Beginning sometime on Thursday, December 29th, KoHoSo.us will be joining the tens of thousands of people that already have been and will be leaving GoDaddy as their domain registrar and Web host. Unfortunately, this will probably lead to some significant downtime for this website and my personal e-mail, possibly through January 2nd. I apologize for the inconvenience but my conscience simply will not allow me to remain as a GoDaddy customer due to their participation in writing the absolutely terrible proposed legislation known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) including an immunity clause for the company.
Yes, I am well aware that GoDaddy has issued a public statement rebuking their support of SOPA. However, they have yet to truly put their muscle behind it and, frankly, it smells just like everything else that has infected the bad side of corporate America over the past 30 years or so.
In many ways, I hate to leave GoDaddy. I have been customer of theirs before KoHoSo.us was born in July 2005 and even prior to their first infamous Super Bowl commercial. For me, the service has been exemplary in every way. This includes an “above and beyond the call of duty” situation where a GoDaddy customer service representative tracked down a problem with the ISP that was serving the business where I was working.
On the other hand, it has also been embarrassing to be a GoDaddy customer. Their marketing was cheesy even before the introduction of the GoDaddy Girl. While the first couple of commercials featuring Candice Michelle were funny (especially and ironically in hindsight, the one where she was testifying in front of a Congressional committee), the continued use of titillation to promote the company made it easy for almost anybody to accuse owner Bob Parsons of being a misogynist. GoDaddy has also not been a very good Netizen in how it allows people to buy up squatter domains or to set up websites claiming to be fair web domain and hosting review sites when all they are is a front for people to get a referral credit by sending people to GoDaddy. Then, earlier this year, the GoDaddy man himself, Bob Parsons, gleefully shot an elephant for the whole world to see on YouTube.
Still, I stuck with them because of how well they have served me on KoHoSo.us plus on various business websites and even multiple ones for the online sim racing league in which I used to participate. However, their participation in the creation of the SOPA legislation — all done while making sure they were immune from its unconstitutional and destructive provisions, then followed by their weak repudiation once the Internet began picking up its torches and pitchforks — is the last straw.
I know that some of my readers will find my decision to go through the big hassle of moving my services elsewhere to be ridiculous especially when I have truly been a satisfied GoDaddy customer. After all, what’s the big deal when we know that almost all big companies of any type do things that we don’t like?
The big deal is that SOPA bypasses due process. That’s not some obscure legal point; it’s a cornerstone of the Constitution of the United States of America, a document that I take seriously no matter how much our last few Presidents and Congresses have used it as their personal butt-wipe.
Another big deal is that SOPA’s provisions will make the World Wide Web less secure by breaking down the current system that is used to “resolve” Web addresses. For those that are not hip to such things, basically, it’s what gets you to Google when you type in google.com.
Other big deals? Giving up more general freedom as the government and Hollywood will become Internet police watching everything we download…pushing away more personal liberties just so police do not have to do a thorough investigation to make sure a suspect is actually engaging in criminal activity…more legitimate websites pulled from the Internet for a year or longer just on the say-so of a big media conglomerate…more non-computer-savvy grandmothers being fined thousands of dollars because they have no clue as to how they can secure their wireless router…the end of Internet innovation and investment as no small start-up will be able to afford the attorneys’ fees to make sure everything is legal plus fight off the frivolous claims of Hollywood….the list of bad things in this bill for everybody except big media conglomerates that want to turn the World Wide Web into a system just like cable television — with exorbitant rates to match — goes on and on.
Here’s two scenarios that could happen under SOPA.
1. A family takes a vacation to Disneyland. They, of course, take photos which they later post of Flickr. Disney decides they want everybody to come to their photo-sharing service so they call up the government and say that this user is posting their copyrighted material and that Flickr is supporting them in this action. The government then sends out a signal over the Internet that not only takes down the family’s photos but also prevents everybody in the USA from accessing Flickr…oh, and its parent company, a little thing called Yahoo.
2. A husband and wife set up their own business and, of course in this day and age, put up a website. They start to become successful. An already established and larger competitor sees this new business eating into their market share. The older company calls the government and claims that the new company has posted material that they do not own. The government sends out a signal over the Internet to block the new business’ website. The new business is then forced to carry on without a Web presence plus spend at least a year if not longer going through all of the legal hoops to get back online.
If anybody thinks that is far-fetched, I can tell you that it is already happening under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). SOPA only makes it worse and, again I stress, makes it all happen without any need to go before any serious judicial review or have any sort of independent investigation. One is considered guilty before being proven innocent, another absolute rape of a cornerstone of our Constitution and, to put it mildly, kind of a big reason why we fought the British for independence.
Worst of all, SOPA will not stop the vast majority of serious software or media piracy (since most of it happens outside of the country) and will use the same methods to block material as are used in wonderful democracies as Red China, Iran, Syria, and other such lovely vacation spots (and don’t think for a minute that the government won’t eventually expand the “War on Piracy” to also block anything it finds embarrassing or inconvenient). Other than laws from over two centuries ago regarding slavery, this is pretty much the worst bill ever brought before Congress that actually has a chance of passing thanks to the unlimited amount of money that Hollywood can spend on election campaigns.
Yes, for me to leave GoDaddy when they have been so good to me is a big gamble. I have dealt with bad providers before and it is indeed a nightmare. My next provider might even be more expensive in the long run.
There just comes a time when one has to stand up and do what is right regardless of the cost. To me, it is very similar to Wal-Mart. Yes, I could shop there and bask in its convenient locations, hours, and prices. However, I know what the true cost of Wal-Mart really is in higher taxes (because they pay such low wages and provide little healthcare) and loss of American jobs (because I defy anybody to find anything in Wal-Mart other than food that is made in the USA).
GoDaddy is now the same thing. They will say whatever they have to to keep fooling enough people to think they are acting in their best interests and only want to fight online piracy. They will use every distraction — including boobs — to make people feel they are just reg’lar folks. All the while, they are working behind the scenes to take our privacy, choice, and freedom.
Whether it is a losing battle or not, I will not stand for it. Even if SOPA or something equally evil eventually becomes law, I will be proud and thankful that I along with tens of thousands of others, both liberal freedom-lovers and conservative patriots, stood up in a truly bipartisan effort to try and stop Hollywood from being able to police the Internet and, most of all, to do so in such a blatant slap at our beloved Constitution.
If there was ever a time to do so, do it now and stick it to The Man…because The Man doesn’t like you to be able to compete against him, have other choices, or even just to have a little fun. Sorry, GoDaddy, but you are now The Man. Goodbye.
As for my readers, KoHoSo.us will be back in a few days. Until then, I wish you a safe an peaceful New Year’s Weekend.