There is a lesson to be learned in knowing your customers, or at least knowing exactly where they generally stand when it comes to politics. First rule of business has always been to try to stay out of political discussions unless its really relevant to your customers, and if you are forced to get into a discussion, avoid picking one side over another. Godaddy’s CEO Warren Adelman learned this past week that he needs to listen more to their customers, as tons of them left GoDaddy because of his outspoken support of the Stop Online Piracy Act.
The Stop Online Piracy Act, known by its acronym SOPA, would basically allow pretty much anyone to block almost anything online based on a simple complaint from, well.. about anyone.
Many Internet companies are adamantly speaking out against this atrocity-in-the-making. An open letter was sent to congress strongly protesting this legislation. The diversity of Internet companies that were signatories to the letter shows just how serious a threat this legislation is to the Internet and online marketers.
Well, for some unknown reason, GoDaddy decided to throw in their support of SOPA along with tons of other large businesses that support this, mainly because it gives them additional unfair competition. As the internet grows, more and more smaller business and marketers are using the enormous reach of the internet to create their own content, their own marketing techniques and bypass large businesses. SOPA allows large content companies (movie studios, music labels) to basically challenge anything online without having to go to court.
Well, GoDaddy forgot that tons of their clients are those small businesses, and loads of marketers who use their domains, hosting and other services. In response, over 70,000 domains have been transferred from GoDaddy.
The lesson here is simple: Learn who your customer is, especially if you are a marketer. If you make the mistake of speaking out of turn, or offending your audience you run the risk of serious backlash. You are selling a product, not making a point, or trying to engage people outside your product sales process.