Money talks: GoDaddy begins to back away from SOPA after boycott
By End the Lie
After a massive boycott which began Thursday through the social news aggregation website reddit, the domain name registrar GoDaddy has backed down from their open support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Their official press release said that while GoDaddy obviously believes combating online piracy is a major issue, they believe “we can clearly do better,” according to Warren Adelman, GoDaddy’s new CEO.
“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,” the statement said.
The case of GoDaddy is quite interesting because they made a 180 degree turn in an astonishingly brief time period.
On Thursday night, GoDaddy emailed a statement to Ars Technica stating, “Go Daddy has received some emails that appear to stem from the boycott prompt, but we have not seen any impact to our business [sic].”
Clearly their brazen attempts at stifling the internet community’s resolve and thus the boycott did not pan out as they had hoped, as their press release today has proven.
While they won’t explicitly admit it at this point, there was a great deal of high-profile support for the boycott including Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales who said via Twitter, “I am proud to announce that the Wikipedia domain names will move away from Godaddy. Their position on #sopa is unacceptable to us.”
GoDaddy has also said that they are going as far as to remove their past posting which expressed support for SOPA from their website, although Gizmodo revealed that everything is not quite what it seems.
Unfortunately, it appears that declaring victory in this small battle is a bit premature at this stage.
Gizmodo’s Sam Biddle reportedly spoke with GoDaddy’s CEO Warren Adelman, who has only been in the position for a week, about SOPA and their stance on it.
Biddle writes that in fact Adelman isn’t against SOPA, but instead he just believes that SOPA is not “ready in its current form.”
However, Adelman refused to elaborate to Biddle on what exact aspects of the bill he, and thus GoDaddy, took issue with.
Biddle points out that this is quite strange given that Adelman himself admits that GoDaddy helped write the legislation, something that has become far too common in today’s world, in my opinion.
“At a certain point we became involved where we provided commentary and provisions on this legislation that addressed areas that people had concern around,” Adelman said, but when Biddle pressed for Adelman to elucidate which areas GoDaddy helped with, Adelman wouldn’t comment.
Adelman perfectly exemplified my distaste for the corporate role in the democratic process in stating that he believes GoDaddy’s influence is “part and parcel of democracy.”
Biddle closed his Gizmodo article with an incredible line that perfectly sums up the feelings of myself and many others, “Shady domain registration services helping draft legislation that regulates their businesses—The American Way.”
Unfortunately, corporate control over what should be representative government has indeed become the American way.
Instead of joining the ranks of the many internet pioneers who are outright anti-SOPA like Google, Facebook, AOL, etc. they instead appear to be stepping “out of the ring entirely” according to Biddle.
GoDaddy stated that they would be willing to revert to their original position and support SOPA if there was what they called a “consensus” amongst “internet leadership,” while refusing to explain what such a consensus would even look like.
Biddle rightly points out that since giants like Google do not look like they’re going to change their position in the immediate future, it is impossible to imagine “internet leadership” coming to a consensus any time soon.
Interestingly, Biddle wrote, “Adelman refused to go on the record to say GoDaddy is against SOPA,” which makes me think their move might have been purely ceremonial in an attempt to stave off a major boycott.
Given that fact, I think it would be best if those planning on engaging in the boycott do not preemptively plan to stop their actions unless GoDaddy will explicitly state that they are indeed against SOPA.
Biddle reflects this in writing, “it’s safe to say GoDaddy is going to keep its foot in its mouth in a state of PR neutrality and watch the rest of the battle play out, scared into the corner by the threat of lost business and a horrendous reputation.”
The take-away point here is that business can, in fact, be swayed by large-scale, coordinated boycotts and I find it quite reassuring that GoDaddy would back away from supporting SOPA, even if they won’t go as far as to outright oppose it.
It’s also important to note that GoDaddy has openly admitted they took a role in manipulating legislation – something which is far too often denied by corporations and their lobbies – which I think is nothing short of disgusting.
If we continue to boycott GoDaddy and expand the boycotts to even more corporations that are supporting SOPA, I believe that we might in fact be able to put significant economic pressure which could very possibly force them to back down from the draconian internet freedom-crushing bill.
For more information on SOPA, read my previous coverage: