Here’s Why GoDaddy Backed Down on SOPA

Go DaddyGoDaddy has withdrawn its support of SOPA only a day after the domain registrar shrugged off a boycott attempt by its customers. Earlier, the company told Ars Technica:

Go Daddy has received some emails that appear to stem from the boycott prompt, but we have not seen any impact to our business. We understand there are many differing opinions on the SOPA regulations.

GoDaddy’s new statement, clearly titled “Go Daddy No Longer Supports SOPA,” says that while the company supports fighting online piracy, more can be done to get the bill right, and that it is worth the wait to do so.

And to make sure the company wouldn’t repeat its PR mistake, GoDaddy took a clever  stance: “Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it.”

Make no mistake, this is not a 180 degree turn from its previous position, which firmly supported the SOPA bill while dismissing most of the concerns surrounding it. The change in position didn’t came around until the boycott took off.

Damage Control

High-profile customers, including Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, and Ben Huh, the CEO of Cheezburger, along with many angry webmasters, had threatened to move their domain names elsewhere. Many of them have already done so.

It’s all too obvious. There’s only one reason a company would change its stance from firmly support to “no longer support” in less than 24 hours: Damage control. Following the change in stance, GoDaddy has worked hard to inform its customers of the news, letting out a massive stream of tweets and even resorted to calling customers who’ve left.

It’s also worth noting that GoDaddy had earlier said that it had no idea why everyone is so opposed to the bill. Part of its statement filed with the House of Representatives reads:

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.

So now it knows, again, only after the boycott. It sure is amusing. Here’s the complete statement:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Dec. 23, 2011) – Go Daddy is no longer supporting SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” currently working its way through U.S. Congress.

“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,” Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s newly appointed CEO, said. “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.”

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. Jones has fought to express the concerns of the entire Internet community and to improve the bill by proposing changes to key defined terms, limitations on DNS filtering to ensure the integrity of the Internet, more significant consequences for frivolous claims, and specific provisions to protect free speech.

“As a company that is all about innovation, with our own technology and in support of our customers, Go Daddy is rooted in the idea of First Amendment Rights and believes 100 percent that the Internet is a key engine for our new economy,” said Adelman.

In changing its position, Go Daddy remains steadfast in its promise to support security and stability of the Internet. In an effort to eliminate any confusion about its reversal on SOPA though, Jones has removed blog postings that had outlined areas of the bill Go Daddy did support.

“Go Daddy has always fought to preserve the intellectual property rights of third parties, and will continue to do so in the future,” Jones said.

Comments

  1. This is good news, I suppose. I’m not a fan of GoDaddy no matter what they do. I wonder what it would take for them to stop the nickle & dime approach to hosting feature upgrades. I have rescued many clients from the money-draining clutches of GoDaddy hosting…

  2. BY jalabi says:

    Read that statement again. They said “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.” Not only did GoDaddy help create the legislation in the first place, by saying that they are helping revise it, in other words, THEY STILL SUPPORT SOPA (and its equally-evil cousin PIPA). They have built in exemptions in the bill that would protect them while slamming their competitors. Go back and read the bill if you don’t believe me.

    Don’t be fooled. I have vowed never to support GoDaddy with my money ever again, and I tell all my friends and business associates to do the same. SOPA, PIPA and any attempts to censor the Internet are EVIL.

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