At Midnight on January 18, Wikipedia went dark. As a company, they did so in protest of SOPA. (If you want to know about SOPA visit Wikipedia as its the only article up for the full 24 hours.)
Other sites like Reddit and Google and planning their own form of protest. Whether or not you agree with SOPA, it’s interesting to see businesses take a stand—in this case such a public one—for what their leaders believe in.
One site not going dark (if you’re reading this than they haven’t) is WordPress. Some Facebook rumors indicated the would but according to this article they are only encouraging users to take individual pages dark. What kind of impact would it have if all these single pages went dark for the day? What if all this passion organized around a different topic? Fighting cancer. Ending hunger. Same-sex marriage.
Another question…what if WordPress had exercised their corporate right to take all Wordpess.com pages black today instead of allowing individuals to choose? If you use a WordPress site for business, appearance might be that your business is also taking a stand against SOPA. Perhaps you agree with it and you wouldn’t mind. But what if you didn’t agree with their cause?
I make the point only as a reminder that for business, it isn’t good to put all your eggs into one basket. Whether that’s the web or marketing channels like traditional media and social media. We need to remember the only efforts we can completely control are those that we own solely. The externally hosted website and the billboard on the side of the highway are only effective if the owners decide to keep them up. Be sure you have other messages available in other locations in case any of them go down.
If the thought of a third-party taking down your site on a whim has you nervous or upset, you’re essentially agreeing with Wikipedia and the other sites who believe that SOPA is wrong because it allows the media to shutdown or censor sites without notice or regard.