UPDATE: GoDaddy, the largest domain name registrar in the world, has reversed itself and no longer supports the SOPA bill. Earlier, the company’s backing of the bill sparked anger among customers who see the bill as destructive. GoDaddy’s earlier position shocked many since it was directly opposite to that of many technology players like Google, Facebook, AOL, eBay (and PayPal), Mozilla, Reddit and Twitter. It’s also a PR disaster.
It seemed that the company had no idea why the bill is so strongly opposed. In a statement filed with the House of Representatives, GoDaddy said:
Go Daddy has a long history of supporting federal legislation directed toward combating illegal conduct on the Internet. For example, our company strongly supported the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008, the Protect Our Children Act of 2008, and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP).
Go Daddy has always supported both government and private industry efforts to identify and disable all types of illegal activity on the Internet. It is for these reasons that I’m still struggling with why some Internet companies oppose PROTECT IP and SOPA. There is no question that we need these added tools to counteract illegal foreign sites that are falling outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law enforcement. And there is clearly more that we could all be doing to adequately address the problems that exist.
In response, a number of GoDaddy’s customers have vowed to move their domain names to other providers. Competing registrars, such as NameCheap and HostGator, are quickly moving in, offering coupon codes for “GoDaddy refugees.”
This isn’t the first time (and it’s unlikely to be the last) that GoDaddy’s shot itself in the foot. Earlier this year, company CEO Bob Parsons uploaded a video of himself killing an elephant in Zimbabwe. That didn’t sit well with some of the registrar’s animal-loving customers, including PETA, which cut all ties with the registrar and called for a boycott.
Eight months later, it’s still business as usual for GoDaddy. It’s retained the top registrar without breaking a sweat.
Is the company really too big to fail? Probably. The company could laugh off another boycott attempt, but as an Internet-loving person, I don’t want to have anything to do with GoDaddy anymore.
Photo: Jon Roig