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Boycott forces Go Daddy U-turn on anti-piracy law backing

Ditches SOPA support as punters transfer domains in protest

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Hosting provider and registrar Go Daddy has done an abrupt about-face on its support for the controversial US Stop Online Piracy Act following calls for a boycott of its services.

"Go Daddy is no longer supporting SOPA," the company said in a statement late Friday.

As we reported last week, Go Daddy customers were being encouraged to transfer their domain names away from the company as a result of its strong support for the proposed SOPA bill. SOPA is particularly relevant to the domain name industry as it calls for American ISPs to block domains of sites determined to be facilitating piracy.

However Go Daddy, via outspoken general counsel Christine Jones, was the only domain registrar to strongly publicly back the proposed legislation. When the boycott gathered steam on Reddit last week, several competitors came out against SOPA and offered Go Daddy customers discounts to transfer their domains.

On Friday, it came down to newly installed CEO Warren Adelman, who took over from founder Bob Parsons a couple of weeks ago following the finalisation of a reported $2bn private investment deal, to attempt some damage control.

"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," 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."

Reflecting its policy U-turn, the company has removed Jones' blog postings, which outlined the reasons for supporting SOPA and dismissed criticism of the bill as "regurgitated lobbying spin" and "retweets by people who like to steal music".

So far, it appears that while the boycott movement may have caused public relations damage, it has had a negligible affect on Go Daddy's bottom line. Since the campaign began 21 December, the number of domains being transferred out of the company on a daily basis has remained consistent with pre-boycott volumes, according to online records. ®

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