December 26, 2011
GoDaddy Backs Off Support Of SOPA
Facing massive boycotts and protests over their support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Internet domain name registrar GoDaddy.com has reversed course and withdrawn their support from the controversial legislation.
The negative backlash over the firm's support of SOPA (also known as H.R.3261) forced GoDaddy to take a second look at the bill, new CEO Warren Adelman told Grant Gross of IDG News on Friday.
Adelman added that the company has concerns over -- in Gross' words -- "the free speech and Internet security implications of the legislation," but had to this point desired to work with lawmakers to address those concerns.
"It's clear to us the bill's not ready in its current form," Adelman told IDG News. "Looking at this over the last 20 hours, we're not seeing consensus in the Internet community, we're hearing the feedback from our customers."
It might be a case of too little, too late, though. CNET's Natalie Weinstein reports that GoDaddy lost more than 21,000 domains on Thursday, and all told more than 37,000 domains cut their ties with the registrar, according to Tom Cheredar of VentureBeat.
"The fleeing domains come as a result of the intense backlash from customers and Internet critics after GoDaddy appeared on an official list of companies supporting SOPA," Cheredar said. "The internet responded by staging a wide-spread boycott where people would switch their domains to another registrar, which GoDaddy initially dismissed as having little impact on their business."
"Now it seems that assessment wasn't entirely accurate," he added. "If you factor in the $6.99 to $10.99 fees associated with each of those domain registrations, GoDaddy is losing a significant amount of money" by supporting the proposed online copyright law.
Among the clients threatening to abandon or part ways with Adelman's company, Gross says, were Reddit user "selfprodigy," who pulled 51 domain names from GoDaddy; Ben Huh, CEO of the 1,000-plus domain strong "Cheezburger" group of humorous homepages, who said he would pull his family of websites unless the company dropped their support of SOPA; and Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, who called the company's stance on the proposed bill "unacceptable."
That was enough to convince Adelman to release a statement saying that his company "will support [SOPA] when and if the Internet community supports it," according to Weinstein.
"In April, GoDaddy General Counsel Christine Jones told lawmakers that the company would support efforts that required DNS blocking as a way to strike at foreign websites that infringe U.S. copyrights," Gross reported. "As of Friday, Jones has removed posts at GoDaddy.com describing the company's support of provisions in SOPA."
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