Part of the long-running (and far from over) SOPA/PIPA battle was the drawing of lines in the sand by Internet companies. While most recognized the danger of that irresponsible and short-sighted bill and took action against it, some companies supported it strongly and even testified to that effect in Congress.
GoDaddy was one of those companies, and while it later tried to undo the damage its position had done (the new CEO seems a little more in touch), the Internet isn’t so good at forgetting or forgiving. Among the many, many sites that pledged to leave GoDaddy’s DNS service was Wikipedia, and after three months of work, they’ve finally done so.
Their new DNS provider will be MarkMonitor, with whom they were working already for other reasons. MarkMonitor specializes in brand protection and prevention of fraud and piracy; their services include monitoring of peer-to-peer networks and redirection of users away from potentially fraudulent sites. It’s likely that the Wikimedia foundation was using the company’s services to monitor and prevent fake Wikipedia sites, illegal uses of Wikimedia assets or tools, and so on. They also do DNS for “well over half the Fortune 100.”
So, not perhaps the sunshine-and-flowers solution people might have wanted for Wikipedia as an antidote to GoDaddy, but it mustn’t be forgotten that the Wikimedia Foundation runs one of the most popular and widely-accessed sites on the Internet, and therefore necessarily one of the most vulnerable. Heavy-duty partners are necessary to deliver and maintain the integrity of their content.
Wikipedia’s migration, and that of hundreds of other sites, should act as a warning to Internet companies that fail to heed the opinions of their customers. Cyber-activism may not do much to depose African warlords, but it can certainly have a real effect on virtual tyrants.