It's been a hell of a Christmas weekend for GoDaddy. The hosting and domain registrar company lost more than 37,000 domains in the past couple of days due to its shaky stance on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. According to information reported by The Domains, over 15,000 domains were transferred off Thursday and another 21,054 on Friday, despite GoDaddy's attempt to control damage by withdrawing its support to SOPA.
The backlash against GoDaddy kicked off after the company appeared on an official list of companies supporting SOPA, a proposed bill that would allow the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to block access to sites accused of infringing copyright, and stop payment processors and online advertising networks from doing business with them -- all without due process.
The idea of a domain registrar supporting DNS blocking legislation to serve the interests of overzealous copyright owners and media companies prompted Internet users to stage a widespread boycott, declaring December 29 "move your domain day." GoDaddy initially dismissed the move as having little impact on their business, but was later scrambling to let everyone know it no longer supports SOPA legislation.
In a recent statement, Warren Adelman, the company's newly appointed CEO said: "Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation – but we can clearly do better. [...] It’s very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it."
Despite the reversal, the company is not taking an active stance against the bill either, which may have prompted many to carry on moving their business elsewhere. High profile customers threatening to move away from GoDaddy include Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales, and the CEO of the Cheezburger family of humor websites, Ben Huh. It's unclear if they carried on with their plans after GoDaddy's change of heart.
Go Daddy and its General Counsel, Christine Jones, have worked with federal lawmakers for months to help craft revisions to legislation first introduced some three years ago, and have said the company would support DNS blocking as a way to strike at foreign websites that infringe U.S. copyrights. As of Friday, Jones has removed posts at GoDaddy.com describing the company's support of provisions in SOPA.
You can read more about SOPA in an article by The Verge and another one by ArsTechnica. You can also find a few ways to take action against the bill at americancensorship.org. Lastly, if you have a registered domain at GoDaddy and want to join the boycott here's a step-by-step guide on transferring your domains away.
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