Politicians, Candidates Fail to Protect Their Domain Names

With the crucial midterm elections coming up in less than two months, The New York Times points out that when researching candidates on the Web, things aren’t always what they seem, as URLs that contain candidates’ names often point users to Web sites created by their opponents, or even out-of-state members of the rival party.

The Times reports that BobMenendez.com does not bring Web surfers to a site for Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), but to Sharon Angle for U.S. Senate, a page for the campaign of Sharon Angle, who is running for Senate in Nevada as a Republican. One of the main uses of the site is to discredit Democrats.

Similarly, as reported by the Times, bradellsworth.org is not pro-Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), but instead linked to Bad for Indiana, on which the state Republican Party claims that Ellsworth is a “reliable rubber stamp for liberal policies,” among other things.

The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse told the Times fewer than 50 percent of senators and some 40 percent of representatives own their “fullname.com” domain names, and the numbers are 32 percent and 22 percent, respectively, for “fullname.org,” and president Josh Bourne told the Times, “I’ve been amazed on how many congressmen don’t have the same sense of brand as businesses have.”

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