What’s in a (domain) Name?

Domain for Sale

Have you ever considered what goes into deciding on and getting a domain name? Not just any name, but one specifically needed for your business or cause. There are pitfalls of waiting until the last minute to get the domain name you need for your business, non-profit, or even a Presidential bid. Obviously the majority of us will not run for President of the United States (POTUS), yet the likelihood of us starting an online business or website to support a charitable group we administer is very likely.

With the campaign for the Presidency heating up and Democrats and Republicans preparing for their respective primary elections, some questions still remain. Is Jeb Bush actually running for President in 2016? Just a few days ago, on 13 May 2015, Jeb bush inadvertently announced his intentions to seek the nomination by saying, “Jeb Bush Running for President 2016, and the focus is going to be about how we, if I run, how do you create high sustained economic growth,” yet seemed to change his announcement mid-sentence. Furthermore, in other statements to the press he has recanted, “No, no I’m not an official candidate.”

Should Jeb Bush eventually decide to run, he will have at least two problems. Although it may seem inconsequential to some, two anti-Bush websites have already been set up. These websites would lead most people who are interested in Jeb Bush to believe these are official pages for the candidate: http://jebbushforpresident.com/ and http://jebbushforpresident.net/. However, the first belongs to a gay couple in Texas who promotes LGBTQ rights and the second: “This website was prepared by a loyal Republican in the hope of saving the Republican Party from supporting Jeb Bush for president.” The owner claims Jeb Bush is not a conservative, but a social liberal.

In fairness to all the candidates whose negative websites are used in this article, the official website for these candidates is listed at the end of the article.

When Rand Paul decided to announce his candidacy for POTUS in the next presidential election in 2016, he found to his dismay that RandPaul.com was bought by a domain name service and it cost him more than $100,000 to buy it back.

In the fight for the White House in 2016, Republicans vs Democrats, the high cost of political ads and political campaigns are not the only obstacles shared by both political parties. It seems the right to use your own name for your home page could meet with difficulties.

Simply buying your name is not always a solution or an option. As noted in the Newser article: Rand Paul’s Domain Name Problem Cost Him $100K, Carly Fiorina, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz all share the problem of their names leading voters interested in their issues to sites that do not necessarily support them as candidates.

It would appear that since all these domain name complications belong to Republicans that the Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, planned ahead and own their name.

Additionally, in a recent court ruling, Donald Trump won his arbitration hearing when Judge Blackmer stated, “The business of buying and selling domain names can be a legitimate enterprise, but it does not confer rights to use for that purpose a domain name identical or confusingly similar to another party’s trademark.” Perhaps Rand Paul should have taken his conflict to court. Donald Trump may also be a candidate for President in 2016, although in a WSJ/NBC poll 74 percent of the primary voters “said they can’t see themselves supporting Trump in the race for the White House.”

Why do you think these people bought domain names of presidential aspirants? Besides the obvious answer of trying to make money off those aspirants by selling them their own name, there is the keyword aspect of it. When a person types in Rand Paul, they expect the search engine results page (SERP) to return the Official Home Page of the candidate.

Many use the unethical black hat SEO practice called “doorway pages,” which when a searcher clicks on it will redirect the searcher to another page that the website owner hopes will bring customers to their site. But, this practice will further destroy their SEO efforts with a high “bounce rate,” and cost them more in Price-Per-Click (PPC). According to Google Analytics: “Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).”

A domain name can have significant ramifications for brand recognition, and in structuring the URL for a website. Having a domain name that is synonymous with your brand can help searchers find your website through search engine results when you apply a strategy of using keywords and phrases while structuring path and page names.

As you can see, having the right domain name can be crucial in your campaign, whether that’s political, business, or even non-profit.

Sources:

The POTUS candidates’ official pages:

In the interest of fairness, if we missed your candidate, feel free to email to get your candidate’s official page added to the list.

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