Wikimedia shuns Go Daddy for SOPA support, finally transfers domains away


Wikimedia is officially with Go Daddy no more. On Friday, the company completed its transfer of all domains, including Wikipedia, away from the one-time SOPA supporter as an act of protest.

While the official transfer is recent, the decision traces all the way back to December, when technologists were in an uproar over SOPA and PIPA. Technology companies were pitted against one another, after choosing sides in the battle. Among the Web companies was Go Daddy, the Internet domain registrar, whose adamant decision to support SOPA resulted in a harsh backlash from customers.

Jimmy Wales Wikipedia blackout SOPA PIPA Tweet

The public called out for a “Dump Go Daddy” day to boycott the company. In the end, the company realized its mistake and issued a statement declaring its decision to oppose Go Daddy on behalf of its CEO, Warren Adelman. Despite its blunders, and change of heart, the decision came too late. Wikimedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, as promised, successfully pulled all of its domains from Go Daddy on March 9, 2012 and transferred its domain management to San Francisco-based registrar and brand management company, MarkMonitor.

“Go Daddy’s initial support of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the controversial anti-piracy legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, reaffirmed our decision to end the relationship,” Michelle Paulson, Wikimedia’s legal counsel, wrote in a blog post. “After exploring numerous alternatives, the Foundation’s legal team decided that MarkMonitor could best provide the comprehensive services that we needed.”

GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons poses with dead elephantGo Daddy, for a domain and hosting provider, has been known for its over-the-top PR stunts that have landed the company in hot water. For its 2011 Super Bowl commercial, Go Daddy digitally replaced Joan Rivers’ body with that of a younger model’s despite the insistence from Rivers that the altered body was her own. Just a month later in 2011, its former CEO’s elephant killing jaunt was videotaped and released, which had had animal activists clamoring to dump Go-Daddy-based domains.

When we reached out to Adelman for comment on Wikimedia’s domain transfer, he declined to comment in detail but instead remained positive and simply stated that, “Go Daddy was happy to be the registrar of choice for Wikimedia for many years. We wish them continued success and hope to rebuild our relationship with them in the future.”

While its PR tactics have been controversial, they also instill “Go Daddy” as a household name for future customers. Despite the customer losses, we would not be surprised to see another Go-Daddy-based fiasco from its guerilla PR stunts in the near future.