Which Anti-SOPA Protest Was More Effective, Wikipedia's or Google's?

The two took different approaches to their actions today, and they complemented each other well.

wikipediagoogle-body.jpg

Should Google have taken a stronger stance against SOPA and functionally disabled its search service for the day? Earlier in the day I saw a few people arguing that Google, the number-one most visited site on the Internet, should have pulled a Wikipedia, which holds the number-six spot. Whether you agreed with the protest or not, it seemed indisputable that doing so would have been a stronger statement.

But, now, at the end of the day of protests, I wonder if Google's more subtle position -- blacking out only its logo -- wasn't as effective as Wikipedia's total blackout. After checking out Wikipedia's blacked-out site early in the day, I just didn't visit it again. But Google I used all day, many times, and each time I was reminded of the ongoing protest.

The real strength was not in either's particular approach but in the two together. Without Wikipedia's more splashy approach, Google's black box may have been too small to draw much attention. Without Google's day-long reminder, Wikipedia's blackout might have seemed like the action of a fringe group, the diehards of the site. But cumulatively, along with the many other sites that protested in big and small ways, the statement was powerful. The New York Times is now reporting that 4.5 million people have signed Google's petition against these bills.

Of course, in the end there's really only one metric that matters for effectiveness: whether these bills -- and similar ones down the road -- find their final resting place in the dustbin or in U.S. code.



Image: Google/Wikipedia.

Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Technology

Just In