Election 2016: Who’s Winning the Battle Against Internet Trolls?

Giving speeches. Shmoozing with corporations. Kissing babies. And now… snagging up domains?

Running a political campaign is more complicated than it used to be. Now it’s not just important to grab radio and TV time – politicians have to address the thousands of online websites, tweets, and posts that affect public perception.

How are domains affecting the 2016 presidential campaign?

  1. Ted Cruz’s domain misfortunes: Not only was TedCruz.com snagged up by an Arizona attorney who supports immigration reform, but also TedCruzforAmerica.com redirects to Human Rights Campaign. Oops.
  1. Hillary domains selling for big bucks: Domainers span both parties. Currently, a dentist redirects HillaryforPresident.com to a conservative website, and ElectHillary.com is on the market for almost $300,000.  
A woman with her baby shows excitement when the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets them after he speaks at a campaign pep rally, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
A woman with her baby shows excitement when the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets them after he speaks at a campaign pep rally, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Donald Trump’s campaign is trying to buck the trend by buying up every domain that could pertain to his campaign. Think you can come up with a domain name to trump Trump? Try the “Donald Trump Domain Name Generator”!

 

Why Can Domainers Crush Candidates’ Dreams this Way?

Politicians are public figures, not trademarked companies. This means they’re fair game for parody. It’s totally legal as long as their internet-savvy opponents aren’t committing libel or point-blank copying these candidates. Can someone who snags RandPaul.com say Mr. Paul was actually born on Mars and eats babies? No, that’s obviously libel.  But can someone make an entire website dedicated to making fun of Bernie Sanders’s hair? Yup.

 

How to Protect Yourself Against Internet Trolls

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You’re probably not running for president these days, but you might run a blog or work for someone who’s known in the public eye. How do you protect yourself against the trolls who drink You-Flavored Hatorade? Here are some tips from experienced domainer Juliet Morris on snagging up domains before the trolls do:

  1. Grab the key catch phrases. Think about Trump’s “You’re Fired” or Obama’s “Hope and Change.” Owning your catch phrase is a smart move.  
  2. Capitalize on current events: Hillary’s email server issues? Trump’s run-ins with reporters?  All of these are fodder for trolls.  
  3. Remember, trolls are creative. So, set up Google Alerts to track new websites and news items as they come in.

Have you found a funny website or bought an interesting domain name that pertains to the US presidential campaign, or perhaps another public figure?  If so, leave it in the comments! And if you feel the need to snap up some domain names before the trolls get to them, visit our Registrations page

 

 

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