OkCupid takes a stand
With the web comes a large megaphone, and thus the rise of corporate activism. It used to be that companies spoke their minds through their wallets, supporting charities in line with their beliefs.
A modern example of a company standing up for (or in this case, against) their leaders’ beliefs is dating site, OkCupid.com which today has blocked itself on Firefox over new Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich’s public position against equal rights. Firefox users that attempt to visit the OKCupid site are met with a letter from OkCupid, explaining why they cannot access the site, and urging them to use Google Chrome, Opera, or even Internet Explorer.
Eich supported the controversial California Proposition 8 initiative back in 2008, and has made public statements in the years since. “We are sad to think that any OkCupid page loads would even indirectly contribute towards the success of an individual who supported Prop 8—and who for all we know would support it again,” writes OkCupid.
Most analysis of this brave move has been supportive, calling the move heroic, risking losing traffic and users by taking a public stand, and there is no word as to when OkCupid will call a truce.
If the opposite were true, however, most would not be supportive – they would be called bigots and insensitive. So, taking a stand has risks and rewards. In this case, OkCupid will receive positive press, and show users how compassionate they are for all of their paying customers, and that is good for them.
But again, should the roles be reversed, they would receive endless criticism and risk their entire brand, so companies that take a stand should consider carefully the position they take, and how they spread their message, be it positive or negative.
Full letter from OkCupid
Any Firefox user that visits OkCupid.com currently see only the following letter:
Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.
Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.
Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.
If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site. However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid.