On the verge of a potentially damaging boycott of GoDaddy, the company known for pushing the envelope of both culture and technology has officially withdrawn its support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The bill is currently sitting in Congress awaiting discussion and an eventual vote. GoDaddy has consistently voiced its support for the legislation claiming those who oppose it simply want to “steal music” and get a hold of cheap software. As late as mid-December (2011) company lawyers were defending GoDaddy’s position by verbally attacking opponents of the bill.
Yet according to new GoDaddy CEO Warren Aldeman, the decision to withdraw SOPA support is a matter of customer demand. Unhappy GoDaddy customers have been organizing boycotts and protests for the last several weeks and even promoted December 29, 2011 as a GoDaddy Boycott day during which customers would transfer their domains to other providers. So far some 37,000 domains have been lost by GoDaddy as a result of the protests.
For GoDaddy, such a small number of domains are a drop in the bucket compared to the 51 million they manage. But from a public relations standpoint, a successful boycott could prove a nightmare. Therefore, the company decided it was in its best interests to drop support for SOPA until customers decide they are on board with it.
“To be honest, this company built its whole business around a core value of customer before everything else,” Adelman said in a recent interview with Mashable.
The decision is the first major hurdle for the company’s new management since their acquisition of GoDaddy earlier in December. Aldeman has steadfastly insisted that GoDaddy’s culture would not change and the customer would be still the company’s number one priority.