SOPA Stats: 7 Million Petitions, 3.9 Million Tweets & Google Crawling Dropped 60%

sopa-pipa-minecraftBy all accounts, yesterday was a big and important day for the tech and online marketing industries. Hundreds of websites protested the SOPA & PIPA bills that are currently moving through the U.S. Congress by either going completely dark for the day or — as we did here on Marketing Land and our sister site, Search Engine Land — blackening a portion of our site and adding anti-SOPA/PIPA messaging to their home pages.

Did it work?

Well, the two bills are not dead, but they’re certainly damaged. By Wednesday night, the Washington Post says that at least four co-sponsors dropped support of PIPA, the Senate version of the bill. The House version, SOPA, also lost prominent support after yesterday’s web protests — protests that extended offline to include hundreds of phone calls to Congress.

How big was yesterday’s anti-SOPA/PIPA movement online? Here are the numbers.



Wikipedia was the most prominent website to go completely black yesterday. Their recap of what happened is as follows:

  • More than 162 million users saw Wikipedia’s blackout page.
  • More than eight million used the page to look up their representatives’ contact information.
  • More than 12,000 people commented on the Wikimedia Foundation’s blog post about the blackout.



Google didn’t go black, but it did cover its logo in black and direct visitors to a new mini-site about SOPA/PIPA that also encouraged visitors to sign a petition opposing the bills. The results:

  • Google says that more than seven million users signed the petition.
  • Google’s petition page was plus-oned more than 130,000 times.
  • Google’s Facebook post about the petition has more than 4,600 likes right now, along with 1,100+ shares and more than 300 comments.

Google also promised to slow its web crawlers so as to not cause SEO/visibility harm to the hundreds/thousands of websites that went black in protest. And it followed through on that promise.

Matthew Prince, the CEO of Cloudflare — a company that acts as a proxy for hundreds of thousands of websites and sees more than 25 billion page views through its network every month, tells us that Google crawler traffic was down 60% on Wednesday compared to the prior Wednesday. Here are Cloudflare’s numbers on crawler activity yesterday:

  • Google: Crawl traffic down 60.8 percent compared to the previous Wednesday
  • Bing: Crawl traffic up 2.35 percent compared to the previous Wednesday
  • Baidu: Crawl traffic down 11.33 percent compared to the previous Wednesday

Prince also says Google’s crawl traffic impacted websites differently. Crawl traffic was down 81 percent on small sites, 49 percent on medium-sized sites and 25 percent on large sites.


Twitter announced earlier today that its users sent about 3.9 million SOPA-related tweets on Wednesday.

Klout has also shared a list of what it considers to be the most influential SOPA-related Twitter users, with a look at how often they were retweeted — plus, which tweets were shared the most.



Though Yahoo didn’t directly join in any SOPA/PIPA protest or awareness activity, its Flickr photo community did. Flickr users were able to blacken any photographs on the site (photo owners could opt-out) and given the option to tweet about the photo that they’d just darkened.

Earlier today, Flickr announced that more than 323,000 photos were darkened yesterday.

Reddit, WordPress & Craigslist

As of this moment, we haven’t seen any numbers directly from Reddit, Craigslist and WordPress about the impact of their protests. But the folks at Covario have done some digging of their own, using a variety of third-party data sources, and come up with these numbers:

  • By going dark for the day, Reddit users didn’t spend more than 18 million minutes on the site.
  • WordPress’ protest could’ve been seen by about 35 million bloggers. [Ed. note: WordPress went black on its .org site and blackened content on its .com site.]
  • Craigslist, which went dark for the day, might have lost about $825,000 in revenue by missing out on 33,000 new job postings per day at $25 each.

Washington, DC

I touched on the impact in Washington, DC, earlier in this article — co-sponsors dropping support of the two bills, etc. OpenCongress has more on that — like 35 Senators now opposing PIPA, up from only five a week ago. OpenCongress also says it set a record with 256,000 visits yesterday.

All in all, it looks like the anti-SOPA/PIPA efforts online this week were an enormous success.

Related Stories

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Features & Analysis | Google: Legal | Internet Marketing Industry | Legal | Legal: Copyright & Trademark | Statistics: Online Behavior | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • John Slocum, Vancouver

    I sure hope Congress has properly received the message.  We do not need another full-employment piece of legislation for attorneys and other non-productive types of jobs!

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