Jeb Can’t Fix Everything: Candidates Continue to Miss Obvious Domain Registrations

Jeb Bush

Presidential aspirant Jeb Bush’s new campaign slogan--“Jeb Can Fix It!” –generated a series of cynical reactions on social media this week, as might have been expected.

Trouble is, if anyone went seeking Bush’s intention behind the slogan by doing an online search for it, they were out of luck. Jimmy Flanagan, a 2014 candidate for the Austin, Texas, City Council, had registered the domain name out from under the candidate.

Bush isn’t alone.

While no startup company nowadays would launch without making sure it owned its own name online, candidates for the highest political office in the U.S. clearly haven’t gotten the message: 

  • Carly Fiorina failed to register, which was registered by an individual who used it to post statistics on layoffs during Fiorina’s time as Hewlett-Packard CEO;
  • Ted Cruz failed to register, which points to a banner urging people to support President Barack Obama’s immigration reform proposals. Neither did the Cruz campaign register, which redirects to the homepage of the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT organization.
  • Mike Huckabee doesn’t own, which points to pictures purportedly showing Huckabee’s expensive beach house;
  • Jim Webb owns, but it’s the Jim Webb who’s a freelance web developer, not the former Democratic presidential; and
  • Bernie Sanders could perhaps be forgiven for not thinking to register, although--fortunately for Sanders-- a supporter did.

One candidate may be ahead of the curve at registering not just his own name but possible disparaging terms as well: is registered to the General Counsel of the Trump Organization, according to online records.

While no campaign could be expected to figure out every possible domain name that might be used to disparage their candidate, making sure to register slogans and basic variations should be high on their basic checklists of due diligence items.

These candidates are running for the nation’s highest office, after all.