22
nov

Elephants and Email: a tale of sustainability

What’s the link between a Dot Com CEO’s gruesome killing of an African elephant and a communications company’s stranded email? Supply chain infection!

For the past 12 years Media Wise and The Green Place have used the webhosting services of U.S.-based GoDaddy, one of the biggest providers worldwide. GoDaddy offered good value for money. We particularly liked the customer service. You can always get a GoDaddy customer service representative on the phone. Even on a Sunday, in the middle of the Arizona night, you can make a local call from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at local call rates and get help from a courteous and knowledgeable person. This spring, however, the CEO of GoDaddy, Bob Parsons, threw his company’s reputation on the line when he shot an elephant in Zimbabwe and posted a video of it to internet. The incident triggered a wave of outrage and negative publicity. An animal rights group called for a boycott. Many Media Wise associates and staff also immediately called for us to sever our relationship and move our business to a more ethical provider.

Meanwhile, while we were still considering our options, the witchhunt against GoDaddy continued in the Twitterverse and fanned out to reach and infect the next layer of the supply web – the clients of GoDaddy. Alarm bells rang at Media Wise on November 10 when we received an ‘undeliverable’ message from one of our suppliers – T-mobile – saying the client host GoDaddy was blocked  due to “continued hosting of spam/hate sites, ignoring abuse, not enforcing terms of service / acceptable use policy.” The next day we received personal telephone calls from two or three clients and colleagues telling us our emails to them were bouncing. That’s when we realised we could postpone the move no longer and we acted immediately.

One week later we are now with a new provider called Site 5. The emails are flowing nicely once again, safeguarding today’s and hopefully tomorrow’s business, and keeping our CSR conscience clear . Once again this experience illustrates how sustainability rules. Ignore at your peril! — Emma Robson.

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