What happens if you don't own the URL of your own name? Ask the 2016 GOP candidates for president.
Democrats fare better in the URL buying game, but not by much.
Ted Cruz forgot to buy his name. TedCruz.com leads to a photo of a smiling Hillary Clinton, with the caption "Next President of the United States of America."
Back in January, TedCruz.com led to a page that read "Support President Obama's Immigration Policy."
Cruz settled for TedCruz.org. Since .org URLs generally redirect to registered charities, it is doubtful that anyone will find Cruz' site organically.
I reported several months earlier that Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz does not own TedCruz.com. They've had months to buy the name, but they apparently didn't bother, even at this late date in the campaign. And TedCruz-2016.com is also up for sale. In the meantime, I bought TedCruz.mobi just for a laugh.
By the way, ScrewTedCruz.com and ScrewTedCruz.net are both available for $12.99. ScrewDonaldTrump.com is registered but ScrewDonaldTrump.net is available. And, yes, ScrewJohnKasich.com is also available.
Donald Trump bought the URL of his name, but not TrumpForPresident.com or Trump2016.com. He should know better, since he was involved in a cybersquatting case in 2012. A Brooklyn man ended up having to pay Trump $32K for developing websites parodying Trump's name.
Republicans are not alone in this problem. HillaryClintonSucks.com is available for $25K and ScrewHillaryClinton.com is available for a mere $11.99. So is ScrewBernieSanders.com. HillaryForPresident.com leads to a right wing site maligning her.
Of course, cybersquatting is nothing new. Microsoft, eBay and Dell are among the many companies that have faced cybersquatting.
But presidential candidates should, by now, know better.
Why is it important to own the URL to your name, plus all variations, nicknames, nasty versions and misspellings? Buying a domain is both easy and cheap. Here's what happens when you don't buy your name:
- Someone else can buy your name and use it against you. (Ask Ted Cruz.)
- If you only own .com, someone else can buy .net, .org, etc. and get a free ride from your marketing efforts.
- Someone may buy your name and try to sell it to you at a higher price.
- Someone may buy your name and abuse you by building a negative website. (Ask Ted Cruz.)
- If you don't register variations, someone can register common misspellings and take advantage of your traffic that comes there. (Ask John Kasich.)