Will US Presidential Candidate Cyber Confusion Continue?
Is anyone else getting a sense of digital déjà vu regarding our 2016 U.S. presidential candidates? Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and others are well known candidates. But none of the candidates owned all the right domain names:
TedCruz.com displays a message "SUPPORT PRESIDENT OBAMA. IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW!"
JebBush.com re-directs to Donald Trump’s website.
GeorgePataki.com registered to Pataki’s campaign. His name on other popular domains appear to be registered by speculators.
RickSantorum.com is registered to Santorum’s campaign. However, RickSantorum.net and RickSantorum.info are available. RickSantorum.org is registered but the registrant’s information is shielded from the public.
With Lindsey Graham’s domain names, .org and .com are registered to his campaign. However, .info is registered at a registrar in India and.net is up for grabs.
.com, .net and others can be registered by anyone – including the candidates’ opponents and used for any purpose – the good news is there is ONE domain where candidates’ names cannot be used in a misleading manner or used to disparage the candidate: .VOTE. That’s because all addresses in the .VOTE domain enjoy the protection of policies intended to enhance voter confidence in the digital political arena.
The issue of misleading domain addresses is a plague to the entire political process, and it is amazing how many candidates fail to register relevant web domain names.
Their infamous mistakes have given political news reporters, tech bloggers, and even late night show hosts the best materials in the last couple of months:
- ChrisChristie.com is owned by a computer programmer while ChrisChristie.net a mortgage planning specialist
- BenCarson.net is owned by a web developer of the same name and redirects to his business' site
- HillaryClinton.net redirects to Carly Fiorina’s official campaign site
- CarlyFiorina.org shows the number of people Fiorina has laid off at HP
- TedCruzForAmerica.com redirects to healthcare.gov
Stop the Confusion Now
Domain names by nature welcome creativity. While not owning the candidate’s exact name match in all popular top level domains seems careless, what about variations of the candidate’s name? TedCruzforAmerica.com and JebBushForPresident.com are just one out of the infinite number of possibilities. And with the launch of new top level domains, how can any candidate buy them all?
The answer is: they can’t and they don’t have to. Because the new “.VOTE” and its Spanish/Italian/Portuguese counterpart “.VOTO” have redefined the benefits of domain names and offer a new form of protection. These two web addresses are the ONLY ones dedicated to the entire political space encompassing all political parties and they:
- Offer a stronger registration policy that bans deceptive and derogatory names. A .VOTE domain name must accurately describe the content on its site. If the web address is “HillaryClinton.vote,” the content must support Hillary Clinton.
- Require a connection between the domain name and the registrant’s activities.
- Prohibit anonymous registrations. While many top level domains allow “proxy” registration, wherein the registrant’s information is hidden from the public, all registrations on .VOTE and .VOTO must be made accessible to the public. Simply search for a domain name on www.get.vote or www.get.voto; if the name is registered, the registrant’s information will be provided.
- Facilitates processes so that non-compliant names can be reported, investigated and when warranted, removed promptly. This is unprecedented on the web, where you can literally register anything you want any time you want, with little chance of repercussion.
With this new Internet address, voters will know that .VOTE and .VOTO sites are only allowed under strict conditions. Confusion ends right here!
A Vision of Political Honesty
www.CarlyFiorina.vote, and www.CarlyFiorina.voto. Several Secretaries of State have put their official voter information sites on .VOTE (e.g., www.arizona.vote and www.alabama.vote), and many more are expected to adopt these memorable and simple addresses to make it easier for voters to find official information on voting rights, registration, times, locations, etc.
As more and more voting-related sites adopt .VOTE and .VOTO addresses, .VOTE/.VOTO will become THE political web address by default as designed. Voters will look no further than the .VOTE/.VOTO domains to avoid the deception that has become the norm in ordinary Internet addresses.
We invite seated elected officials as well as candidates for office to get their .VOTE and .VOTO domain names now.