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Domain registrar follows Google out of China

Cynical PR or moral capitalism?

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Domain registrar GoDaddy is ending business in China after the country introduced new rules on registering internet domains.

The decision only emerged yesterday when the company gave evidence to a Congressional committee.

GoDaddy said it would continue to maintain existing .cn domains but would not take new registrations.

The stronger Chinese rules were introduced in December, ostensibly as part of a crackdown on internet smut. They banned individuals from registering web addresses unless they had certain kinds of business licence. People registering domain names for business purposes had to provide detailed identification and even photographs.

GoDaddy also said it had seen a rising number of denial of service attacks on sites it hosts and these were usually sites considered unsuitable by Beijing. The Washington Post has more.

A cynic might suggest that the costs of registering Chinese businesses could not be squeezed into GoDaddy's 'pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap' business model.

Google's Director of Public Policy, Alan Davidson, also gave evidence yesterday and said the company had seen some of its services blocked in 25 countries in recent years and YouTube had been blocked by over a dozen nations.

Davidson made it clear that the censorship row was not just about freedom. He said: "The debate ... is, of course, not only about human rights. At issue is the continued economic growth spurred on by a free and globally accessible internet."

Company founder Sergey Brin told the Wall Street Journal that the actions of the Chinese government brought back distressing memories of police surveillance in the Soviet Union - Brin's family emigrated in 1979 when he was six. ®

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