An increasing number of companies seem to have lost their appetite for China. First Google closed its Chinese website, then there was a rumour that Dell may move its Chinese business to India, and now GoDaddy announced it will stop registering domain names in China due to new government rules.
In December, the country began enforcing a new policy that requires domain name applicants to provide extensive personal data, including photographs of themselves and business identification, including a Chinese business registration number. All the data has to be forwarded to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) via physical, signed registration forms. GoDaddy is concerned about the political motives behind the increased level of registrant verification being required, and adds that customers with Chinese domain names have recently been attacked more frequently than in the past. The sites targeted tend to be those that deal with sensitive subjects such as human rights.
"The underlying intent is, if you're engaging in political speech, we want to know who's engaging in it and what Web site is behind it," Ganesan said. "This is a way the Chinese government can send a chilling message to people that they shouldn't speak freely online. It's forcing us companies to be both the censor and the spy on behalf of the Chinese government."
Jones said GoDaddy's decision to stop registering new domains was unrelated to Google's recent decision.
"With all due respect, this has nothing to do with Google," she said. She added that the company had been deliberating what it would do about its business in China before Google's announcement.
"We decided we didn't want to be agents of China," she said.