Dec 30, 2011

What do you think about Amazon, Google and Facebook going black to protest SOPA?

We have had the backlash against Go Daddy over SOPA by customers (who were apparently fine with the CEOs love of shooting elephants and extreme political views up to that point), which at the very least ratcheted up awareness of the dangers of SOPA so far as the general public is concerned. Would The Big Guys all going black simultaneously and putting up warnings about the potential destruction of the internet as we know it by SOPA be enough to finally stop this bill from moving forward and becoming law, or would it be more likely to incite anger at Amazon, Google, et al for temporarily suspending their service, and play into the hands of SOPA supporters?


I'm not sure that they would all do it, but it seems possible.  Especially with Google, considering Sergey Brin is one of the more vocal opponents of SOPA.  It would also be easy for Google to still allow searches, but change the Doodle that appears above the search box in the same way they do for many holidays and anniversaries.  That would have far less shock value than a block out, call-to-action page, but with little negative impact on users, which would be the downside to it actually being effective.  It would definitely get an avalanche of attention from the general news media if multiple sites went black at the same time to draw attention to SOPA, and hopefully the more people learn about SOPA the more they will oppose it.  I don't think there would be very much negative backlash if this does occur, but I will be somewhat surprised if it happens.  

I don't think it would play into the hands of SOPA supporters at all. It would help to alert the general public to the threat SOPA presents.

My worry is that they might bungle the implementation though. If they do it they must provide information about SOPA, a call to action and then link(s) to forms & phone numbers for the general public to contact their representatives.

It does little good to educate without providing the tools for customers to lobby against SOPA. The public must be encouraged and enabled to join the fight to stop SOPA directly. So the implementation of a blackout needs to be thought through very carefully, and it should be handled in a unified way on each site.
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