CloudFlare, as a service, illustrates the power of using DNS to make the Internet better. Unfortunately, some current legislation up for consideration in the United States illustrates the power of using DNS to make the Internet worse. SOPA and PIPA aim to address the challenge of policing copyright online by monkeying with the underlying infrastructure of the Internet.
Spearheaded by Ben Huh and others, many sites are planning on "blacking out" their pages on Wednesday, January 18 to raise awareness about the dangers of laws like SOPA and PIPA. Several CloudFlare users wrote to us asking if there was a way we could help them participate in such a protest. The problem is that blacking out your site entirely can have some negative results:
- Taking a site offline does nothing to help educate people who are not already aware of the risk about the problems of SOPA and PIPA; and
- Removing your site from the Internet, even if for only one day, can have a significant impact on your search ranking and crawl rates.
We wanted to provide a way for people who wanted to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA to do so effectively and without hurting themselves in the process.
What's great about the CloudFlare Anti-Censorship App is that it will work without you having to modify any of the code on your site. If you own your own domain, you can sign up for CloudFlare. And, if you sign up for CloudFlare, you can participate in the blackout with one click. This means that if you're on Tumblr, TypePad, WordPress, Posterous, or any other platform, so long as you have your own domain you can use the app.
The app is available here beginning today. If you want to participate in the blackout, you should turn it on by Wednesday, January 18. We will continue to make the app available for the next 30 days or until the threat from laws like SOPA and PIPA has passed.