The lesson here is that Internet mobs can sometimes get results.
Domain registrar GoDaddy, previously a supporter of the much-derided SOPA, or Stop Internet Piracy Act, suddenly pulled it support for the bill earlier today, after widespread Internet outcry and calls for a boycott.
In a conversation with Betabeat, brand-new GoDaddy CEO Warren Adelman credited “the sum of feedback from various sources,” including emails from customers, stories in the technology press, feedback from Internet leaders, and anti-SOPA blog posts, as being the impetus that forced them to take another look at the situation.
“In it’s current form, it’s not ready,” Mr. Adelman said of the bill. Mr. Adelman also cited his short term in the CEO role – he’s been there only a week! – for giving him the flexibility to take another look at the bill and GoDaddy’s corporate support for it.
But withdrawing its support for the bill doesn’t necessarily mean that GoDaddy will put its political muscle towards stopping it, at least right now. “We’re going to observe and see what others propose,” Mr. Adelman said, noting that GoDaddy was not precluding trying to actively prevent the bill’s passage in the future, but, at this time, they were content to let “others” take more of a leadership role around this bill.
So, what was the straw that broke the camel’s back? Mr. Adelman insisted that GoDaddy was responding to the outcry in the aggregate, and that there was not one particular person whose feedback was the tipping point. When asked whether support for a boycott from actor-slash-Internet investor Ashton Kutcher had affected the decision, company spokesperson Elizabeth Driscoll remarked “With all due respect to Ashton, we were well underway with creating the news release” by the time he expressed his opinion.
And how effective was that boycott, organized by a user on Reddit to convince people to move their domains from GoDaddy? While Adelman did not know the number of cancelled GoDaddy accounts off the top of his head, he did not that the company “didn’t see any statistical change” in the number of accounts.