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Go Daddy, the leading domain registrar, changed its position regarding SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) late Friday in an apparent attempt at saving face against the growing backlash of boycotters transferring domains to other registrars. Go Daddy’s official release comes on news of Go Daddy already losing 70,000 names as reported by CNET, but is this release to late and what does it really show about the company?
The official Move Your Domain day, as dubbed by competitor Namecheap, is just another step in the growing concern over Go Daddy and it’s actions toward this legislation. Where does Go Daddy really stand on this issue? The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to reconvene January 2012 without its leading Internet champion now. Concern from the online community is that the Scottsdale company places itself in between the issue of slipping profits or supporting SOPA.
SOPA was introduced to the House of Representatives in late 2011 and allows the DOJ (Department of Justice) and copyright holders to seek court orders blocking payment processors and ad networks from conducting business with foreign sites accused of copyright infringement. You can see why the list of SOPA supporters does not include any of who the Internet companies who submitted an open letter to congress urging the stop of SOPA.
The CEO of Cheezburger, Ben Huh, sent a twitter message late last week, stating “We will move our 1,000 domains off @godaddy unless you drop support of SOPA. We love you guys, but #SOPA-is-cancer to the Free Web”. Other users are followingsuit, and a Boycott Go Daddy website was set up yesterday to rally for the cause.
The @godaddy handle has been lit up with replies to its community and customers regarding this. Not the best picture to be seeing from a social landscape and monitoring campaign. Transparency is important in managing your reputation during PR explosions like this, but how credible is your PR when you are a for profit company flip-flopping at this time?
Webmasters have been fuming over the controversial bill as they view SOPA as a huge disruption to the internet, and many feel it may actually “break” the internet infrastructure. Many believe the bill can cause serious damage to the DNS (domain name service) as it will block a site from accessing other sites that have been found guilty of violating copyright infringement. While this may seem acceptable, imagine the potential SEO damage to the infrastructure if links were disrupted all over the internet. Search engine rankings would scramble, domainauthority will shuffle, and there will be broken links all over the internet.
GoDaddy CEO, Warren Adelman, is on damage control stating he had, “been CEO of the company for all of one week” when the complaints started rolling in. “SOPA and its twin (presumably PIPA – Protect IP Act) in Senate goes back much further.” Adelman goes own to say that Go Daddy will be stepping back and letting others take leadership roles and that their public statement is sufficient for now.
So, who is the leader in fighting SOPA if not the largest hosting and domain registrar company? As evident in the open letter to congress, many of the largest Internet sites have been joined by true champions in the webmaster community. Pulling domains, public statements from Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia) will continue to keep the Internet community on full alert on this week.