Jan 052012

Go Daddy is one of the largest, if not the largest, domain registrar. So it is that much unfortunate that they also support SOPA. The “carpet bombing” attack on piracy dubbed SOPA will most certainly wipe-out many legitimate businesses and gratis sites, not least freedom of speech and news organizations, including human, animal and consumer rights organizations that are sure to step on the toes of some giant corporations in due process. This is sure to put open-source software at risk as well. The broad brush that SOPA is will not hinder any party from unfairly claiming copyright infringement, promptly shutting down a competitor or whistle blower at an opportune time to protect their interests, leaving the receiving party scrambling in the legal-equivalent to quick sand.

I’m joining tens of thousands in boycotting Go Daddy and moving this domain to another, more freedom-loving, technology and internet friendly and, ultimately, sane registrar, at least as far as the future of the internet is concerned. I’ve already started transferring my domain to Namecheap.com (affiliate link).

If they don’t see that SOPA will slowly, but surely, stagnate the internet, then may be the boycott will make them. If the numbers are to be believed upwards of 35,000 domains have already transferred. At a nominal $7 annual fee, that’s already a significant chunk of cash lost annually. I expect many have dozens of domains and use some of the more advanced features such as SSL certificates, which is more revenue lost by the transfers. This move could easily cost companies supporting SOPA millions of dollars in potentially long-term, recurring money.

This isn’t an emotional reaction in the name of freedom and human rights, not just. Go Daddy is known to engage in dubious activities and it might be said that they had it coming. One of the more annoying of said activities is giving customers the impression that their domain is about to expire if not immediately renewed. The spam mails start hitting the mailbox 90 days before the expiry. While the warning is fair and welcome, 90 days isn’t exactly imminent in any sense. Of course once renewed, the remaining weeks or months to the actual deadline are lost, thereby shortening the effective period for which one pays. This kind of tactics don’t make the already high prices any more appealing. To add insult to injury, they have an almost weekly promotional spam that dilutes the expiry warning’s effectiveness. I for one learnt to ignore their mail, while having a mental note of when to renew my domain.

According to ZDNet, Go Daddy has reversed its support of SOPA. But as the ZDNet reporter put it “we now know that what really mattered in Go Daddy’s shift in policy wasn’t the legal or ethical issues; it was the old bottom line.”

Well, Go Daddy no more; welcome Namecheap!

(This site might go dark for a few hours during the transfer process which I hope to complete sometime before the 10th of January. I’m working hard to minimize the outage. Apologies for any unavailability or inconvenience.)

Update: Just found out that Bob Parsons, the CEO of Go Daddy group, happens to enjoy elephant hunting! He released a video showing and justifying the barbaric act of shooting and killing a defenseless animal.

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