Former US President Barack Obama acquired the Obama.org domain name, and it is now being used for the Obama Foundation website. President Obama announced the news on his Twitter handle yesterday:
In the meantime, I want to hear what you’re thinking about the road ahead. So share your ideas with me here: https://t.co/GYkEOK8EuT
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 20, 2017
When researching the Whois records for this domain name, I noticed a domain name industry connection. Prior to the recent privatization of the Whois information for Obama.org, the owner of the domain name was listed as industry veteran Kellie Peterson. Kellie now works on the domain registrar side of Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com.
According to NameBio, Obama.org was acquired via NameJet in 2011 for $2,800. Based on Historical Whois records from DomainTools, it looks to me like this was a privately held domain name that was auctioned instead of an expired domain auction. Kellie was the winning bidder in the auction, and she told me that she acquired the domain name on behalf of the President and his campaign.
Interestingly, as Kellie recalls, it was someone who was “frontrunning” the NameJet auction who alerted the President’s team to the auction. Kellie’s friend (Harper Reed) was CTO of President Obama’s campaign, and he reached out to Kellie to bid on behalf of the President once the campaign learned the domain name would be auctioned. Kellie told me that she occasionally helped the campaign with domain name related questions.
Kellie commented on working with the President and his team to acquire the domain name for the Foundation:
“I was thrilled to be helping the campaign, and most recently the Foundation, with their domain name needs. More than anything, I was thrilled to have a president with such a savvy digital team. I wish more candidates, at every level of government, were more together on their digital asset strategy. I’ve tried helping other campaigns and it’s not always met with warmth.”
President Obama owns BarackObama.com, which is used as the website for The Office of Barack and Michelle Obama. BarackObama.org is also owned by the President, and that forwards to Obama.org. The President does not own Obama.com.
It was neat to see this domain industry connection when reading about President Obama’s Foundation.