Wikipedia ditches GoDaddy over SOPA

March 10, 2012

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) may be dead, but the fallout from it continues. GoDaddy has lost a rather important client as a result of its support for the bill.

Last year ended on a sour note for GoDaddy. The Internet was up in arms over a bill passing through the U.S. Senate that would have handed unimaginable powers to the government and copyright holders. Any website that even hinted at facilitating copyright infringement could have been taken offline with no prior warning.

Internet and tech companies galore raised opposition to the bill, and eventually it was beaten. Wikipedia was one of the most-vehement opponents, blacking out the whole site for 24 hours as an example of what we should expect if the bill made it through. GoDaddy, on the other hand, actually supported SOPA. That is until a boycott began, and the company lost 21,000 domains to competitors in just one day. All of a sudden GoDaddy changed its mind, although only in relation to SOPA in its present form and not the idea of behind it in principle.

This wasn’t enough of a backtrack to keep the Wikimedia Foundation, responsible for Wikipedia, sweet, and it began the process of looking for a new domain registrar. That process is now complete, with all Wikipedia sites on MarkMonitor instead. Legal Counsel Michelle Paulson explained in a blog post:

We had been deliberating a move from GoDaddy for some time — our legal department felt the company was not the best fit for our domain needs — and we began actively seeking other domain management providers in December 2011. GoDaddy’s initial support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the controversial anti-piracy legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, reaffirmed our decision to end the relationship.

You may be wondering why this is news. It is news because Wikipedia is the fifth most-visited website in the world, quite simply. If GoDaddy cannot hold onto such an important client then I wonder how many others it will also lose. Certainly if the company sides with media companies rather than the wider Web in the future.

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