GoDaddy Super Bowl ad airbrushes the truth about online puppy mills

In introducing a new puppy ad to the Super Bowl viewing audience, privately held Internet domain registrar and web hosting company GoDaddy introduced controversy to its big game marketing scheme.

This week, the company released a 30-second commercial in which a dog named Buddy is thrown from a truck, then journeys across railroad tracks and through rain.

He eventually arrives home and in a surprise twist that the company hyped prior to the premiere, he is immediately sold online by his owner.

Puppy mills flourish online while federal agencies are poorly equipped to monitor all the activityAnimal welfare advocates weren’t laughing.

IFAW’s 2012 investigative report How Much is that Doggie on My Browser? revealed that nearly 62 percent of 10,000 ads from six puppy-selling websites promoted “likely puppy mills”, which crowd dogs in unsanitary, inhumane conditions.

These puppy mills and other wildlife trade operations flourish online while federal agencies are poorly equipped to monitor all the activity.

The brightest silver linings in this story have come from major e-commerce companies like eBay and Etsy, which have voluntarily stepped forward to ban the trade of live animals and some animal parts from their sites.

GoDaddy responded to the public backlash by pulling the ad from the Super Bowl, claiming that Buddy came to the company from “a reputable and loving breeder in California.”

Even so, for a company that has rebranded itself as a resource to small businesses that want to build a successful web presence, GoDaddy displayed a startling degree of ignorance about the role online businesses play in supporting puppy mills and other cruel animal industries.

GoDaddy is not new to animal welfare controversy: Former GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons sparked outrage in 2011 when he posted a graphic video of him and his friends shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe.

We applaud GoDaddy’s decision to pull the ad, but still more needs to be done to shut down puppy mills’ online storefronts.

An adorable puppy from an actual loving, humane breeder is rarely just a click away.


Learn more about the reasons why #GoDaddy made the right call and pulled their Super Bowl ad featuring the online sale of a puppy! Download "How Much is that Doggie in My Browser" now.

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy