Yesterday, it was revealed GoDaddy actively supported SOPA – to the point of arrogance and dedain towards those opposing the US censorship law. As a result, a boycott was instated on reddit, which was picked up all over the web. Today, the company rescinded its support for SOPA – but for some high-profile clients, it’s too late. Behold, the power of the internet.
The problem with GoDaddy was that no only did they endorse or even support SOPA, they actually helped draft some parts of it. This drew heavy fire from all over the web, most notably over at reddit, which started calling for a boycott of the domain registrar. Facing that state, OSNews decided to move its domain (as well as the other 30 or so domains OSNews’ onwer David Adams owns) away from GoDaddy. We do not want to support a company that promotes US censorship of the web.
Several far more high profile sites and individuals decided to boycott GoDaddy. Only a few hours ago, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Jimmy Wales announced on Twitter that all Wikimedia’s domains will be moved away from GoDaddy. Cheezburger’s Ben Huh also pledged to move his 1000+ domains away from GoDaddy. Joining them were hundreds, maybe even thousands of people all over the web – from people with only a few domains to people who administer hundreds of them.
Some took it a step further. Paul Graham, YCombinator founder and investor, banned employees who work for a company on the official list of SOPA supporters from attending the YC Demo Day. “Several of those companies [on the list] send people to Demo Day, and when I saw the list I thought: we should stop inviting them. So yes, we’ll remove anyone from those companies from the Demo Day invite list,” he stated.
“If these companies are so clueless about technology that they think SOPA is a good idea, how could they be good investors?” he quipped.
Facing this internet-wide boycott, GoDaddy could do nothing but rescind its support for SOPA. “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 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.”
This, of course, is a big victory for the free and open internet. It proves that if you manage to hit a company where it hurts most – its wallet – you can most certainly wield influence. GoDaddy’s statement is still a little weasily, so I’m not particularly confident they won’t support the next minor revision of the act instead, but at least it’s something.
There’s still a whole lot of work today, but with Christmas right around the corner, this surely is a welcome early present. The list of official supports is still long, and we still have a number of companies supporting SOPA through a proxy (like Microsoft and Apple through the BSA), but this is a step in the right direction.
Hands off of anything that can bring forth this kind of awesomeness.