GoDaddy, an internet domain name registrar and web hosting company receives a very warm welcome from investors. The shares of the company are surging during its initial public offering (IPO) today.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy is trading its shares under the symbol “GDDY” at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company’s shares increased as much as 34% during its market debut before retreating slightly.

Its shares are trading around $26.17 per share, up by more than 30% at the time of this writing around 2:45 in the afternoon in New York today. GoDaddy’s market capitalization is around $6.3 billion based on its current trading price.

GoDaddy originally planned to sell its 22 million shares between $17 and $19 per share based on its regulatory filing. The company finally set the price of its IPO at $20 per share and raised $460 million by selling 23 million shares.

GoDaddy’s image

The company’s IPO comes amid its efforts in changing its flamboyant image that was fortified by its Super Bowl commercials starring race-car driver Danica Patrick and model Bar Refaeli. GoDaddy now wants to promote itself as a serious internet domain name registrar and web hosting company.

GoDaddy wrote in its offering statement with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding its controversial advertisements as a potential risk to its stock.

The company said, “Some of our past advertisements have been controversial,” it said. “There can be no assurance that we will succeed in repositioning our brand, or that by doing so we will grow our total customers, increase our revenue or maintain our current high level of brand recognition.”

GoDaddy wants to convince millions of customers that it is not only offering internet domain name registrations and web hosting, but it also offering other services such as bookkeeping software and e-commerce solutions.

Allen Adamson, chairman of Landor Associates, commented that it will not be easy for GoDaddy to change its image. According to him, “It’s hard to go from something edgy and trendy and outrageous into what’s necessary to succeed in a [business-to-business] world.”

GoDaddy has strong free cash flow

Kathy Smith, a principal at Rennaissance Capital, noted that GoDaddy has strong free cash flow, which should be the focus of investors. The company recorded losses last year, but its free cash flow from operations increased 18% to $181 million.

Smith said GoDaddy’s IPO “works for investors looking for growth and cash flow.” She added that the company’s valuation was reasonable.