About 10 hours ago, GoDaddy—the world’s largest internet domain registrar—sent five identical replies to critics who condemned its role as the provider of domain name services for the one of the most prominent neo-Nazi websites, the Daily Stormer.
The white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville this weekend which left three dead and dozens injured has led to anyone and everything remotely associated with the event scrambling to distance itself from the violence and hatred, including but not limited to: establishment GOP ghouls, the US Navy, Mike Godwin of Godwin’s Law, and the TIKI brand of citronella-infused reusable outdoor lighting. It’s possible the Scottsdale, Arizona company also felt now was the time for contrition.
Reached by email, Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin told Gizmodo he’s received no communication from GoDaddy and that he suspects the messages may be part of a Twitter hack. Anglin didn’t rule out that the company was “kicking [him] off due to the volume of complaints,” but he maintains that Daily Stormer has “not violated any aspect of the [GoDaddy Terms of Service],” a clause of which states that customers are prohibited to use the service for “morally offensive activity.”
While the events in Charlottesville are, for reasons of renewed moral clarity or self-preservation, forcing complicit entities to disavow associations with characters like Anglin, GoDaddy have hosted the Stormer since its inception around four years ago, and in that time the site has never been shy about courting controversy loudly and often. GoDaddy’s director of network abuse defended its decision to stick by Daily Stormer as recently as last month.
Blurring things further, several Twitter accounts claiming association with hacking collective Anonymous have been organizing around the hashtags #OpDomesticTerrorism and #TangoDown, rendering extremist websites unreachable via distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
While Daily Stormer remains up, the lead post references #TangoDown, has a photo of someone wearing the Anonymous-associated Guy Fawkes mask, and reads “This site is now under the control of anonymous.” It appears to be both a challenge to potential hackers, and bait for reporters who might misunderstand an intentionally poor imitation of a website defacement.
We’ve reached out to GoDaddy and to some of the accounts claiming responsibility for #TangoDown and will update if we hear back.
Update 1:30pm: According to a WHOIS query, the Daily Stormer has now moved registration of its domain name to Google. We have reached out to Google for comment and will update this post if and when we hear back.
Update 2:20 PM: A Google spokesperson tells Gizmodo, “We are canceling Daily Stormer’s registration with Google Domains for violating our terms of service.”
Update 8/17/17 8:13am ET: After a stint on the dark web and a brief return under the .ru top-level domain, RU-CENTER pulled registration for The Daily Stormer following a request from Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor.
Correction: The original version of this post stated that GoDaddy hosted the Daily Stormer. In reality, GoDaddy provided domain name services for the site. According to a GoDaddy representative “the language/pictures/etc. on the site is hosted by another provider.” We regret the error.