Tanya Meck, campaign manager for Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, says she isn’t worried about Bysiewicz’s domain name being up for sale since the campaign plans to stick with www.Susan2010.com in her bid for attorney general.
Rep. Cameron Staples, D-New Haven, who also is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general, said he was surprised when he learned about it, but is not particularly worried, either.
Dan Sullivan, who sells domain names as a hobby and owns both www.SusanBysiewicz.com and www.CameronStaples.com, in addition to similar sites such as www.CameronStaples2010.com and www.Susan2012.com. The later, www.Susan2012.com, may become a coveted site in the future if she decides to challenge U.S. Joseph Lieberman in 2012 – a possibility she didn’t rule out when she announced a few weeks ago.
It’s not clear whether Bysiewicz would have used her name for a Web domain anyway. Meck says that because “Bysiewicz” is difficult to spell for some people, they already had settled on www.Susan2010.com.
However, Sullivan challenges that notion, saying the Google search engine makes suggestions for Bysiewicz as soon as you start typing “Susan By.”
“This means Susan Bysiewicz is an exact Google search term and keyword rich,” Sullivan wrote in an email Tuesday. “In the world of search engine optimization, SusanBysiewicz.com is the only domain name that is most important and most valuable.”
Reached for a telephone interview Tuesday, Staples said he was a little surprised when he discovered his domain name was gone. “But I’m not concerned about it,” he added.
“There are other ways to communicate aside from a Web site,” Staples said.
Staples does not have a campaign Web site yet.
But in this digital age, political Web sites—especially those with the candidate’s name—are important tools for messaging and fundraising.
While he didn’t disclose the selling price, Sullivan says he sold U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, her Web site: www.kirstengillibrand.com.
Of the 200 domain names Sullivan says he currently holds, the one that has drawn the most offers is: www.61727-054.com in all extensions including .net, .org and .info. The number is Bernie Madoff’s federal inmate number.
Sullivan goes by “edomainhunter” online. Asked if his hobby might be considered a form of extortion, Sullivan said his sale of domain names does not fit the legal definition of “extortion” because he has “not tried to sell these to either party.”
He added that domain names are available to be purchased by anyone in the world and that as politicians, “both Susan Bysiewicz and Cameron Staples have 15-plus years each in an elected office and both have not once registered their domain names during this time. Fifteen years is more than reasonable time to register your name. Extortion… No! Domain business… Yes !”
The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999 made it easy for individuals and companies to take over domain names that are confusingly similar to their names or valid trademarks. But disputes over these domain names don’t have to take place in court. They can be handled by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is running for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat, already owns www.RichardBlumenthal.com. Sullivan says other domain names in any combination of Blumenthal “would be worth no more than $15-$20 dollars” and therefore aren’t worth his time.
Rick Hancock, an assistant professor in residence at the University of Connecticut who knows his way around the Internet and is a social media guru, warned his readers last January about the dangers of not buying their domain name.
“I’ve experienced the disappointment of not getting my preferred .com name firsthand. Several years ago I tried to register my name as a Web domain, but the .com version of www.rickhancock was already taken. I had to ‘settle’ for the less popular .net,” Hancock said in this post on Rick’s RSS feed.
“The more popular you or your business becomes, the more likely it is cyber prospectors will target your name and will register it before you even know it. It could be costly to try and grab your name back,” Hancock warned.
Click here to see some of the top domain name sales of 2009.
“You can see the domain after market is huge and well worth a $10 investment,” Sullivan wrote in his email.