There’s coal in the stocking at GoDaddy headquarters in Scottsdale. It looks like customers are bailing in droves. It’s all about the position GoDaddy took concerning the proposed SOPA legislation. There is a lesson to be learned.
SOPA is a troublesome law. It allows intellectual property owners to shut down websites that might be infringing or helping others infringe on their property. Under the broad definitions of the bill Google or Facebook could be shut down! I’m sure in the tens of thousands of pages on this site (seriously) there’s something somewhere that vaguely violates the law.
Mistakes can be made. Mistakes aren’t excused.
A Russian torrent tracker found pirated content being downloaded by web addresses belonging to the MPAA, RIAA and DHS! Oops.
Will these organizations be understanding if mistakes happen elsewhere? In the past they have not. Their power will multiply under SOPA.
Reddit’s incensed coterie of geeks started looking for ways to strike back… like transferring domains and hosting from GoDaddy.
At first GoDaddy turned a blind eye.
“Go Daddy has received some emails that appear to stem from the boycott prompt, but we have not seen any impact to our business. We understand there are many differing opinions on the SOPA regulations.”
Yesterday Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales tweeted:
I am proud to announce that the Wikipedia domain names will move away from GoDaddy. Their position on #sopa is unacceptable to us.
Like a snowball rolling downhill anger toward GoDaddy was growing. Reports were published showing GoDaddy contacting switching customers trying to get them to stay.
Yesterday GoDaddy issued this:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Dec. 23, 2011) – Go Daddy is no longer supporting SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” currently working its way through U.S. Congress.
A full read of the press release showed it less than meets the eye! On Reddit the thought was this wasn’t enough.
Check out this quote from an interview posted yesterday on TechCrunch:
[GoDaddy CEO] Adelman couldn’t commit to changing its position on the record in Congress when asked about that, but said “I’ll take that back to our legislative guys, but I agree that’s an important step.” But when pressed, he said “We’re going to step back and let others take leadership roles.” He felt that the public statement removing their support would be sufficient for now, though further steps would be considered.
So, GoDaddy hasn’t gone on the record to oppose SOPA, and now they’ve made it clear they’re still officially supporting it. In my opinion, the “we no longer support SOPA” statement released yesterday seems to be just a calculated PR move.
I’ll still be moving all my domains.
We have recently watched the “Occupy” movement bloom, then mostly dissolve. This blowback against GoDaddy looks much more effective. Though this technique will work most effectively against one company at a time it could easily isolate, injure and intimidate.
I will be surprised if the GoDaddy experience doesn’t serve as a roadmap for other protests. Corporate behavior can be swayed one company at a time.