
“We could have taken the money, cashed the check or the wire or whatever, and just peaced out,” Strebel said. “But that’s not how we do business. It’s not how we’ve ever done business. We do have stock option plans and we do have long-term employees that have taken this journey with us. So when the wires hit the accounts, it’s getting spread around.”
Sally and I are just fine and so are quite a few other people now. The key point is not a single one of them was an investor, not a single one. Nobody else gets rich except for the people who put in the work.”
This exemplifies the kind of people that Josh and his wife Sally are and it matches how they’ve run their business. Their mantra has always been to put their employees and customers above themselves, and it shows.
Sally Strebel, Co-founder of Pagely, will be stepping away from the company to take a much-needed break. However, she notes in the announcement that PressNomics, the flagship business conference created by the Strebels will be returning. “Pressnomics may look a little different going forward, and will remain a Pagely hosted event with the same mission as always: to elevate and connect business owners in the WordPress Ecosystem,” she said. “I already have a theme in mind for the next one. Stay tuned.“
I highly encourage you to watch and listen to the entire interview that Cory Miller conducted with Strebel. It’s rare that we get to hear from someone in Josh’s position where they can be real, raw, and honest with their emotions immediately after announcing a large deal is completed. The interview and the announcement written by Josh are a breath of fresh air and something I hope to see more of in the future from other company founders.
You can watch the interview via the video down below.