Go Daddy, a popular domain-purchasing and hosting site, has experienced a huge loss of customers this week. Multiple boycott campaigns, due to Go Daddy’s initial support of SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act resulted in the loss of over 25,000 domains today alone, and it appears that the exodus is far from over.
What is SOPA?
The Stop Online Piracy Act is intended to do exactly as the name implies: stop piracy and copyright infringement online. Unfortunately, the legislation allows enforcement without due process in many instances, and blocking third-party sites to prevent the sharing of pirated information may have unintended consequences for the entire Internet.
SOPA makes websites, search engines, and even Internet Service Providers liable for pirated content accessed or uploaded by users, which could severely cripple these entities. Copyright owners currently have the option to request the removal of copyrighted content by submitting a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) request, which allows the hosting entity or search engine to investigate the accused site and remove the offending piece of content if necessary. Under SOPA, the entire site would simply be blocked.
Internet Piracy vs. Loss of Customers
There was a huge wave of domain transfers prior to the latest Go Daddy statement distancing itself from SOPA, and a reddit campaign began a boycott based on Go Daddy’s SOPA support. Blogs such as Jeff Epstein’s Livin’ The Dream encourage users to transfer domains away from Go Daddy, as competitors offer promotional codes such as ‘NODADDY’ and ‘NOSOPA’ to draw in disgruntled customers. CNET reports approximately 21,000 transferred domains on the 23rd of December, and the latest numbers from Daily Changes indicate that although the site has taken over nearly 30,000 domains, over 22,000 domain name has been transferred out of DomainControl.com (controlled by Go Daddy) so far today.
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