Note to Politicians: Pay for Your Domains

Because I get many Google Alerts each day, I am on top of just about every news article mentioning domain names. An article theme that is especially common has a title that goes something like this: “Cybersquatter buys domain name of XXXXXX candidate.” Instead of focusing on the fact that the politician forgot to renew his/her domain name, these articles almost always focus on the domain buyer.

On generic domain names, I have very little sympathy. I don’t think I own any common last name domain names, but I believe those are pretty much fair game since nobody has the rights to claim them as their own with many others sharing the same name. Other types of names can be more of a gray area depending on how common the phrase is, but regardless of my opinion and feelings about cybersquatting is the need to protect domain names from others who might want them for a variety of reasons. The onus should be on the politician for choosing not to renew his domain name.

Here are a few suggestions for political candidates when it comes to domain names:

1) Make sure the domain name is registered in the politican’s name, with privacy if he doesn’t want to give out an email address of an assistant. Campaign managers and workers come and go, and if they are getting the notices, the domain name may not be renewed.

2) Register domain names for several years and check on the registration every now and again. Set Blackberry/iPhone calendar alerts for a few years from now, and assuming the calendar is imported when a new mobile device is purchased, the alert will still be active.

3) Keep an active credit card on file

4) Don’t dump campaign domain names – even if they are time sensitive ( for example). They may not be useful in 2012, but they will have inlinks and perhaps some traffic. Maybe the domain names aren’t valuable to the campaign, but they could be valuable to a competitor or a cybersquatter who will monetize it. For $8, it should be a no brainer.

Just like the family who can’t afford to pay the bank for it’s home loan, a domain name will become available for someone else much like a home becomes the property of the bank if there’s a default. Most registrars give plenty of notice and time to renew, so there shouldn’t be a reason not to do it.

No matter what, a previously used campaign domain name has value to someone, and the politician should do whatever it takes to make sure he/she hangs on to associated domain names.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Great advice. For those politicians who happen to read domain blogs or even use the Internet to search or set Google alerts for themselves. Changes are they are not cyber savvy to begin with and I believe if you are in charge of legislating things you need to understand them fully, hands-on.

  2. Elliot:

    As some other times, your post fits perfectly with some discussions and thoughts I have been having recently regarding politicians and domain names, the short story goes like this :

    Here in Mexico (all across the country) we just had elections for deputies, senators, and local politicians.

    All across the country you can see the politic parties propaganda, with the domain names of politicians that are .com , .net, .org or some other extension BUT a dot.MX ccTLD one.

    I wonder: shouldn’t it be sensible for them to use national ccTLD domains ? assuming they are interested in “serving the country”. And even some of them talking about Internet governance, policies, etc. etc. In our case, lot’s of people know and use .MX names.

    Interestingly, this also happens in some other countries I have visited recently, so Mexican politicians are not alone in this.

    We all know the difference between a .com and a .ccTLD in the domain industry, but, for a politician, what is the politically correct domain name extension to use ?

    …Maybe get both names or many names…following a previous post here about which domains to use for your company….

    Material for your thoughts……

    Kind regard from Mexico City.

    Felipe Barousse

  3. @ Felipe

    Some good points. Here in the US, since most people are most familiar with .com and .org, those would be the most suitable names. The .org is frequently used because a lot of politicians have political action committees that like the .org branding (trust factor).

    I have seen a few politicians use .US but can’t remember off the top of my head.

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