Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: email@example.com
Planning to run for governor in 2010? Or 2014? Or 2018? Get your domain name now. Don't let a cybersquatter shake you down for the Web site name you've always dreamed of.
It happened to Meg Whitman, former chief executive of eBay, now California gubernatorial candidate. A Santa Monica man bought the rights to several Web sites, including WhitmanForGovernor.com and MegWhitman2010.com, according to a Washington Post op-ed piece.
Negotiations, Internet arbitration and litigation to get those sites back failed. Instead, she wrote a check to the cybersquatter for "an undisclosed sum," which sounds like a lot of money might have been extracted from Whitman, a billionaire.
Whitman's not the only one snagged by a political domain-name snatcher. Someone bought RudyForPresident.com eight days after 9/11. BarackObama2008.com was taken within hours of the then-senator's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
The op-ed writer, a political law attorney, suggests a ".pol" domain be created by the administrative body that runs the Web that only political candidates could register for. "A .pol domain would significantly reduce the extortion, confusion, fraud and reputation exploitation associated with political cybersquatting," writes Matthew T. Sanderson.
Interesting idea. Will it happen?
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.