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Christians Bailing on GoDaddy Due to 'Immoral' Advertising (wired.com)
29 points by tortilla on Feb 5, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 71 comments

Confession: I'm a christian entrepreneur and I purchase all my domains and SSL certificates from GoDaddy. I never got the memo that I should boycott their services.

I have no problem with groups (christian or not) choosing to boycott certain companies because they object to their marketing practices. But I personally don't have time to cherry-pick these companies myself and make a public statement out of it.

I'm too busy trying to nurture my own family and business to worry about GoDaddy.

One last note: when it comes to watching sports (which my daughters enjoy watching with me), I find ads for E.D. treatments much more uncomfortable than GoDaddy's.

I find ads for E.D. treatments much more uncomfortable than GoDaddy's.

You are certainly not the only one. Sports fan friends with kids mentioned E.D. ads on sports games over the holidays. They like to watch games as a family, but the ads make them think twice. I can't say I blame them.

I see this as part of a larger problem that the only way we currently have to control the ads we see is to just turn off or change the channel.

Am I the only confused as to how they can continue to run those ads? Didn't the founders of that company get indicted?

Not those ones, the other ones made by companies like Pfizer and Eli Lilly. The "legit" ones.

For those of us not in the US, can you let us know what the big deal is with these E.D. ads? Somehow in my head an ad about treating ED doesn't seem so bad...

The ones I'm thinking of are a guy talking into the camera about erectile dysfunction, and how it's impacting his life. With no sound, you'd have no idea what was being advertised. Compared to, say, a beer commercial, it's not as racy, but the frankness of the man talking into the camera can make it more awkward than scantily clad people if you're with parents/children.

Why were you watching tv/sports on sunday anyway? Has the 8th commandment been changed?

Is watching sports labor of some sort?

The sabbath (whatever day you observe it) is for resting from work. Sometimes I rest by watching sports, sometimes I sit in my hammock, sometimes I go snowboarding. And, yes, if one of my servers crashed on the sabbath, I will work on it.

This explains it better than I can: http://tinyurl.com/cjqf2q

Did you switch on the TV on shabbos?

I don't believe this is the forum for that discussion, but the Jewish Sabbath was never on Sunday. Sabbath means 7 (and rest), and Sunday has never been the 7th day of the week.

If you are a christian the Council of Laodicea forbid you from keeping the sabbath on the same day as the Jews - it also forbade you from eating bagels, so you can probably ignore it. It is interesting that a christian was watching ads coverting their neighbours SUV on their sabbath - while complaining about someone mentioning tits.

Always nice to see people try to reduce incredibly complex phenomenon --- like Roman and Orthodox Catholic canon law and its relationship to modern Christianity in all its forms, from Unitarianism to Mormonism --- to a single cherry-picked Wikipedia article. Well played, sir!

One of the simplest but most complex religious concepts is hats. Christians say no hats for men, hats for women, but special men can wear special hats. Jews say no hats for women, but hats for men.

That is the tip of the iceberg, hats play a major role in many forms of worship.

I don't think a single Wikipedia article could contain the hat concept alone, let alone your example.

Unitarians don't care what hats you wear. It's the word "christians" in these sentences that gets us into trouble.

The "Council of Laodicea" has no bearing on Christian doctrine. Your response is what I feared might happen and why I stated that this forum isn't great. If you want to take this up out of band feel free to email me.

Then out of curiosity, why do Christians go to church on Sundays? I genuinely have never understood what led up to the day switch - I was born and raised Jewish.

First, Christians do all sorts of things for the wrong reasons, its best to clear that first before trying to explain their actions.

Second, Going to church on Sunday and believing Sunday to be a Sabbath day are two totally different things.

In fact, keeping Sabbaths is not a Christian thing to do at all. Christians do it, but that's because they think they are (really, really want to be) Jews. Tons of the crazy stuff Christians do are because they try to adopt little pieces of the Jewish economy (10 commandments, feast days, sabbaths, etc, etc,).

I don't know when/why Sunday became the de facto day for Christian church-going, but I can answer for myself, that I attend church on Sundays because it is the most convenient day (where I live) to do so. I don't regard it higher than any other day of the week (ok, maybe Monday ;).

Sunday is the day on which Christ rose from the dead. See Matthew 28 (http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=Matthew+28&src=esv.or...) Christians meet on Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. At least that is my understanding.

Catholics meet on Sunday to give God his due, as he demanded in the Ten Commandments. Jesus is God, and is an intrinsic part of that ceremony. I'm not sure Jesus rising from the dead is what makes Sunday the issue.

Catholics are explicitly, overtly allowed to work on Sunday. It is, however, a venal sin to work on Sunday (a) at the expense of worship and reverence (in other words, don't skip Mass) and (b) when you had a reasonable option not to. Five generations of American Catholic men appear to have established the convention that Sunday afternoon football incurs minimal expense to revering Jesus.

Protestants would agree on the work thing. After all we have pastors don't we? I am really interested to hear an expansion of what you mean by "give God his due, as he demanded in the Ten Commandments." I am not sure which you are referring to, but that is probably my own ignorance of such things. Also we protestants like Sunday football too. Not me personally, but that comes from not growing up in the US. :)

Basically, the Sabbath was moved for marketing purposes. The Council of Laodicea in 364 ordered all religious festivals to Sunday, not Saturday. There were a few reasons for this. One, Rome was mostly a pagan country, and most pagan religions reserved Sunday as a religious holiday. So the change would have helped convert pagans, and keep Christians in the church. Two, it differentiated the Christians from the Jews, and the Jews were being persecuted in Rome them. And the Roman emperor Constantine declared Sunday to be a day of rest in 321.

Most of the biblical emphasis a Sunday sabbath comes from the fact that Easter was celebrated on Sunday, and a few verses saying that religious holiday observance didn't matter.Some Catholic Catechisms mentions that there is no biblical support for a sabbath on Sunday, and justify it by saying that the church has the authority to change religious holidays. I'm not sure if this is atypical compared to most catechisms, I am not very familiar with Catholic theology.

Explanation for change:http://www.religioustolerance.org/sabbath.htm

Catholic Catechism excerpts: http://www.biblestudy.org/godsrest/catholic-protestant-confe... The site is definitely biased, but it has a nice collection of excepts from christian and catholic doctrines.

How about bailing on GoDaddy because they provide the exact wrong balance between control and simplicity.

Also: http://nodaddy.com

And a comic I find particularly funny: http://echopic.com/gnv

I didn't care about the sexy ads, I bailed because of their car salesman interface.

I was just on GoDaddy this morning trying to change some DNS settings for one of my domains. I made the changes and clicked 'submit' only to find they pushed an up-sell ad in there and made me click another 'submit' button to make the changes. On a freakin' settings page!

What'd you end up switching to?

I'm not the OP, but I switched to namecheap and never looked back. They usually have a coupon for discounted transfers, if you decide to go for them. (Try RetailMeNot or just google "namecheap coupon february 2009")

I switched to dynadot.com. Love the clean interface, slightly more expensive. I did a gradual switch of my 30 or so domains. No problems in the past year I've been with them. I've also heard good things about moniker.com.

Here's a blurry screenshot of the control panel, no ads: http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/7423/dynadotnq4.png

Same here. I switched away from them back in 2003 when the "car salesman" mentality (an excellent and concise term, btw) really started to kick in. Went to Domainsite -- http://domainsite.com -- whose site is as poorly designed as GoDaddy's except for the fact that they don't have ads at every corner. That alone makes it worth switching, but Domainsite is also considerably cheaper and more up-front with their pricing.

I dare anyone to figure out how much it costs to renew a domain name with GoDaddy. It took me a full 5 minutes, and that was with a logged-in account.

I have a godaddy and a hostmonster account. hostmonster is VASTLY superior in my experience. They use cpanel for the backend interface so it's somewhat standardized. Also the call center is in the USA and they actually TELL you what number you are in line when you are waiting on hold. When you do speak to somebody, it's not usually that long of a wait and they actually know something about how to provide support.

name.com 9 bucks and free private registration combined with a simple interface wins for me

and their sneak attack auto-renew

sneak attack auto-renew? what's that?

The default setting on their domain registrations is to auto-renew them at the end of each year. Both good and bad parts but it certainly doesnt hurt their bottom line

I do not want my domains to expire by default -- the principal of "least harm" in defaults certainly applies. One accidental lapsing could cause more pain than a hundred accidental renewals.

I'm an atheist and a confirmed sexual libertine but those ads pissed me off too. Too tacky even for the Superbowl, which is saying something.

Much worse, though, was the ad for some damn NBC crime drama which showed some pretty young girl falling into the hands of a serial killer, then showed him burying her in a shallow grave down by the river or something. Yet another show about fear, pain and misery.

Anytime you take a strong position on anything you risk losing part of your client base. A lot of people (myself included) feel strongly about how portraying sexuality in certain ways can impact a societies attitudes in a negative manner. The fact that those opinions affect purchasing habits stands to reason.

No, some Christians are bailing on GoDaddy because of the ads. Many of us just don't care.

A whole lot of Christians are not Fundamentalist Christians who want to control your life and dictate your morals. Unfortunately, the sane ones don't get nearly as much press.

Well, if a person's Christianity doesn't affect others, then it doesn't really matter to others that they're a Christian, does it? Someone trying to control my life is exactly the sort of thing I'd want to hear about, if it's happening. :)

There are many ways to affect others. You can help them, comfort them, share with them, remind them that not all Christians are fundamentalists, ...

I don't think you have to be a fundamentalist to have a problem with companies that run sexually suggestive advertising on programs that children are watching.

I disagree. I don't know if you have kids, but mainly, they find nudity very funny.

I'd much rather my kids see a pair of boobs, than see a guy shooting another guy with a gun, which for some reason seems to be totally acceptable.

I respect your decision, I don't think you're harming your kids in any way, but I've made a different decision about how to raise mine. Swearing, yes. A boob or two? Maybe. Overt sexuality? No.

I'm not 100% sure I found the right youtube video of the advert... (hulu is flat out countriest), but it sounds like either kids won't get the sexual references, or will just see it as funny nude people :/

It's a tough call for parents though...

I am unhappy with Hostmonster. They auto renewed my account 15 days before it expired and it cost me $120 for a basic package. Sure, they probably told me in fine print when I checked the renew option, but who can remembers what they read in fine print 350 days ago? At least Godaddy only costs me $4 a month for auto renew.

Christian Bale? I can only imagine his GoDaddy rant.

who didn't see this coming? it all goes tribal. all of it. read "here comes everybody" and "snow crash."

you know when the Christians bail, they say, "professionally, we are fucking OVER."

This kinda stuff makes me really cross/sick; as someone majorly opposed to cencorship....

It's a fairly pathetic episode and a sad description on modern religion.

(as an addendum when I asked the Church at the end of the road to stop handing leaflets/preaching to my young cousin as she walked passed I got into all sorts of trouble for religious descrimination.... double standards!).

/rant over (sorry)

This isn't censorship, it's a boycott, and it's a perfectly valid way to express your dislike for a company's PR decisions. I don't care about the ads, but I wish more consumers would put their money where their mouth is in dealing with company practices they find inappropriate.

Censorship would be these groups lobbying the FCC to ban the commercials.

Censorship 2.0, then. Easier to create an uproar on the internet than bend the FCC to your will.

Personally, I found the commercials stupid and I dislike GoDaddy for reasons beyond their advertisements.

Since you consider it censorship, would you prefer that these people continue giving their money to a company they find morally objectionable?

They can take their money wherever they want. That's not what they are doing, though. Rather, they would have GoDaddy adhere to their moral standards.

See, I'm really anti-censorship, and pro-consumer activism, which is why I keep coming back to this thread. Usually I don't care about terms being wrong, but censorship's an important topic, so it's worth being pedantic about the semantics.

Let's pretend this isn't about commercials and boobies, but about companies employing sweat shop workers, companies serving meat from animals that were fed growth hormones, a company treating its employees poorly, etc.

If I'm morally opposed to cows being fed growth hormones and tell some friends and write in my blog that I'm not going to buy hamburgers from McWendy's or whatever, is that censorship in your book? Is me holding the companies I patronize to some set of moral standards wrong?

Now, if this were a controversial news story, and back-room pressure from an influential advertiser, I might be more opposed to the exertion of economic pressure. But it's not. It's a commercial trying to get you to buy domains with low-brow boobie jokes. And for some customers, rather than making them want to purchase the product, it made them want to avoid the product, and they're now voicing that. There's nothing scandalous going down here.

"That's not what they are doing, though."

Yes, that is precisely what they are doing.

What's wrong with that?

Why am I being downmodded for asking someone to clarify his position?

I doubt many people on the internet will be swayed not to use godaddy by some christians TBH.

It's boycott to a point yes. But spamming media outlets with it is an attempt at censorship.

It's a fine line but if the aim is to make GoDaddy tone down the Ad's to "religion approved" [sic] versions (as it seems it is) then it is an attempt at censorhip surely ;D

No, really, it's not. A boycott wouldn't do much good if you didn't tell people about it.

No really it is ;)

As I said it is a fine line: but read into it and their main aim is to stop them using the ads. That's an attempt at censorship (I'm not disagreeing that it is a boycott too).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship "Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful or sensitive, as determined by a censor."



"A boycott is a form of consumer activism involving the act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with someone or some other organization as an expression of protest, usually of political reasons."

Clearly, the Christian businessman in the article would like GoDaddy to "clean up" their act, but I didn't find any request by him for government intervention, nor any government action at play with regard to GoDaddy. Plain and simply, he has a moral objection to pornographic advertising, and has chosen to take his business elsewhere.

As a Christian myself, I've held the same stance towards GoDaddy for a long time, because I personally don't like being sold domain names with sex. They can continue to do business as they choose, and I can continue to state my opinion about their practices and take my business elsewhere.

You need to set aside your obvious disdain for religion so you can see this for what it is. This isn't censorship or even an attempt at an organized boycott as far as I can tell. This is good old fashioned market forces at work. And, frankly, while I'm not a very religious person, I've always hated the ads too and as a direct result have never even considered using GoDaddy.

Again fair point (sorry, the intention was not to turn HN into a religion.vs debate :( that's not for here).

I think my main point was the huge emphasis on the story - definitely (and I dont think it is because of my bias) born out of the religious nature of the complaint.

If yourself were hosting a few thousands sites with GoDaddy and had objected in the same way (from a non-religious stance) and sent the same letter would it have made such a big story....

As I always say (it might be my catch phrase :P) "each to his own, and leave me to mine".

[for the record in case people misconstrue my bias I have great respect for faith (to a point, obviously); but I believe religious organisations to often be an evil force]

Censorship requires a censor with the ability to remove information. They don't have that and at least as far as is reported in this article, they're not pushing the people with the power to censure the media to do so.

Trying to get a company to stop doing something that a consumer considers offensive isn't censorship. This is just like the anti-sweatshop boycotts that are common on the left end of the political spectrum.

fair enough :)

It's capitulations like this, agreeing when shown wrong, where appropriate, that separate HN from other sites.

The maturity here really shines through on occasions like this.

thx :)

In fairness (rereading back) I should have done so about 2 posts earlier :( oh well.

Parent is trolling, but there is an interesting slippery slope here that should be explored.

If a government shuts down GoDaddy's web ads, that's censorship.

Writing a law as a member of the Senate to shut down Godaddy's web ads is probably censorship.

Is organizing a lobby to campaign to shut down their web ads censorship?

Is writing a blog post asking people to vote for a law in which Godaddy's web ads are shut down censorship?

Is voting for such a law censorship?

Is saying "we should have such a law" censorship?

In a democracy, at what point do we go from saying "Godaddy should shut up", which is a first amendment right, to full-on censorship? A government is full of people; there's nothing fundamentally different about a group of people executing their rights in a boycott and a group of people exercising their voting rights to accomplish some goal.

Hey! I'd dispute it was trolling. That's extremely offensive, I'd ask you to retract the comment. It was rash and strongly (and probably badly) worded.

> Is organizing a lobby to campaign to shut down their web ads censorship?

Yes: if the aim is to get someone to shut them down then it is an attempt at censorship (and if they succeed it is). That is not, and I believe wheel would agree here, simply a boycott anymore.

> Is voting for such a law censorship?

That's a difficult question. I'd probably say yes.. but I'd want it to actually happen before acusing everyone (so you could check motives etc.)

I've admitted I was wrong to call it censorship - but I do still think it's getting a lot more press than it deserves. Lots of people "boycott" GoDaddy for non-religious reasons (some in protest at the adverts - comments here are testament to that) and have been doing so for a long while. Why is it such a big deal now? Because this guy "represents" religion.. which is media friendly.

Indeed these ads have been around for a while: why is it such a big problem now?

It's certainly the perfect basis for the lobby group (and I am sure the Christian lobby groups will sieze on it at some point :)).

I think in a democracy that people forget it is "majority rule". You are, of course, entitled to your own opinions and ideas of what is right (that, though, is probably not part of the democracy per se). But you view does not represent everyones unless a majority of people agree with it.

Therefore IMO it is wrong to try and turn a legitimate boycott on personal grounds into an attempt to impose your morals onto the majority. I would say that most people either do not care or enjoy the ads (probably mostly in the former category).

The person in question did not write the letter in a way to say "I am not using your service any more, this is why" he wrote from the perspective of "your offending out sensibilities so please change or we'll stop using you". Which is a threat in my eyes :D

Well, the main difference in my mind is that the government can legally apply force to make someone stop doing something.

I thought the ads were stupid and tasteless... but come on, you're already watching war porn (pro sports) and you are going to get upset about some cleavage?

That's rather a sensationalist way of putting it. Different people watch football for different reasons. Yes, psychologically sports exist as a way of channelling male aggression (which is a fascinating subject besides) but people don't watch it as an alternative to watching war. There's an element to entertainment like the Superbowl that nothing else has.

Also, it's an old adage that America's fine with violence but hates breasts and naughty language. See South Park/every anti-censorship comedy ever made in America.

Also also, it;s fair enough to say you don't want to deal with a domain host because they think the best way to advertise services is to wave tits in your face. I'm regretting that I use it to register domains, because frankly I'd like to hold companies to a slightly higher level of self-respect.

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