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GoDaddy reverses stance on Stop Online Piracy Act

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Less than a day after GoDaddy shrugged off Reddit and the Cheezburger Network’s boycotts in protests of its support of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the Web-hosting service has had a complete change of heart—and an apparent change at the top.

Now, the service is in full damage-control mode, going so far as to remove any evidence of their previous pro-SOPA blog posts. On Twitter, the company is personally tweeting apologies at thousands of boycotters.

If you read its latest press release, they'd like you to think they've replaced controversial founder Bob Parsons, well-known for his elephant-killing hobby and outrageous press statements, as CEO.

“‘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.’”

Something smacks of a publicity stunt here, though, as Advertising Age editor Michael Learmonth speculated on Twitter. GoDaddy is well-known for its publicity-courting Super Bowl ads, which it deliberately makes too racy for television, and then brags about them getting “rejected.”

Adelman has been slated to take over as CEO for months. So why call it out in a press release to make it seem related to the shift in the company’s position on SOPA? And why not mention that Parsons remains with the company as executive chairman, a title he’s long held?

Yesterday, thousands of (former) GoDaddy customers announced their intentions to move their business after the service published a pro-SOPA essay on its blog. (That essay has since been removed.) But rather than address customers’ concerns, GoDaddy stood its ground.

This only made customers angrier. A Reddit thread about the cocky statement made it to the front page and prompted more boycott threats than the original pro-SOPA stance.

Now that GoDaddy’s on the right side of SOPA, will it win new business? Just like its busty, intentionally offensive TV ads, that may have been the goal all along.