The first of these outages was entirely intentional; like many other sites on the web from the huge to the tiny, I blacked out my web presence in protest over the Stop Online Piracy Act which was being voted on in the US Senate on that day. I did this for two reasons. Firstly the internet is a global network and the SOPA legislation, as worded, would have had a massive impact on the global internet and negligible impact on online piracy. Secondly, whilst I live in the UK and SOPA is a piece of US legislaton, past experience shows that the UK government have a rather good history of importing UK versions of poor US legislation. Here’s a helpful infographic which speaks more about SOPA that I ever could.
The second of these outages was also entirely intentional and solely down to me; vicchi.org, garygale.com and vtny.org moved home from their old web host to their new one. It took a while to rebuild these websites and to wait for the nameserver changes to propagate across the internet.
The first of these outages was important. The second was irrelevant and trivial. But if SOPA had passed, the second sort of outage would become commonplace for parts of the internet, but to you and me, it would just look like a change of hosting provider. Except the websites affected would never come back online.