GoDaddy on SOPA boycott: What, us worry?

The domain-name registrar and Web-hosting company says it's not worried about a threat to take business away.


Kevin Morris


Published Dec 23, 2011   Updated Mar 3, 2020, 9:46 am CST

It’s a proxy war for the soul of the Internet, pitting thousands of Davids (and one Cheezburger) against GoDaddy’s Goliath.

After a full day enduring Reddit’s wrathful attention, Web-hosting company GoDaddy has a message to the site’s millions of users: We still support the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and your little boycott hasn’t done a thing.

That shrug-off response has only further enraged redditors.

GoDaddy is the rare Web business that supports SOPA, a bill that ostensibly fights online piracy. Many tech companies, including giants like Google, Yahoo, and eBay, say the legislation enables censorship and could cripple the Internet. Reddit’s cofounder and general manager have argued that if the bill passes, it will likely kill the social news site. Other companies operating social networks, including Twitter and Tumblr, have publicly denounced the bill.

GoDaddy has a long history of courting controversy. Its CEO, Bob Parsons, shoots elephants for fun, and its racy ad campaigns have riled up feminists. So it almost comes as little surprise that the company has a contrarian take on SOPA, which it calls “a welcome step in the right direction.”

Redditors launched a massive campaign to boycott the company yesterday when they learned of the hosting company’s position on the bill.

But GoDaddy seems largely unperturbed. The company responded last night with this statement to Ars Technica: “Go Daddy has received some emails that appear to stem from the boycott prompt, but we have not seen any impact to our business. We understand there are many differing opinions on the SOPA regulations.”

That response spawned a second anti-GoDaddy front page thread on Reddit, a site that sees 1.8 billion pageviews a month.

As redditor shiny92 observed, GoDaddy probably should have chosen a more carefully worded response:  “It’s like they’re saying: ‘Not enough people have quit our services, with this statement we want to point out that we don’t give a fuck and want to instigate more people to get the fuck out.’”

It’s not just redditors planning to boycott the company. It may lose soon lose an army of lolcats and other meme staples. Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh has threatened to move his domain registrations as well.

“We will move our 1,000 domains off @godaddy unless you drop support of SOPA,” Huh tweeted last night. “We love you guys, but #SOPA-is-cancer to the Free Web.”

Meanwhile, GoDaddy just might want to temper their bravado until Dec. 29. That’s the date redditors have actually set to transfer their domains. In that sense, it’s not really a surprise the company hasn’t yet felt the bite of a boycott.

“Logic isn’t their strong suit,” redditor tau-lepton observed.

If you’d like to transfer your domain from GoDaddy, tech entrepreneur Jeff Epstein has posted a handy step-by-step guide. And now is probably a great time to switch. GoDaddy’s competitors have sniffed blood. They’re offering big discounts on new accounts.

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*First Published: Dec 23, 2011, 12:40 pm CST