GoDaddy Boycott Fizzles; Twice As Many Domains Transfer In As Out

from the not-sustainable dept

Yesterday, we noted that it appeared that the “GoDaddy boycott” concept may have been losing steam, thanks to the company’s decision to move away from supporting the bill… combined with a new aggressive advertising campaign. Finally, on Thursday morning, the company went a step further: saying it hadn’t just stopped supporting SOPA but now directly opposed SOPA. Even though the company notes that it saw “a spike in domain name transfers,” it looks like the actual “boycott” day fizzled out. Looking at the results from DailyChanges shows that GoDaddy actually had a strongly positive day, netting 20,748 more domains at the end of the day than the beginning. On transfers alone, there were nearly double the number of transfers in as out (27,843 in to 14,492 out) as well as more new registrations than deleted domains (43,304 new registrations compared to 35,907 deletions).

This isn’t that surprising, really. There was a big burst last week, which is what resulted in GoDaddy changing its stance on the bills. In other words, it seemed like most people jumped to make the move immediately, rather than waiting a week. On top of that, GoDaddy’s change in position very likely did ease the concerns of many. And, many made the quite reasonable argument that continuing the boycott after GoDaddy officially changed positions would be counterproductive, since it would discourage other companies from changing their position as well. Of course, a counter argument would be that the goal of the boycott was less about convincing others on the list to change positions as it was to make sure that no other companies decided to support SOPA or any similar future regulations.

Either way, it appears that for those who were hoping for a big boycott on Thursday, that didn’t happen. I’m sure some SOPA supporters will use this as fodder to suggest the whole effort was a failure, but that’s ridiculous. The whole thing still got a large company that was a huge supporter of these terrible bills to switch its position and recognize that it can’t run roughshod over the wishes of its customers. It also helped draw more attention to the overall issue, and helped in getting other companies to back away from supporting the bill. It also got some attention among elected officials about how supporting this bill could get the internet activated. It may not be enough to kill the bills yet, but more politicians are aware of the issues. All in all, getting GoDaddy to change its position was a huge victory against SOPA and PIPA, but remains just one battle in a long and still ongoing war.

Update: There are a bunch of comments insisting that this can’t be true, and I’m happy to see more data. NameCheap claims that it had 32,000 domains transfer in, and it’s true that Daily Changes isn’t a perfect proxy for domain transfers — but it’s a pretty good one. Some are suggesting that delays in processing will show more transfers over the next few days. We’ll be watching. It’s possible that there were a lot more transfers, but just because people want it to happen, doesn’t mean it actually happened. Update 2: NameCheap says in the last week they’ve received around 80,000 transfers.

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Comments on “GoDaddy Boycott Fizzles; Twice As Many Domains Transfer In As Out”

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117 Comments
TechnoMage (profile) says:

Marketing or deep discounts??

Part of me feels that it is odd that a bunch of domains moved to GoDaddy because of marketing in a such a short burst like that. Sure marketing for a domain service is worth-while in the long run… but most people don’t register domains that often. So….

I’d be curious if all of the new domains are:
1) Legit
2) at full normal price
2.5) not given some really silly 99% off discount
2.6) aren’t owned by GoDaddy shell companies for the purpose of hiding that they lost domains (because I probably would have done this if it is legal (IANAL, is it?)
3) how many of these domains were owned by compaies/persons paid to go through GoDaddy?

I don’t expect to get any of those answers, but if I cared enough, or was responsible for this line of thought… those would be the questions I’d be looking into.

Spointman (profile) says:

Re: Marketing or deep discounts??

That’s a good point. In addition to that, I’d wonder how many of those new registrations will still be registered after the five-day grace period to void a registration. I’d also like to see how this tracks with GoDaddy’s previous history (for the two weeks before the boycott day). If there’s an unreasonable spike on Dec. 29 for new domains or ones transferred in, that means someone is playing with the numbers.

walterbyrd (profile) says:

Re: Marketing or deep discounts??

I also find it curious that Godaddy would change their stance on SOPA, if their pro-SOPA stance was bringing in more business for Godaddy.

Godaddy was clearly strongly pro-SOPA. I think Godaddy even wrote parts of SOPA. But after the boycott, Godaddy changed their stance, even though – according to Godaddy – the boycott was less than ineffective.

Aerilus says:

Re: Re: Marketing or deep discounts??

part of their response seemed to address industry pressure maybe they realize they live in an ecosystem where they need to play nice with their neighbors. long-term it makes sense you are going to have a hardtime finding worthwhile employees when you have no industry cred. but their ceo did shoot an elephant for damaging crops which in-turn caused a stampede of people over said crops to eat the elephant so logic might not be go daddy’s strong suit.

Spointman says:

Meanwhile, over at NameCheap, they’ve gotten over 30K domains transferred in to them from GoDaddy, resulting in a contribution of over $60k ($2 per domain) to the EFF.

https://www.namecheap.com/moveyourdomainday.aspx

There were about 10K domains transferred before yesterday, which means about 20K were transferred on the day of the boycott itself. Since NameCheap can’t be the only registrar people were transferring their domains to, I have to assume that more went elsewhere. That doesn’t jive with GoDaddy’s figures of 15K transferred out. Someone is fudging somewhere.

SD says:

DNS changes ≠ Registrar changes

Watching nameserver changes isn’t an accurate measurement of registrar changes. ICANN and GoDaddy have the real stats.

Transfers In or Out:
If someone has an active GoDaddy account and moved their domain names between domaincontrol.com and another hosting provider’s it will count as a +1 or -1 in either column without a registrar change even happening.

Transfers In:
If a domain name is expiring but not yet deleted GoDaddy automatically changes domain names to use domaincontrol.com to show their park page and a message for the owner to renew. That’s an easy +1 in the column for every domain name bought a year previously that people decided not to renew or forgot to pay on time.

Transfers Out:
If someone wasn’t using domaincontrol.com for their nameservers servers(but another hosting provider’s) and transferred their domain name to another registrar it wouldn’t count toward Transfers Out.

Greg says:

Re: DNS changes ≠ Registrar changes

These numbers don’t say what you think they say.

I transferred 8 domains total out over Wednesday and Thursday to PairNIC, 4 personal, 4 for the company where I work. The personal ones I went back to GoDaddy and pushed through immediate transfer. The work ones I haven’t done that yet. But. None of the work ones were using domaincontrol.com as DNS anyway, so they wouldn’t be counted even if I had done that. My 4 personal domains were using the GoDaddy servers, but I only needed active stuff happening on 2 of them, so the other 2 still show domaincontrol.com because PairNIC doesn’t automatically change the parking.

So 6 out of my 8 wouldn’t register a change yet by your method, and those two would have registered a change on Wednesday night.

Bogus conclusion in your headline and article.

me says:

?

http://www.dailychanges.com/domaincontrol.com/2010-12-29/
http://www.dailychanges.com/domaincontrol.com/2011-12-29/
[2010-12-29(New Domains + Transferred In) – 2010-12-29(Deleted Domains + Transferred Out)]/[2011-12-29(New Domains + Transferred In) – 2011-12-29(Deleted Domains + Transferred Out)] = [2010-12-29(13488)]/[2011-12-29(4632)] > 2,9
… More than 2,9 TIMES less as compared to the same date 29 December last 2010! This means almost 3000% decline.

Dave says:

I deleted a domain from GoDaddy since I didn’t need it anymore and it was the last domain I had with them. Since it’s not due to expire, GoDaddy automatically parks it using domaincontrol.com nameservers. According to your stats this would count as a “transfer in” when really it was the opposite.

I probably should have just done nothing with it and let it expire, but too late now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Do mathematics really matter?

This was a major black-eye for GoDaddy. This entire effort raised awareness significantly. Hell, SOPA even FINALLY hit the more mainstream news channels because of this effort…

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/12/28/on-eve-net-boycott-dump-godaddy-exodus-begins/?intcmp=trending

All in all I’d say this was a PR battle well won. The bigger war still lies ahead, but the more toxic these bills become, the better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Do mathematics really matter?

I’d say this was a PR battle well won. The bigger war still lies ahead…

If if the bills are defeated this Congressional session, they’ll just be re-introduced in the next session, and the year after that, and the year after that. Until they do pass.

Public attention doesn’t stay focused for that long. Which is why copyright ratchets towards extreme. From 14 years in 1790 to the curent Mickey Mouse Forever. Always in one direction.

There are two realistic potential end-games:

????? ? The bills are put off to the next session, and then intervening elections knock out enough of the sponsors. That might put the bills off for a political generation.

Or:

????? ? The bill, some form of it, eventually passes. If not this session, then next session. Or the session after that. The United States embraces censorship. The backlash begins for real…. This is not really an end-game, but the end of the beginning.

gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Re: Do mathematics really matter?

I am in agreement.I further this by saying I will fight for my freedom and I have no intention of seeing the door of censorship opened in my Country of Freedom.No US Citizen should allow a Company or the Government to Censor the Internet.
If they have a problem with someone downlo0ading (theiving) then go after the person not the whole Country.

I am now on a real boycott of all things MPAA & RIAA !
No new movies for me and all my purchases will only be physical used things.

codeslave (profile) says:

Registrar transfers are not instantaneous

As anyone who’s tried to move away from GoDaddy can tell, transferring to another registrar is not a instantaneous process. GoDaddy could be sitting on thousands of transfers out for the maximum number of days allowed while processing all transfers in as soon as received. Other registrars also accused them of providing incomplete records in transfer, causing further delays. I helped a friend move from them months ago and it look weeks, because confirmation emails with the necessary auth codes required by GoDaddy were never sent (it was to my mail server, so I could see the logs that no attempts to send were ever made).

Jeremy V says:

False Premise

I initiated my transfers yesterday along with everyone else. They have not yet gone through. You’re going to need to watch DailyChanges for the next few days to see the real numbers.

According to NameCheap’s Move Your Domain Day counter, they’ve had almost 31,000 domains start the transfer INTO their service, but yet the DailyChanges only shows a modest ~3,000 transfers in.

So, don’t call this one in one way or another yet. We have to see what the tide brings as the data slowly moves.

Clair (profile) says:

Re: False Premise

I have transferred 10 domains away from GoDaddy within the past 2 days. All of which were completed within a few hours.

I think it depends on both registrars, issues with whois information (“private registration” vs not), etc. A friend of mine initiated a transfer from GoDaddy and five days later he learned that the transfer had been canceled. Neither registrar notified him of it. It was canceled because he had a “private registration” (the exact problem this caused, I don’t remember).

I know there is also the “waiting game” when you’re notified of a transfer. There’s an option that you can actively accept the transfer, passively accept, or actively deny. I actively accepted the transfers. The timeout for the passive accept is several days.

Rich Kulawiec (profile) says:

Re: Dig Into Detail

That’s a good point. GoDaddy supports vast numbers of abusers — spammers, phishers, typosquatters, link farmers, etc. These people have anywhere from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of domains; thus, a shift by any one of them could swamp the statistics for all non-abusers combined.

The problem is that there’s no good way to measure this without having an exhaustive list of all GoDaddy (and subsidiary) registered-domains, and then classifying that list — which is a very difficult problem in and of itself.

But I’ll argue that the movement (toward or away from GoDaddy) of non-abusive domains means far more than what abusers do…even if we can’t readily quantify it.

Jeffrey Nonken (profile) says:

Re: Only for midnight to 1am on the 30th anyway

Nice parting shot. What were you trying to accomplish? Did you know it just makes you look petty and vindictive? Not to mention childish.

TD is an opinion blog, not a newspaper, and Mike puts a human face on it. One of the results is… sometimes Mike makes mistakes. And sometimes we, his readers, call him on it. Makes for some lively discussions.

So go back to your sanitized NY Times or whatever, where nobody ever makes a mistake.

Anonymous Coward says:

The counters do not seem to match

“On transfers alone, there were nearly double the number of transfers in as out (27,843 in to 14,492 out)”

14,492 out… Funny, I recall looking at NameCheap’s counter late yesterday, and it was around 20,000 transfers, just to NameCheap.

In fact, I just looked at it again. Given that they doubled the donation to the EFF (which they said they would do once it hit 25,000 transfers), you now have to divide the counter by two. Even then, the counter shows at least 30,000 transfers, just to NameCheap (that is, not counting transfers to other registrars).

These DailyChanges numbers look quite bogus to me.

Bill Curnow (profile) says:

Transfers take time

It can take up to seven days to transfer a domain name from Registrar A to Registrar B, so we really won’t know how successful…or not…yesterday’s protest was until late next week. Another complicating factor, Go Daddy locks all domain names by default to prevent them from being transferred. It’s a simple enough matter to unlock the domain name, but most customers aren’t sophisticated enough to realize this the first time they try to transfer a domain name away.

Violated (profile) says:

GoDaddy

Is it true what I heard that GoDaddy has made it harder to transfer domains away on the 29th due to wanting your signature on a transfer agreement?

I did my domain transfers early to get it in before the Xmas holiday and to be one of the people who helped GoDaddy to change their mind. It worked.

From what I have seen a transfer takes one day if you do it as quickly as possible but could take 3, 4 or even 5 days if you do it slowly by not approving transfer quickly.

So those that start on the 29th are best seen on the 30th but some transfers out may only complete after the new year but this is overlooking that this could only be the start of a landslide when many people only heard the news today.

Chuck Simpson (profile) says:

Why I transferred my domains

I transferred my domains from GoDaddy to another registrar because I have no confidence that GoDaddy will represent my interests and the interests of other domain holders in a manner consistent with a free and open internet. GoDaddy only changed its support of SOPA after it harmed its user base and the users retaliated. In my opinion GoDaddy acted irresponsibly.

Anonymous Coward says:

“This isn’t that surprising, really. There was a big burst last week, which is what resulted in GoDaddy changing its stance on the bills. In other words, it seemed like most people jumped to make the move immediately, rather than waiting a week.”

Oh god, what a cop out. Mike, perhaps you should realize that for all the huffing and puffing, most of the kiddies who were talking about this boycott don’t have very many domains.

Like many things discussed here, there is plenty of noise and apparent fury, but no real teeth to back it up.

So rather than making the same old same old sour grapes noises, how about you take an HONEST look at what happened, stop looking for excuses, and accept that, net-net, GoDaddy increased domains counts rather than dropping them over the entire period. The boycott had little or no effect on the number of domains GD controls.

You lose again. Maybe you can start a step2 thread about it, considering nothing else is going on over there.

abc gum says:

Re: Re:

“The boycott had little or no effect on the number of domains GD controls.”

IDK, it seems that people who know more than yourself are saying that it is not so cut and dried. Maybe that axe you are grinding has something to do with your dumbass attitude.
Possibly, you could go do some actual research in support of your accusation, present it here and then begin crowing like a rooster in the afternoon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“IDK, it seems that people who know more than yourself are saying that it is not so cut and dried.”

[citation needed]. I have seen the usual whiners going on about it, but in the end, even with reddit and such pushing like crazy, the net effect on GD was, well, nothing. That they have to include “deletes” (which is something that happens 45 – 90 days after a domain expires, not instantly) to try to make the numbers look even somewhat reasonable tells me all I need to know.

Those who whined about it appear to have no skin in the game, and couldn’t do anything to change it.

Anonymous Coward 2 says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

This is what kills me about all the very angry people trying to outdo each other with how many domains they transferred away from Go Daddy. Big deal. You are irrelevant now, you cashed in your leverage all to make a point that didn’t really explode with the fanfare you fantasized about, so now you try to spin the outcome…

All I hear in post after post is sour grapes. You made your little ripple, so go home now. It wasn’t a tsunami, sorry… It wasn’t even a splash.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, I’m sure you are right … and certainly you have access to all the necessary information required to make such conclusions without any assumptions. Let’s not bother ourselves with any possibilities which have the potential to skew the data because that would be counter to our cause – right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I look at what is out there, I look at the numbers, and I see, well, nothing going on. That means that for all the angry talk about boycotts and such, net, net, net, nothing happened.

Even with 100% skew on the data, look at the basics: GD has about 20 million domains in their registry. Even if you ignore every single in, every single add, every single new domain that came in, and only look a the outs… you are looking at what, 0.1% change?

That’s the reality – deal with it.

Joseph Arrington (user link) says:

Dirt Sandwich of GoDaddy

Let’s assume, for a moment this article is absolutely correct. Even if it was not a major day of tear jerking, gut wrenching, heartfelt woe for GoDaddy, it was a GREAT day for getting attention for SOPA aund the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And when we think about those donations to EFF, which stand in excess of $50K, enough to pay a moderate salary for 2012, that is a pretty good accomplishment. That we have supported the efforts of not just blocking one piece of Tea Bagging legislation, but this has made a contribution to a group that works to support our e-rights across the board.

And that assumes the article is spot on accurate. I will agree with other commentors here, those that are crying foul on the article’s numbers, that there is more at play than the stats may say. Not that I (or they, necessarily) are saying that this is an intentional act. Certainly GoDaddy is not going to go all “yep, X thousand customers dropped us like we drop elephants.” At least not now, it isn’t something to brag about, and they would definitely like their name to quit showing up with the word “sucks”.

Certainly, this isn’t going to slow down their business, they probably won’t even feel it, right now. But people who register domains, who typically are not your ordinary, average bear, they will remember. And they will steer future registrations away from, or setup on their own with a registrar other than, GoDaddy. They will also have a different user experience to speak about.

As my penny tour impression, I am already enjoying that NameCheap doesn’t gag me with ‘buy me’ while hiding the ‘tools you need to get stuff done is over there’ aspects of the site. Major plus!

The lesson here is multifold. And I have seen several posts on the subject that suggests many of GoDaddy’s customers are already a little less than happy. And as I illustrated above, most for the same “I am already a customer just let me use what I paid for and quit asking me if I want fries with that” aspect as I was.

Drawing parallels with the banking industry, the concept of, “I think they are the devil incarnate, but moving my account is too much work,” exists as much for GoDaddy as it does for BofA and Goldman Sachs. But poke the bear enough, he will maul your assets.

2011 – The year everyone said, “NO, WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT, ANYMORE!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Dirt Sandwich of GoDaddy

“2011 – The year everyone said, “NO, WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT, ANYMORE!””

Yup, and then did absolutely nothing about it.

OWS? Some of them ended up working on Wall Street. Classic!

The Godaddy protest fizzled like almost everything else, because in the end, the people “protesting” mostly don’t have any skin in the game, and no way to truly take action. They try to pressure others to take action for them, and as you can see, few people fell for it.

What I find interesting is the stories that Mike has ignored this week – like “anonymous” hacking and stealing credit cards and using them to get money. These “white hats” seem pretty black hat now.

Mike has also not addresses that movie ticket sales are at their lowest in 16 years (actual tickets sold, not dollars), nor has he truly ever bothered to deal with the 58% decline in 10 years in the sales of recorded music. He just keeps on repeating that “piracy doesn’t hurt, it helps”. He also didn’t address the numbers that show that piracy (downloads) in a year has no apparent reflection on movie ticket sales, with the biggest downloaded movies often not having big box office takes.

So many things that Mike could be discussing on the way to explaining the “new business models”, but so little time. He is too busy trying to convince you that “WE’RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT, ANYMORE!” (I am sure Anymore is upset).

I never realized it, but the Techdirt domain and others are registered in Canada. Proud American at work!

Roger D. Fedor, II (user link) says:

Inaccurate Article

Mike needs to check his sources because as people have mentioned earlier, the use of DailyChanges is not an accurate measure of who comes and goes from the GoDaddy registrar. DailyChanges measures the number of people who use a system as their primary DNS. Domains that are parked, use internettraffic.com (a GoDaddy controlled DNS) and when a domain is active, uses doamincontrol.com (also GoDaddy controlled).

In short, when a domain changes from internettraffic.com to domaincontrol.com, its counted as a transfer in, and from domaincontrol.com to internettraffic.com is considered a traffic out even though both are owned by GoDaddy.

The true measure of how effective the boycott was how GoDaddy reacted and they even admitted in an email to techcrunch that they have seen an increase in the usual transfers from their business.

Blaine (profile) says:

Delayed?

I started the transfer of my 4 domains yesterday 2011-12-29 13:32

I was to the “Pending Registry Approval” stage in less than an hour. That’s the part where godaddy has to list the domains in my account control as pending transfer screen so I can hit the yes button.

Godaddy sat on that last step till 09:18 this morning.

I realize they can take a few days sometimes, but at that stage of the process all the hard part has been done and both new and bad… um old, registrars have communicated.

plabecrash says:

Re: Response to: Acheron on Dec 30th, 2011 @ 9:53am

The stats referenced in this article represent DNS changes which don’t directly correlate to registrar transfers, for several reasons. The first and foremost, people transfering domains that dont use GD’s name servers. Most, if not all, of the larger transfers, 10-1000+ domains, are definitly in this boat, and swing the numbers refernced, in either direction, by precisely zero.

antdros (profile) says:

In your face theft

As a 2011 study by Envisional, conducted at the request of NBC Universal, reveals, ?across all areas of the global internet, 23.8 percent of traffic was estimated to be infringing.? In the United States, the report estimated that 17.5 percent of Internet traffic was infringing.
Imagine if 17.5 percent of the work you did was not paid for – would you be “happy” to incur that loss? SOPA may not be perfect but the easy alternative is a Government run agency to track down the thieves. OMG jail time for criminals – what a concept. SOPA is actually far too tolerant of crime.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: In your face theft

I’d say it sounds pretty good. That implies the other 82.5% is paid for.

It probably depends on the field, but in my field – an independant consultant has to spend a fairly high proportion of his or her time looking for the next contract, while working on the current one(s), or there will not be a next contract (at least, not without a long delay without any work at all). This time isn’t paid for by anyone; it has to be covered out of overhead. A ~1.2 multiplier to wages to cover marketing overhead sounds quite low.

abc gum says:

Re: In your face theft

What? – No link to the study?

I would be interested in details of this study. How was infringement determined and what is the stated margin of error. Without such information, I remain skeptical.

Oh – look what I found:
http://documents.envisional.com/docs/Envisional-Internet_Usage-Jan2011.pdf

They conducted this “analysis” with an automated system of their design. I doubt it is open to examination by experts in the field in order to determine its efficacy.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re: In your face theft

“Are you skeptical of the concept that criminals should go to jail, or do you believe that there is so little internet copyright theft that any form of policing would be a disproportionate response?”

I remain skeptical of the claimed numbers, I thought that was obvious.

ant555 says:

Re: Re:

“or do you believe that there is so little internet copyright theft”

Personally, I believe no copyrights were ever stolen via the internet or any other means… (unless you want to talk about the industry itself that steals copyrights away from the original creators and owners through fine print in bad contacts or through copyright extensions courtesy of the government).

No to SOPA says:

Win for The Internet

I would say the retraction by GoDaddy is a huge win for us Anti-Sopa(most of the internet)techies, however I would refrain from thinking GoDaddy was majorly or irreversibly hurt. GoDaddy holds over 50mil domains so business hit a snag not a cliff, however it did set a standard for larger corps to be afraid of they’re customers, for that it was a win.

Franco says:

Not too fast on counting

I began transferring my domains yesterday afternoon. Because of back and forth e-mails attempting to confirm it was me and not some hackers trying to gain control of my domains (e.g., need for authorization for each domain, confirm by e-mail that I agreed with the new registrar’s TOS, confirm to GoDaddy that I wanted to move my domains), all but 7 of my domains transferred this morning. As such, my domain transfers would not have counted yesterday, but today. Also, domain transfers, at least per notice on the new registrar’s page, takes up to 5 days. Those who did not have the time or patience to go through the process of manually accepting the transfer at GoDaddy and the other steps I had to take can simply wait it out.

Thus, the tally is not over yet.

Dan says:

Re: Not too fast on counting

That was my experience transferring from GoDaddy, but even worse. I had 30+ domains tied up with Domains By Proxy, which GoDaddy seems to create new accounts for at random. They ended up being spread across roughly 10 accounts for which I had to do “forgot password” requests, etc. By the time I had removed privacy protection, the domain transfers were rejected. I had to send a ticket to namecheap support today with all the EPP codes to restart the transfer process.

Antone Johnson (profile) says:

Fundamental misunderstanding of the economics

These numbers by themselves are nearly meaningless. Others have pointed out various reasons why. At the end of the day, what matters is the marginal impact to GoDaddy’s business ? in registration volume, in revenue from registrations/renewals/ancillary services, and ultimately in the net lifetime value (LTV) of each customer minus customer acquisition cost. Simple domain transfer in/out statistics, even if accurate, are woefully inadequate to give any indication of the above. To elaborate:

1. In the absence of a boycott, GD might have 75K domains transfer in and 5K out on an ordinary day. (Arbitrary numbers made up to illustrate my point.) The real pain inflicted is the marginal decrease (if any) in net inflows of domain registrations vs. what it would have been without a boycott.

2. GoDaddy has been targeting domain owners with aggressive promotions to retain them as customers or win back people who already initiated transfers. (I am one of those people who received an offer by email.) To the extent customers accept those offers, by definition it entails slashing GD’s profit margin on those customers, at least in the short term.

3. These numbers don’t reflect domains for which the owners (a) turn off auto-renewal, planning to transfer before they expire; (b) decide to renew for a shorter period than they otherwise would have; or (c) decline to buy extra services like private registration, hosting, email, etc. and instead get them from another provider. Again, reducing LTV.

4. These numbers completely ignore customer acquisition cost. GD’s online marketing team may well have gone on red alert and started spending money hand-over-fist to drive much higher traffic than normal in order to offset the damage.

The basic financial equation for any subscription/recurring revenue business is:

Profit = ( LTV ? Customer Acquisition Cost ) x Volume

Look, GD has been freaking out and made two rapid, embarrassing shifts in its stance on an important public policy issue. They know their own business better than we do. If they’re seriously worried about the impact ? which by all indications appears to be the case ? it’s for a reason.

Dave Zan (user link) says:

Not surprising...

Personally, I’m not surprised by this. I once blogged how Go Daddy recovered roughly two weeks after Bob Parsons’ elephant fiasco, in large part due to their aggressive marketing and advertising.

They’d have to do something as blatant as, say, Enron and Arthur Andersen (apologies to the late accountant) to truly disappear. Many people may have been angry at Go Daddy for their originally supporting SOPA, but their supporting it didn’t necessarily cause any sort of “direct material harm” to people.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Many people may have been angry at Go Daddy for their originally supporting SOPA, but their supporting it didn’t necessarily cause any sort of “direct material harm” to people.”

If SOPA passes, which they helped draft, and my (and everyone else’s) internet experience diminishes because of it, just how exactly can you back up that statement with a straight face?

john says:

The boycott didn't "fizzle". It worked. Big difference.

What a ridiculous piece of corporate propaganda this article is.

The lesson here isn’t that “the boycott fizzled”.

The lesson here is that the boycott was so wildly successful it was no longer needed. The boycott successfully caused this amoral company to change it’s behavior, and there was no longer any reason to boycott them.

I love the obtuse conclusion statement: “there were nearly double the number of transfers in as out for the day!”, with “double” in italics! Yeah, idiot. The boycott had already slapped these corporate cowards around and left the building by the time you started counting..

Michael says:

Actually the title is false, it did work because GoDaddy “changed” their stance on SOPA. So your story is half right. Maybe you should “rethink” what you write.

GoDaddy wins for all the extra registrations because people decide to use them since they oppose SOPA now.

I don’t use GoDaddy too much but all I have to say is Good Job godaddy!

Paul (user link) says:

BS

This has got to be the biggest load of BS I’ve seen in a very long while! These numbers are obviously (painfully obvious) inaccurate. They are most likely citing the number of DNS changes rather than actual transfers. There are so many ways Godaddy could have manipulated this to try to give the impression that the Dump Godaddy campaign failed. What a joke!

Daniel says:

Maybe is my paranoid mind, but can it be that the busnissess in favor of SOPA are helping one of their own, when this happened, when GoDaddy was for SOPA, my first instinct was they were going to lose a lot of customers, but also gain support from the SOPA mafia, as one of their own. In other words, SOPA mafia is creating an appearance a front, by helping GoDaddy.

Dicemoney (profile) says:

Maybe is my paranoid mind, but can it be that the businesses in favor of SOPA are helping one of their own, when this happened, when GoDaddy was in favor of SOPA, my first instinct was they were going to lose a lot of customers, but also gain support from the SOPA mafia, as one of their own. In other words, SOPA mafia is creating an appearance a front, by helping GoDaddy.

CAS (user link) says:

I have over 200 domains with GoDaddy and was browsing my main forums when everyone started to freak out and transfer to Namecheap. Good to keep your cool in a situation like this, as GoDaddy turned it around.

Guess there were a lot of shenanigans going on within their domains for them wanting to transfer out so quickly, eh? The SOPA bill sounds good on the surface, but is choked up with garbage that is nothing but smoke and mirrors in the end.

As far as the numbers go, 20k 50k, what’s the difference really. Both GD and NC got viral publicity that day…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

they supported it in the first place that’s all I need to know and my domains are out of there. regardless of what they do afterward.

“The SOPA bill sounds good on the surface”

Um, no. Even if your against piracy as much as the record labels and movie studios, it couldn’t have sounded good “on the surface” unless you had as much to gain financially as them.

LC (profile) says:

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:

GoDaddy no longer supports SOPA? BULLSHIT.

That’s B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T.

GoDaddy WHOLEHEARTEDLY AND APOLOGETICALLY, SUPPORTS SOPA. What they actually oppose is that the bill currently “has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders”. Source: judiciary.house.gov/issues/Rogue%20Websites/List%20of%20SOPA%20Supporters.pdf

Techdirt, if you oppose SOPA/PIPA, I expect a full piece on this as soon as possible.

LC (profile) says:

When you read something, words and the order in which they are used matter more than anything else. Read the official release from GoDaddy. Now tell me what the best summary of it is:
A. “We oppose SOPA because it’s a dangerous, unconstitutional and draconian piece of legislation that threatens to dramatically change the internet as we know it.”
OR
B. “We oppose SOPA because if we don’t say “We oppose SOPA” because our customers will keep leaving us.”
Did you answer “B”? Yeah, me too.
They haven’t said what opposition means to them, and most importantly, they aren’t showing us what they are going to DO to oppose it.

Now, should that press release have gone like this:
“We are aware of the significance of the unconstitutional and draconian SOPA and PIPA laws, and we know, if made law, they could dramatically change the internet as we know it. We are also aware of the role that GoDaddy has played in both writing the laws and helping get them into Congress. This was a grave mistake on our behalf and on behalf of every man and woman working here, I wholeheartedly apologize for our involvement.
From this day forward, GoDaddy will have no part in drafting any legislation whatsoever. We will also donate $5,000,000 to the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, $500,000 towards the campaign of any political candidate who opposes the legislation, and another $500,000 if they are campaigning against a currently elected Member of Congress or Senator who supports the laws, and we will remove any and every politician who supports the laws from our donations list permanently. Additionally, should SOPA/PIPA become law, we are happy to take partial responsibility for any negative repercussions this will bring and we will help to fund any Supreme Court challenges against them. Finally, any board member who suggested that GoDaddy should support the legislation is no longer working for us.
Again, we apologize for our involvement in drafting these laws and helping get them into Congress. SOPA/PIPA are the greatest threats to freedom of speech America has ever faced, and we will do our utmost to ensure they never become law, and we urge other companies opposed to them do the same.”

It would be a whole different story. But it hasn’t.

Words are meaningless without actions to back them up. If you are truly for or against something, you will also take actions to back that up. GoDaddy did so when they supported SOPA, by helping write the legislation and possibly providing funds to help get it through Congress. Now they oppose it and won’t take any action to back up that. If they don’t, then what they are saying is nothing more than spin, and the boycott should have damn well gone ahead.

Finally, I like Obama, and I voted for him last election, and I find him more palatable as a person than any other US president or presidential candidate so far. But if he does not pull his finger out and use his powers as president to veto these laws, then this issue alone means the Libertarian party or the Republicans (if Ron Paul is their Presidential Candidate) will be the ones getting my vote. I hate small government libertarian politics, and you only need to look at history to see how they fail routinely regardless of the intentions behind them. But these laws need to be stopped at all costs, so if push comes to shove they will receive my vote on this issue alone.

antdros (profile) says:

The 17.5% is actually stolen. In your business if you are robbed do you report it to the police or do you prefer to remain an anonymous coward.
I have not said SOPA is perfect, but I do say that just as copying DVDs is a federal offense which can be punished by jail, then it is also the case that internet piracy has the same possible consequences – without any change in existing law.

Richard says:

Go Daddy Internet SCAMMERS

WARNING!!! Go Daddy SCAM!!! Do not use Go Daddy, they expire your domains without telling you, then you call tech support. They want $90.00 each to turn you domains back on. They just did this with 25 of my domains. They are trying to SCAM me for over $2000.00. So I just lost 25 domains, because Go Daddy tricked me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Go Daddy Internet SCAMMERS

well, Richard Head, if you cannot track your own domain information, who’s fault is this?? really, do you blame others for not telling you things you should be aware of???

Why am I being arested??? The state never told me my license was suspened, because it expired…this is BS!!!

REALLY…..thast what your saying

Gail Gardner (profile) says:

Don't be gullible

While some still believe everything they read, more and more people don’t fall for media spin – like THIS story. GoDaddy has not yet begun to feel the full pain of their support for killing the Internet as we know it.

Wise people know that leopards don’t change their spots and if you play with a snake you WILL eventually get snake-bit so they are NOT going to simply forgive and forget.

Because you have to pay one year’s renewal to move a domain, massive numbers of domains belonging to people who will NOT forget will be moved as they come up for renewal or as the owners have some extra cash to expedite the process.

Bloggers who actively mentor other bloggers will be assisting them in moving their blogs off GoDaddy hosting, too.

We recommend NameCheap as our go-to domain registrar and MediaTemple, BlueFur and HostMonster as the best hosting companies for serious bloggers (and if you’re not so serious – why not use the best anyway?).

If you’re tempted to delete this comment rest assured that it will live on across social media and I may decide to feature you in a blog post. Those of us who love our Internet also hate censorship.

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