democrat__web_and_email_addresses_for_politicians_and_fundraisers-300x145So, you’ve decided to run for President. Maybe you’ve led a corporation, or you’ve been in the Senate or run a government agency. Good for you. You’re not paid to think about the small stuff, like Internet domains. But since so many candidates are having problems, DomainSkate has provided a presidential guide to registering domain names, just for you.

Are internet domains really a problem for political campaigns? Yes! From Ted Cruz’s problem with a person named Ted Cruz who already owned TedCruz.com, to yesterday’s CarlyFiorina.Org challenge, the IT and brand teams behind these candidates are failing to protect their candidates. If you’re not sure that this is an issue, why is the 2nd paragraph of today’s Reuters’ coverage of Carly Fiorina covering the domain issue?

“Fiorina, who announced her candidacy on Monday in the 2016 race, said she would run on her record at Hewlett-Packard, but added in reference to the carlyfiorina.org website: “Obviously, would I have preferred that we bought up every conceivable domain name? Yes.”

Wrong, Ms. Fiorina. While someone has embarrassed your campaign with this site, there’s no way to try to register every possible domain. It’s not possible and not practical. Case in point: Yesterday, someone registered CarlyFiorinaSucks.com to ensure his or her personal freedom of speech. If the campaign had taken that, someone would take “CarlyReallySucks.com” and on and on.

Only about 15% of Americans are aware of the current Internet expansion. There are now over 575 new “Dot Domains” added to the world of dot-Com and dot-Net. These new domains include things like .NYC and .Website. Relevant to presidential campaigns, .Vote, .Republican and .Democrat, .GOP and more are now live. There are too many places to watch in a manual fashion.

More important than registering every possible domain is registering the ones that count.

If you’re running for office, here are a few pro tips:

  • Try as hard as possible to get your own Name in .Com – it is what people expect. (We’re talking to you, Senator Cruz.) If you don’t, you’ll spend a lot telling the public your domain name.
  • Grab your name in the .Democrat or .Republican domain. Otherwise, your competition may do so.
  • Go register your .Vote and .Voto (for your Spanish site) before the competition does.
  • Monitor for disparagement sites (like “Your Name Sucks. Com”). You’ll find out too late once the site launches, so use a tool (like DomainSkate.com) to monitor for variations on your name.

Today’s entrant to the political arena, Mike Huckabee, has MikeHuckabee.com wrapped up, but someone named Russell Caldwell of Arkansas has MikeHuckabeeForPresident.Info. No site there, yet, by the way, and no clue as to this gentleman’s intentions. Someone is on the ball, because MikeHuckabee.XXX is “reserved from registration.”

Stewart McElhannon III from Georgia owns MikeHuckabee.Republican, and Chris Maiorana, a Republican strategist, owns MikeHuckabee.Gop. While Maiorana probably has a legitimate connection to the Huckabee campaign, I doubt the person who registered WWWMikeHuckabee.com is as well connected. He or she is just looking for ad revenue from people who mistype the site and click instead of retyping the correct address.

The new landscape of domains is difficult. There’s a lot to manage – but pop stars like Taylor Swift seem to have it handled. Surely politicians have as much money to put towards branding? We invite you, Mr. or Ms. Candidate, to monitor for the use of your name online, so your announcement isn’t hijacked by a critique website. There’s a lot more to talk about than whether you remembered to get a domain.

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