It seems like common sense for anyone who expects to be in the public eye in any way at all to register a personal website. The internet is the natural place for the curious to search out new information and as such is an excellent platform for people to get their message across. Sadly when politics and the internet collide it seems like common sense is the first casualty.
Here are five upstanding pillars of the community who didn’t manage to snare a relevant domain name and were left to rue their misfortunes.
1 – Ricky Perry
“What’s that you want to be President? Cool. Well I guess if I go to RickPerry.com I’ll be able to read all about your policies and decide if I want to vote for you in the forthcoming Republican primaries.
“Wait, your website directs me to a page about some dude called Ron Paul. Maybe I’ll vote for him.”
Yup, that’s right. Voters looking at RickPerry.com in the run up to 2011′s US primary elections were diverted to Ron Paul’s campaign site for a brief period.
The Paul campaign denied this had anything to do with them and shortly after it came to public attention, RickPerry.com turned into one of those parking pages loved by domain investors everywhere.
If you want the real Rick, you’ll have to go to RickPerry.org.
2 – William Hague MP vs William Hague the naturist
Being leader the Conservative party while Tony Blair was British Prime Minster was a thankless enough task as it was, but having your online persona taken on by a self-proclaimed nudist can’t have made things any easier for William Hauge.
Anyone logging on to williamhauge.com back in 2000 would have been greeted with the message: “Hi, I am William Hague and a very keen naturist, I am not William Hague the conservative politician from England!” Along with a photo of a naturist doing what naturists do.
The site, it turned out, was a prank and William Hague the naturist was in fact a gentleman called Gordon Hay.
So did the William Hague the Politician, now the British foreign secretary, learn a valuable lesson from this cybersquatting case? Of course not. williamhague.com is now home to an online education resource.
Still, that’s better for his reputation than some guy with his kit off, right?
3 – Dianne Feinstein vs the Gun Nut
While some people who squat domains of politicians are little more than mischievous, some decide to try and make a political point.
Senator Dianne Feinstein is in favour of gun control and that makes her something of a hate figure for the kind of person who likes to go around shooting at things.
Enter arms vendor AresArmor.com whose owner decided to register senatorfeinstein.com. Visitors to the site are greeted with the message “COMING SOON! Senator Feinstein’s Biggest Fan Page!” putting to bed once and for all the myth that Americans don’t understand irony, while simultaneously casting into doubt their grasp of subtly.
If you want a clear and reasoned debate on gun control, then you’d better head elsewhere. If vitriolic rants are your thing, then this is the site for you.
4 – Santorum.com
You know about this one, right? If you don’t, it’s probably best to wait until you get home before you start doing your research. Let’s just say some members of the gay rights community didn’t take too kindly to Rick Santorum’s views on homosexuality.
In response, they thought up a new definition for his surname, bought Santorum.com and for a while anyone Googling the US politician’s surname and clicking the top result were in for something of a surprise.
If the Santorum conundrum has intrigued you, the Wikipedia entry entitled “Campaign for “santorum” neologism” has the full story. It’s really not safe for work though.
A warning, if ever a warning was needed, to make sure you register relevant domain names if you intend to enter the public eye.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Article by Will Stevens, part of the 123-reg.co.uk blog team and an accomplished writer who has featured in the Guardian and ReadWrite.