Will Someone Actually get Dinner with Donald? (Trump Chardonnay picture)

Photo (cc) via Flickr user Gammaman

Domain names have been used by rival political parties and candidates to mislead supporters, and embarrass candidates.  Domain confusion can be a powerful way to misdirect internet users. In the area of Political Action Committees (PACs), there have been previous cases of people contributing to PACs that have nothing to do with a candidate because of domain name issues.

In a new twist, POLITICO reported yesterday that Mr. Ian Hawes, a Miami resident and the founder of the PAC American Horizons, registered the website www.dinnerwithdonald.com. He then solicited Mr. Trump’s supporters via Facebook to enter a contest for the chance to have dinner with the Republican presidential candidate – but something’s fishy. 

The site has the same look and feel as the actual Trump campaign website, and has brought in over $1 million. Over 41,000 users have signed up for the contest. The PAC, however, has spent no money in support of Mr. Trump and never had plan to organize a dinner for a lucky donor. This has infuriated many people that donated money via the site, and has left them feeling duped.

Mr. Hawes, according to the article, also owns the website www.imwithtrump.org – though that site is not active. Mr. Hawes apparently took advantage of the fact that the Trump campaign was not doing any Facebook advertising when he started his PAC and therefore filled the “vacuum” for ads for Mr. Trump. While Mr. Hawes’ PAC is named “American Horizons,” the domain he chose had no connection with the PAC name.  

At its core, this scam scheme is made possible by the fact that domain names are convenient vehicles for connecting with supporters that may not look at the fine print below the fold. This powerful domain confusion can lead unsuspecting visitors to open their wallets.   Most internet users are not trained to look for minute differences in design or presentation that would trigger them to question the site they are visiting.

Further, there is a presumption amongst users that a website that has a domain name that uses the Trump brand should be affiliated with the actual campaign. This is not the case. Anyone can register any domain name, with any brand. Many brands (or candidates) take the time to survey the landscape and help protect customers or stakeholders from scams. The brand owners and candidates are in the best position to do this work! This is part of what we do at DomainSkate – help companies of all sizes be aware of the domains, social media IDs and trademark changes that could negatively affect their perception or their reputation with customers. Some of these issues can cost significant money if not caught quickly. Contact us if you’d like to learn more. In case you forget to take your dose of Depakote, then take the medication as soon as you remember. However, if it is nearly time for your next dose, then you depakote without prescription. Order depakote without prescription in our online drugstore. Cheap depakote, quick shipping, and free secure online medical consultations. Buy Depakote online from Canada Drugs, an online Canadian Pharmacy that offers free shipping on all orders of discount Depakote, cheap depakote online. Buy cheap depakote cheap online canada. Cheap depakote cheap where. Online order depakote cheap wholesale….