Anonymous Logo

Do you know Anonymous? Their twitter description is “We are Anonymous, We are legion, We never forgive, We never forget, Expect us.” They’ve been attacking, a.k.a. digitally hacking, governments and other websites as part of their freedom fighting and digital Robin Hood act.

But Monday, one of their alleged members dropped the ball in a huge way.

I’m not going to point fingers, because it seems petty, but Sept. 10, GoDaddy’s nameservers went down and an alleged member of Anonymous claimed responsibility. Since then, some Anonymous twitter accounts have supported the attack and some have distanced themselves.

After the domain registration business restored their nameservers, GoDaddy announced that it wasn’t a hack, just what I will call a “major” error.

(At this point I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that, right now, I can’t be sure whether or not GoDaddy is telling the truth about it not being a hack or lying about it. But it’s not important. What I’d like to focus on is the “alleged” member of Anonymous claiming responsibility.)
Does that person know what they’re doing? Do they understand what Anonymous is fighting for? If this person really did have the brains to shutdown GoDaddy, then why can’t they understand that such an attack would do much more harm than good to their Robin Hood cause?

I understand the beef that Anonymous would have with GoDaddy. They originally supported SOPA and they tend to air racy, sexist commercials, but Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor.

I would like to think that Robin Hood wouldn’t steal money funding research to cure disease or hunger in order for the greater good, because he would understand that research is much more important.

By the same token, I don’t believe that GoDaddy was hurt by the attack nearly as much as the customers of GoDaddy were. Small business owners and entrepreneurs whose websites are hosted by GoDaddy lost a day of business. It may not seem like a lot, but Internet consumers want to buy now.

If someone was looking for something that a GoDaddy hosted store sells while the site was down, that person most likely bought it somewhere else. That’s lost revenue.

That’s stealing from the poor, Anonymous!

Somehow, you’ve managed to hurt quite a few of the people that supported you and all you had to do was either a) not attack GoDaddy in a way that would hurt their millions of customers or b) if you didn’t do it, don’t claim responsibility for it.

I say this because in our 24/7, I-get-my-news-from-Twitter-and-the-headlines world, most people don’t take the time to follow up on news stories. All of this distancing that some Anonymous sources are doing and the fact that GoDaddy is saying it wasn’t a hack will get lost on the average person who read it yesterday and moved on.

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the average mom and pop e-commerce site, shall we? We read that Anonymous took down Godaddy. We see that our site is down. We wait… We see that our site is up. We move on and try to recoup any business we might have lost.

Do we spend time trying to see the articles in the days to follow about GoDaddy claiming it wasn’t a hack? No. Do we scour the internet to see that Anonymous itself has some factions claiming responsibility and that some are distancing themselves from it? No. We just move on. And in so doing we feel that Anonymous, who’s attacked governments and huge corporate websites in the name of greater good, just attacked us.

And from here on out, we don’t like Anonymous.

This is their public relations nightmare. How do they resolve it? How to they keep rogue factions of their organization from doing something detrimental to their cause?

They reorganize and get a tighter grip on their horses. But the damage is done.

They’ve hurt 53 million registered domain name owners who use GoDaddy, and there is no guarantee that they will understand or care for the news of denials from all parties. The damage is done. Anonymous has punched their own cause in the face…

Will they get back up off the mat and live to fight another round? Yes.

But will they ever regain the Robin Hood image that they had before?

Only time will tell.