UPDATE: GoDaddy drops support of controversial legislation after critics threaten to boycott the Internet registry.
GoDaddy, a domain name registry, today abandoned its support of proposed legislation, known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The move came after Internet companies threatened to pull their business from GoDaddy, contending the measure would stifle innovation and create technological barriers for the Web.
"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," said GoDaddy CEO Warren Adelman in a prepared statement. "It's very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. GoDaddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it."
This week, GoDaddy customers threatened to take their business elsewhere.
Cheezburger Network CEO Ben Huh made waves yesterday when he tweeted that he would move the Internet registry business for his 1,000-plus websites away from GoDaddy.com if the company didn't halt its support for SOPA. And then he turned the heat up a notch when he summoned Google's spam czar Matt Cutts to get the search firm involved.
Below is the full Twitter exchange between the two digital execs:
@benhuh: We will move our 1,000 domains off @godaddy unless you drop support of SOPA. We love you guys, but #SOPA-is-cancer to the Free Web.
@mattcutts: @benhuh nice! Good to give them a chance to reconsider. But: mess with the werewolf, get the claws, eh?
@benhuh: @mattcutts indeed... now, ask Google to pressure GD. GD is Google's third-party registrar."
Their Twitter conversation made several rounds in the blogosphere on Thursday.
If SOPA were to become law, it would grant the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders the ability to seek court orders that accuse websites of enabling copyright infringement. Away from Washington, it has become a hot-button topic for web users who want a "free Internet" as well as marketers seeking regulation that could benefit their businesses.
Cheezburger's Huh isn't the only one taking a stand against GoDaddy. A "Boycott GoDaddy" website has been launched which encourages website owners to move their properties to an Internet registrar other than GoDaddy. Also on Thursday, a Reddit user who goes by the handle "selfprodigy" claimed said he would transfer 51 small business domains away from GoDaddy.
Other SOPA critics include Google, Facebook, Twitter, and eBay.
Neither Cheezburger nor GoDaddy responded to interview requests by ClickZ News on Friday. Cheezburger's sites and blogs include ICanHasCheezburger.com, IHasAHotDog.com, and TotallyLooksLike.com, among many others.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
Anna Maria Virzi, ClickZ's executive editor from 2007 until 2012, covered Internet business and technology since 1996. She was on the launch team for Ziff Davis Media's Baseline and also worked at Forbes.com, Web Week, Internet World, and the Connecticut Post.
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