Domain Name Ownership & You

I read a post today by Andy Sernovitz titled, “Stupid Politicians.” It was prompted by an article in the New York Times, “Clicking Candidate.com, Landing at Opponent.com.”

The article focused on political candidates who purchase an opponent’s likely domain name and redirect to sites of the purchaser or custom sites that are negative toward the opponent.

The article also addresses cyber-squatting, the act of purchasing likely popular domain names and then selling them for profit as well as those who have domains in their own name, which happens to be the same as a ‘famous’ person.

Sernovitz’s point is that the domain name is most critical and politicians who do not secure their own are incompetent.

I agree. The best way to find a web site is to know its address, second best is to search. Most people navigate the web via search. As such, the domain name for a candidate (or brand) is critical.

A few years ago I was helping on a friend’s political campaign. In the primary, after her opponent officially announced he was running, we bought his domain name firstnamelastname.com.

The first objective was so he couldn’t use it. Second was to demonstrate that while he addressed being forward thinking and planning ahead he failed to grasp an understanding of technology and didn’t plan ahead. And finally, we were going to redirect people to our web site where they could see a side-by-side comparison of the candidates.

The result? He claimed it was identity theft, dirty politics, and threatened a lawsuit to protect his identity. The media bit and went with his angle. Our message never got out. Again, this was several years ago and people weren’t as aware of the practice as they are today, but the impact was significant – the well known and popular former teacher was portrayed as a dirty politician .

Claim your domain! The more common your name, the more difficult it will be to get the exact domain you want. This past year I worked with two young men, Corey Lewis and Tyler Grady. Corey Lewis is fairly common and he had coreylewisracing.com so we kept it. Made sense as he is a race car driver.

With Tyler, a contestant on Season 9 of American Idol, we contacted the Tyler Grady who already owned the domain. It wasn’t a cyber squatter, it was someone who purchased the name for their own business in their own name. When we asked for an amount to buy the domain from him it was too significant to consider. We went with TylerGradyMusic.com.

You don’t have to be a politician to have a need for a domain. You may not need it now, but you might in the future. See if your name is available and grab it. At $10 per year it is hardly a luxury item.

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