Go Daddy is the web’s top registrar, providing over 50 million customers with website domains around the world. For the first time we witnessed the full power of social media as a real-time, live forum to express discontent. We can draw several lessons from the events between October 26 (the introduction of SOPA to the US House of Representatives) and December 29th (the day of an online activist scheduled boycott of GoDaddy). SOPA is a bill that would permit the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Go Daddy customers were outraged by the company’s initial support of SOPA—and their anger went viral and multiplied across the web at time-warped speed.

First, a lone blogger started a protest thread on Reddit.com. Next, Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, announced that that “Wikipedia domain names will move away from GoDaddy.” Wale’s statement then inspired websites like GoDaddyBoycott.org. Currently, sites like GoDaddyBoycott.org now claim to have organized 22,000 Boycotters to move over 82,000 domain names from GoDaddy.com. Even more alarming is that GoDaddy’s rival domain name service sites like HostGator, Name.com, and Name Cheap offered protestors discounts to the tune of “NODADDY,” “BYEBYEGD,” and “NOSOPA” within minutes of the Reddit.com blogger’s post.

Eventually, Go Daddy representatives revoked their support for SOPA and declined questions from the media. Clearly, the power of social media to share information is greater than ever before—but it comes with a strong caveat: know thy customer. The majority of Go Daddy users are tech-savvy to the point that they have an advanced technological skill set, which means they can express negative commentary in a faster and more public way than ever before in history. What you can do is remember that emotion still plays a vital role when it comes to decision-making and technology. The principles of building great customer experiences apply just as much web-to-web as they do face-to-face.



Colin Shaw, Go Daddy SOPA PR Disaster

Colin Shaw is founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books. Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from offices in Atlanta, Georgia and London, England.

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