Going dark doesn't necessarily mean your brand needs to suffer. Here's a look at some of our favorite SOPA/PIPA "blacked out" protest sites.
Hundreds, if not thousands of websites went dark Wednesday (some more literally than others) protesting the SOPA and PIPA bills that, if enacted by Congress, might have the potential to disrupt the entire infrastructure of the Internet and usher in a firewall of government scrutiny. The potential regulations could stymie innovation, kill creativity, and they would give a limited amount of protection to the folks (i.e. Hollywood) they seek to protect anyway.
Plenty of websites shut down, or put up artful mock-censorship banners to protest. But let's be real. The protest isn't quite a protest. There were no rallies, no mace being sprayed. This wasn't Occupy Wall Street. For some companies, the opportunity to blackout—or create the visual effect of a blackout—was simply a favorable branding opportunity, answering the question: What can make us look cool?
So, here's a look at nine of Inc.com's favorite sites spreading SOPA awareness, from the big guys (e.g. Wired, Google) to sites you've probably never heard of (e.g. 941 Media). Let's count 'em down. (And let us know which of these you think is the best—or the most effective protest—below.)
This pop-up parody site of the White House re-directs to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The site's owner, who remains anonymous, notes "No animals were harmed while making this website (except maybe that one time when I was a little late feeding my dog his dinner)."
As everyone knows, the Internet revolves around kittens. Matthew Inman, founder of the The Oatmeal, created this animated .gif, which claims that using SOPA and PIPA to fight pirated material is like blowing up kittens to catch a lion that has escaped from a zoo. Seriously.