It’s a boycott of viral proportions.
GoDaddy.com, one of the largest domain registrars on the Internet, stands to potentially lose thousands of customers on Thursday, Dec. 29, after the company gave and then repealed its support for a controversial bill before Congress that many fear could heavily restrict the web.
On the eve of what has been dubbed “Dump Go Daddy Day,” imgur.com -- pronounced "imager," it's one of the largest image hosting sites in the world, responsible for an astonishing 28 terabytes of bandwidth and nearly 200 million page views today alone -- has already changed its registry entries, foreshadowing the potential negative effect of a boycott set to begin Thursday morning.
GoDaddy.com originally supported the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) -- which opponents say will hinder free speech and infringe on first amendment rights -- but quickly recanted its position when the call of a boycott circulated.
“The outcry kind of forced our hand,” imgur founder and owner Alan Schaaf told FoxNews.com. “I’m against the SOPA act and imgur as a company is against it. We just feel it is terrible that GoDaddy.com would support this legislation.”
SOPA would make websites responsible for illegal copyright content uploaded by any user, making it difficult if not impossible for companies like Imgur, YouTube, and Facebook to operate.
“If SOPA were to pass, Imgur would not be able to exist,” Schaaf said, “We survive on user-generated content. It would be impossible for us to police the amount of traffic we get for what is or isn’t copyrighted material. It’s just not possible.”
The photo site is run by a skeleton crew of just three employees, yet the massive site is responsible for putting about 200 million cute cat pictures, skateboarding slip-ups and girls in bikinis on computer monitors every day -- and nearly 11 billion per month.
The call to dump Go Daddy started when one user of popular link-sharing site reddit.com was unhappy with the response he got from the company after writing a letter expressing how uneasy he felt about their support for the legislation.
“My heart was broken. I’ve used them for years,” the reddit poster who would only give his first name "Fred" told FoxNews.com. Fred claimed to have already transferred 51 domains to another registry. “I didn’t like the generic letter they sent back to me so I posted a call to boycott. I didn’t know it would catch on the way it did,” he said.
GoDaddy did not respond to repeated emails and phone calls from FoxNews.com.
Fred, who goes by the handle SelfProdigy, says since posting, he’s received hundreds of emails from people asking for help in transferring domains, which can normally be a tricky process.
“No one is against fighting piracy, but not at the hand of smashing innovation,” he said.
Hopefully the message has already gotten to Washington,” Schaaf said. “I hope people can come up with other ways to fight piracy.”