HostGator Billboards?

Alligator escapes from Atlanta Zoo?

HostGator’s September 09 Newsletter says the company currently has billboards “posted in 10 major U.S. cities and that number will be increasing soon.” I’ve been noticing HostGator billboard ads in the Atlanta area since September. I’ve seen web hosting billboards fragvertised before. And, I’m accustomed to seeing the blue and yellow HostGator mascot “Snappy” online, but on the way to work? On the way to dinner? While running errands? I’m going to have to adjust to that.

HostGator is not a host I’d call modest when it comes to advertising, whether online or offline. Their bite into advertising can sometimes annoy loyal web affiliate advertisers who receive 400k in payouts per month (apparently this figure does not include Commission Junction, where the affiliate ads on Clickfire come from). Consider this. If I’m on my way to get a cheeseburger after work, am I going to see the HostGator billboard, pull over, and order hosting for that new Web site I’ve been wanting to build? No, but here’s the scenario that affiliates may fear the most: I am going to either write it down or force myself to remember the name in the largest lettering: Hostgator.com. When home, I Google “HostGator” and click the number one listing (Google displays the brand site first in organic search). Unless I decide to do some research or comparisons, I’ve just bypassed affiliates and gone straight to the source to purchase my web hosting.

Do billboard ads “take” sales from online publishers? Will HostGator billboard advertising even work? How about we have some fun with HostGator’s latest campaign. Let’s do a crude test. Let’s take the three HostGator billboards in my neighborhood and see how long they stay up, the assumption being that no company would continue an unprofitable ad campaign.

HostGator Billboard, Cobb Parkway, Marietta
Estimated start: Sept 09. Status: still live. See you later alligator? Not yet. It’s still there right next to the KFC on Cobb Pkwy, Marietta. Dude, get some chicken and stop standing there like a nerd.

HostGator Billboard, Roswell Rd, Atlanta, Ga
Estimated start: Sept 09. Status: removed.  This reptile at Roswell Rd and W Wieuca went into hibernation by November. I think a whiskey ad appears now.

HostGator Billboard, Upper Roswell Rd, Marietta
Estimated start: Sept 09. Status: still live. This one took me by surprise because of it’s remote location on Upper Roswell in Marietta.

Emory Rowland

I'm editor and keeper of the flame at Clickfire. I consider myself a fanatical blogger, entrepreneur and builder of Internet things from way back. My love for social media and success with organic search led me to start a SEO consulting venture. Apart from the Internet, I could be considered pretty worthless. More...

10 comments

  1. It’s definitely tacky, and I just wonder about the whole campaign – after all, when I decided I wanted a host for my blog, not only did I shop around and read reviews but I asked people actually running sites what they used and whether they had any problems or not.

    Those billboards tell nothing – not that they’re supposed to – and they scream a name that makes no sense to me. There’s no branding other than “we exist, use us.”

  2. lockerz invite

    In my opinion, it is a waste of money for the company. Seriously, they should use this money for online advertising instead of bilboard ads…

    These billboard are useless for an online company such as HostGator.

  3. Darvin @ Recycling Christmas Card

    No, I wouldn’t be too worried as an affiliate marketer. Yes, Hostgator will get more people to sign up, but the people who sign up based on a billboard weren’t my target audience more than likely anyway. I advertise online, so I’m targeting people who search online… not on roadsides!

    In other words, I don’t think lost sales will be meaningful.

  4. Darvin @ Recycling Christmas Card

    Have you seen your affiliate sales decline? Are all of the last remaining billboards still up?

    • Emory Rowland

      Darvin, I haven’t seen much change to date. 2 out of 3 of the billboards are still up. I’ll keep an eye on them and post back.

  5. cheap website templates

    I do think the billboard advertising would be useful for brand building. I live up in Canada and I have never seen web hosting advertised offline before. I definitely think it would grab peoples attention here. However, I don’t think a single person would use the promo code.

  6. Louis @ Valentines Costumes

    Not sure if it’s the right thing to do or not but one thing I have noticed is all the empty billboards that I see around now days. Not sure if they are the best place to put your advertising money at this time.

  7. Pingback: Hostgator’s Advertising Blitz

  8. Video Avatar

    Sometimes ads like those work, but it depends on what kind of people will be attracted to it; Techie people and people who wants to start an online business for example.

  9. There billboard ads must have worked because now the billboards say “Do you know linux? we are hiring”

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