AR15 Shutdown by GoDaddy for Supposedly Violating Terms of Service
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One of the world’s most popular gun forums, AR15.com, was booted off domain name and website hosting service GoDaddy this week. The well-known website hosting provider abruptly informed the owners of AR15.com to find another home with only 24 hours notice.
AR15 used it Twitter account to announce the sudden move.
“On Monday, January 11, 2021, I received notice from our site registrar that AR15.com had violated their terms of service and that AR15.com would be shut down immediately,” said Juan Avila the President and Co-Founder of AR15.com in an interview with The Federalist.
GoDaddy did not offer any explanation as to which [art of the terms of service were violated. They also did not give the website’s owners any time to move to another provider.
“It remains unclear specifically what content allegedly violated the registrar’s terms of service,” Avila added.
GoDaddy is a bit of a household name as far as websites go and the company is rather famous for its objectification of women in its Super Bowl commercials and sexualized advertising campaigns.
This website stopped using GoDaddy years ago because it’s gross and the customer service is poor.
What is a Domain Name Registrar?
A domain name registrar is the service that a website URL is purchased from. To set up a website or other online service, business owners buy a domain name (like this one AskCyberSecurity.com). they must then also arrange for a web server to hold all of the content. The webhost stores the pages and then serves them to readers as they navigate the website.
There are other services as well like content delivery networks and DNS hosting, and ad networks that larger sites also use.
All of them work together to host and server webpages and video content.
“The registrar’s decision to de-platform AR15.com was final and no method to appeal was offered.”
This comes on the heels of right-wing website Parler. That website went offline after Apple and Google both removed the site’s app from their respective app stores. Right after that, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that they would no longer allow Parler to use their services. Microsoft also distanced itself from the popular gun site site.
All of them naming Parler as playing a role in the recent Capitol Hill riot in Washington DC on January 6. Organizers of the riots used Parler to coordinate travel and roles in the violent protests.
Popular websites like AR15.com and Parler cannot use smaller web hosts. They must use global services that are capable of staging and web pages quickly to millions of readers.
Since the takedown, AR15.com has found a new home with a gun friendly registrar on Epik Inc.
You might be familiar with domain name registrar Epik, even though they’re not nearly as large as GoDaddy.
The Rise of Corporate Censorship
Maybe Epik was sympathetic to AR15.com as the registrar themselves was abruptly cut off by the moral police at PayPal last November for a supposed violation of their terms of service.
Last year PayPal ended its relationship with Epik, and customers were no longer able pay for domain name and hosting services through Epik using PayPal. This termination came as part of a sweep by PayPal ending business relationships with tens of thousands of businesses in the United States.
“PayPal’s actions look to be intentional, calculated, and per their own words – in the interests of centralizing power. That means they believe they can choose who you deal with, where you get your information, news, updates, and services in the future, and whether or not they think you have a right to engage in business independently.” Epik CEO Dan Schulman wrote in an email to customers in November 2020.
I registered two domain names through Epik last year.
Epik works with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Epik customers can also pay with cryptocurrencies and Alipay.
“PayPal made the decision to terminate payment acceptance for all of Epik’s customers and went as far as telling us in writing that they had no obligation to explain why or ever grant an appeal to be heard” said Schulman.