GoDaddy faces boycott over SOPA anti-piracy law support

Wikipedia logo Wikipedia is one of several high profile sites threatening action over GoDaddy's policy

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A boycott of US hosting firm GoDaddy looks set to go ahead even though the firm has said it no longer supports the policy that sparked it.

Customers were angry with GoDaddy over its backing of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

29 December has emerged as the day on which customers would transfer sites and domains away from GoDaddy.

The proposed boycott forced a U-turn from GoDaddy, but many remain committed to transferring.

Neutral stance

SOPA, which has yet to be voted on by the US Congress, lets movie studios and record labels seek court orders to knock sites offline if they think they practice piracy or aid it.

Critics fear the broad wording of the act will lead to widespread shutdowns and change the web irrevocably. Tech firms including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay and many others have voiced their opposition to SOPA.

GoDaddy was one of the few tech firms to back SOPA but it took its name off the public list of supporters following pressure by big web names and many angry customers.

Wikipedia said it would move its domains away from GoDaddy, as did the Cheezburger Network, owner of Lolcats, and image hosting firm Imgur.

In a statement explaining its change of heart, GoDaddy boss Warren Adelman said: "Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why GoDaddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation - but we can clearly do better."

In an interview with tech news site Gizmodo, Mr Adelman took a neutral stance on SOPA but said the company might support it if there were a consensus among net firms on its wording.

Boycott pledge

Despite this change, many were expected to go through with their decision to transfer their domains and websites away from GoDaddy. On discussion forums and comments section on blogs, many said they would still transfer away from GoDaddy.

GoDaddy provides servers on which many people upload their websites and it also act as a registrar for internet domains - the familiar web addresses ending in .com, .org etc.

The idea for the boycott originated on the Reddit chat board and several sites have collected pledges from domain owners to stop using GoDaddy. Hundreds of people have pledged to take action on 29 December.

It is not clear how much impact these the pledges will have on GoDaddy, which claims to be the world's biggest domain name registrar and oversees more than 50 million domains.

Analysis of the number of web domains transferred in and out of GoDaddy's servers suggest many people have taken action despite the change of heart.

In one two-day period, more than 37,000 domains were moved to other hosting and registration firms. However, on some days more domains and sites transferred to GoDaddy than left it.

In a bid to stem the exodus, GoDaddy has taken out large adverts in the US press offering special deals on domain registration.

GoDaddy's competitors have cashed in on the controversy, with many offering discounts if customers transfer to them from the hosting firm.

GoDaddy has courted controversy earlier in 2011 because its founder and former boss, Bob Parsons, shot and killed an elephant during a hunt in Zimbabwe and posted a video of this online.

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