Customers abandon Go Daddy to protest SOPA support

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Customers abandon Go Daddy to protest SOPA support

Domain company reverses position.

Hundreds of customers including Wikipedia and Grooveshark have transferred domain hosting away from Go Daddy to protest the company’s initial support for the United States’ Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

The December 29 ‘NoDaddy’ campaign, organised by internet freedom activists on Reddit and supported by the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, among others, urged Go Daddy customers to shift their business away from the domain company after it was included in a list of corporate supporters for the legislation, currently being marked up for debate.

SOPA, if passed, would allow content owners to take direct action against internet sites accused of hosting copyright infringing material, by asking authorities to ban online advertising networks and search engines from trading with the offending site or service. Search engines, web hosts and other online publishers including Wikipedia have expressed strong opposition to the bill.

The EFF has used the #moveyourdomain campaign to bolster support for its advocacy, setting up deals with several alternate web hosts that agreed to pay a small donation to the foundation for every domain owner migrating from Go Daddy.

The campaign appeared to have been effective. Go Daddy announced in a grovelling blog post that it would reverse its position on SOPA on December 23. Its name has since been removed from the official list of SOPA supporters [pdf].

Go Daddy’s legal counsel removed all references to the company’s support for SOPA from prior blog postings, and chief executive Warren Adelman said the company will support anti-piracy bills “when and if the internet community supports it.”

Representatives from Go Daddy said their involvement was aimed improving the bill by proposing changes that would limit DNS filtering to “ensure the integrity of the internet”, and create “more significant consequences for frivolous claims and specific provisions to protect free speech.”

But with the 'No Daddy' campaign already at full steam, customers sought to punish the company for its original stance. Go Daddy distributed three press releases insisting it no longer supported the bill, but its pleas fell on deaf ears.

Music streaming site Grooveshark, image hosting company imgur and online dictionary Wikipedia were among the high profile sites to join the campaign.

“I am proud to announce that the Wikipedia domain names will move away from GoDaddy,” Wikipedia announce Jimmy Wales announced on Christmas Eve, two days after the domain company reversed its stance. “Their position on SOPA is unacceptable to us.”

While no official data on the boycott is available, a cursory glance at the tweet feed for #moveyourdomain suggests Go Daddy has suffered for its position on IP protection. Over 600 customers said they would migrate according to the ‘NoDaddy’ pledge site.

What do you think? Would you switch services to protest SOPA? Was the EFF campaign ethical? Should customers continue to punish Go Daddy after it changed its position? Comment below.

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