We've had a few stories lately about the IPO market -- and whether or not it was really opening up. Back when Google went public in 2004, there was a lot of talk about how it would open up the IPO market for tech companies again... but that turned out to be wrong. In retrospect, it isn't hard to see why. Google is clearly a special case for the market -- and could have gone public successfully no matter what the rest of the IPO environment was. To really open up the market again, there would need to be a lower profile, but still well known, company to successfully hit the market. While there has been some talk about how slow the tech IPO market has been there certainly have been some companies going public. Unfortunately, many of them seemed pretty questionable. With the folks on Wall Street publicly begging tech startups to go public again, it was only a matter of time until more high profile firms started to head through the door. There was some thought that Vonage might be that company (though some classify it more as a telco play than a tech one), but the questions concerning that company's IPO have many still believing that the IPO filing is more about trying to force the hand of potential acquirers. However, the latest rumors coming around are that well known (if occasionally controversial, and always publicity seeking) domain registrar GoDaddy is planning to file to sell shares to the public shortly. Since the documents haven't been filed, and the company's finances are still under wraps, it's hard to tell whether this is a more sensible IPO or one that pushes the boundaries. However, what it could do is really bring back a more open window for tech startup IPOs. The other really borderline IPOs that are easy to make fun of only encouraged other questionable firms to take the IPO path. There were no "brand name" tech firms going public. Getting a recognizable "name" in the tech industry to go out successfully could start the lemming process going, where a number of more well known but still private tech companies start working on filing. The folks on Wall Street must be thrilled.
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