GoDaddy Loves Minotaurs

I recently had to renew the domain name for this site. Like many, I just go through GoDaddy because, well... I don't know why. I never gave it any thought before, but I doubt I'll ever do it again. The following day I just mentioned the renewal to my friend Mark at the office -- I didn't even go into details before his ranting response inspired the title for this post:

“GoDaddy is a f*cking labyrinth -- how many minotaurs did _you _have to kill?”

There were laughs, but really... what's wrong here? Two experienced users, a software engineer and a web developer, both had such a hard time with GoDaddy that they sat around and whined about it?

GoDaddy is successful and resourceful. They've been doing business on the web since '97 and have tons of e-commerce experience. So, how could they possibly botch the domain renewal experience so badly? It's a pretty business-critical transaction, isn't it? I took screenshots throughout the process because the experience just screamed "complain about this in public".

I originally went through the renewal process and was ready to checkout before I realized I didn't have my wallet with me, so I just left it for later. When I came back, the home page looked like this:

Obligatory disclaimer that I've added the red arrows

Notice that I've an item in the cart (top-right) and a domain expiration notice (left), but why am I still being prompted to log in (top)? If I'm not logged in, how you know this stuff about my account?

Finding my domain would have been easy enough through the Account button, but I just went straight to the cart from the top-right link and was rewarded with the real impetus for this post; the Upsell:

Several screens stitched together in Photoshop to show the whole gauntlet

These (nearly 3) screens really changed things for me. After a few seconds of earnestly reading product descriptions, I concluded that GoDaddy was trying to _trick _me into buying more. I went into defensive mode -- they were a hostile and aggressive salesman trying to take advantage of me. Normally I experiment with interfaces, I click things to see what happens, but not this time. I cautiously scrolled to the bottom of the page only to meet a pair of confusing buttons, "No Thanks" and "Add & Continue".

Wait a minute... I want to continue but I don't want to add anything -- if I click "Add & Continue" will something else be added to my purchase? If I say "No Thanks" am I backing out of the entire purchase or just the extra junk? At this point, all trust in the process has been shattered -- I wanted to finish and get the heck out of there as soon as I could, which takes us to the payment screen:

It should go without saying that I added the red arrows and path, but I evidently said it anyway.

What a mess... I'm still being asked to log in even after I've completed that step, so I'm feeling a little more shaky about all this. And then there's the form -- everyone likes eyeball acrobatics, right?

It really took effort to finish the form, mostly when I got to Step 4 with the terms and purchase summary. I don't mean that it was hard, I'm saying it took a lot more thought than it should have. Payment forms aren't new -- I completely understand that good ones can be a challenge, but go copy someone else's if you don't feel up to solving this problem. I really wonder what the percentage of cart abandonment is -- is it possible that users feel like they've invested too much to turn back now?

The confirmation screen had some room for improvement too, but I'd prefer to wrap my post up with the customer survey I completed (out of masochistic curiosity). I just want to point out the first and third questions:

I stitched together all the options for the third question.

So, they recognize that the surveyed could possibly be building/supporting a website, whether for others or for themselves, but they don't have a single tech-related option under the industry question? I guess "Professional" is close, but that's a pretty broad umbrella for web development...

Could they have meant "Which of the following best describes your website's industry"? Either way, how useful could this survey data be if the questions are either misleading and/or its answers are incomplete?

This was a really painful user experience for me, but GoDaddy has to have a team of designers, right? Maybe a UI/UX professional or two? I know I didn't really go into any depth on the problems, and I certainly haven't proposed any solutions, but why hasn't any one of the dozens/hundreds/thousands of people working with GoDaddy questioned their process?