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GoDaddy Boycott December 29: SOPA Controversy Prompts Site Owners To Pull Domains

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The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/29/11 12:52 PM ET Updated: 12/29/11 05:33 PM ET

An online boycott is underway.

Customers angry over domain hosting site GoDaddy's support of the controversial online piracy bill SOPA ("Stop Online Piracy Act"), currently making its way through the House of Representatives, have pledged to transfer their domains to other hosting companies on December 29. The pledge, which can be found here, was started by Reddit user selfprodigy, when he vowed to remove his 51 domains from GoDaddy.

According to the BBC, many people are still planning to go forward with the boycott, even though GoDaddy renounced its support for SOPA on December 23. At the time, GoDaddy CEO Warren Adelman said in a statement, "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." GoDaddy has also said it does not support the Senate's version of the bill, known as the "Protect IP Act" (PIPA for short).

On December 29, Internet viral hit hotspot Buzz Feed announced on Twitter that it would cease to be a GoDaddy customer. "In response to their stance on #Sopa, BuzzFeed is dropping @GoDaddy. They will get no more of our money. #ByeDaddy," read a tweet from @BuzzFeed.

High-profile customers who have sided against GoDaddy include Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales and Cheezburger Network's Beh Huh, who said he would remove over 1000 domains in protest of GoDaddy's previous support of the bill.

During the first two days of the boycott, GoDaddy lost 37,000 domains as customers took a stand, according to The Domains, who pulled the figures from DNS changes and web hosting activity monitoring site Daily Changes. These numbers amount to a blip on GoDaddy's radar, as the company hosts 50 million domains around the world.

If passed, SOPA would allow copyright holders like movie studios and record companies to seek court orders to take websites offline if the sits were allowing the violation of piracy laws. Opponents of the bill, worry that its overly broad wording threatens legitimate businesses as well as free speech.

According to The Stanford Law Review Online, the main problem with SOPA is that it will "pose grave constitutional problems and that could have potentially disastrous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet's addressing system, for the principle of interconnectivity that has helped drive the Internet's extraordinary growth, and for free expression."

AllThingsD noticed on Wednesday that GoDaddy took out a full-page ad in The New York Times. The advertisement featured a seemingly nude Danica Patrick holding a carefully placed sign which offered discounts on GoDaddy domains. "Resorting to cheeky ads isn’t exactly going to reduce the outrage people feel against the company," wrote ATD.

UPDATE: TechCrunch has obtained a new statement from GoDaddy CEO Warren Adelman, saying that the company now officially opposes SOPA.

From the statement:

“We have observed a spike in domain name transfers, which are running above normal rates and which we attribute to Go Daddy’s prior support for SOPA, which was reversed,” said Go Daddy CEO Warren Adelman. “Go Daddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities. Our company regrets the loss of any of our customers, who remain our highest priority, and we hope to repair those relationships and win back their business over time.”

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