Sometime in 2009, Weebly was starting to gain momentum. We hadn't yet achieved the scale we have today, but we were hosting a couple million websites -- certainly a decent size by any measure. We registered weebly.com with GoDaddy back in early 2006, and hadn't paid any attention to our registrar since then. After all, GoDaddy was a reputable registrar and a decent place to house your domain.
One Saturday in the summer of 2009, we were eating lunch at Big Daddy's Burgers in South Lake Tahoe. I received a call from an unknown number on my cell phone, sometime around noon. I don't usually answer these calls, but we were waiting for our food, and for some reason this time I did.
The person on the other end seemed startled that I had actually answered. It was someone from GoDaddy's abuse department, who informed me that they were "turning off" weebly.com due to a complaint.
"WHAT?" I said frantically into the phone. He explained that they had received a complaint about the content of a site, and that they were removing the DNS entries for weebly.com because of it. I asked him if they had contacted us previously -- he responded that they hadn't.
The site in question featured a bad review of a local business, and that business had complained. Why on earth would a domain registrar take it upon themselves to police content?
As calmly as I possibly could at that moment, I explained to him that Weebly served millions of websites -- most of them US small businesses -- and asked if he had already changed the DNS entries. He said that he had, but that it wouldn't hit the system for another 10 minutes or so, and he could quickly revert it. Unbelievable -- crisis narrowly averted.
The very next day, we proceeded to transfer all of our domain names away from GoDaddy, to a registrar that actually cares about their customers.
This will be the future of the Internet if SOPA passes. A place where a complaint "in good faith" is all that is needed to take down millions of small businesses. This "shoot first" mentality, at the DNS level, is utterly destructive.
The "trial" and sentencing is performed by indifferent corporations who don't care about the collateral damage they cause. When they do cause damage, they plead ignorance or incompetence, and enforce double standards -- similar to how the RIAA recently blamed illegal downloading on their own network on a third party contractor, while holding individuals responsible for the same thing.
Unless this is the future you would like to live in, SOPA must be stopped.