Since cybersquatters are an everyday threat to brands around the globe, it should come as no surprise that even 2016 US Presidential candidates have come under attack domain-wise. Take a look at what’s happening on some of the domains using the candidates’ names, courtesy of The Hill:
Visitors are met with the message: “Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. So I'm using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard.” That’s followed by frowning faces allegedly representing every person laid off during Fiorina’s stint as CEO of the IT company.
Shows this message: “Support President Obama. Immigration reform now!”
Redirects to the Human Rights Campaign, a non-profit supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights.
The owners of this site originally posted the following: “So, why JebBushForPresident.com? Simply put, he was pretty vocal about not extending rights to LGBTQ peoples, and the domain name was available. Honestly, he's got family connections, a whole lotta cash, and a political party behind him... We've got the internet and a couple of hours a day outside of work, school, and tending to the household.” As of this writing, the site’s message has a taken different approach with this: “We’re all in this together. . . Let's have a Chat, Share Viewpoints, and Learn from Each Other” and clearly states, “This page is not associated with the Jeb Bush Campaign.”
Includes a list of links to candy websites.
We didn’t even visit this one since it reportedly spreads malware.
Now back in Senator Bernie Sanders’ hands, this domain issue was easily resolved. Once its owner got to meet Sen. Sanders, he transferred ownership over to him.
In late September, Republican candidate Donald Trump took action to stop StopTrump.us, a website that was selling anti-Trump merchandise emblazoned with the real estate mogul’s face and name and phrases like “Donald is Dumb” and “Stop Trump.” The site said: “StopTrump is a social enterprise that sells t-shirts and other apparel to donate a percentage of our revenues to organizations that support democracy, immigrant rights and Latino education.”
Trump’s General Counsel sent a cease-and-desist letter threatening legal action if the site wasn’t taken down by September 30. The letter stated: "As I am sure you are aware, the Trump® name is internationally known and famous as a result of Mr. Trump's long, extensive, and high-profile business and entertainment related activities. Mr. Trump is the owner of the Trump® name as a trademark, as well as hundreds of additional trademarks that incorporate the Trump® name, all of which we scrupulously protect."
As of this writing, Stop Trump.us now redirects to a domain called AmericaAlreadyGreat.com that says its mission is “to counteract the divisive comments of Mr. Donald Trump's presidential bid for 2016.”
Would visitors who viewed the original content on StopTrump.us think they had landed on a Trump-owned site? Not likely. Eugene Volokh, a law professor, wrote in The Washington Post that Trump had no case since trademark law doesn’t cover political criticism. As an obvious parody site, StopTrump.us visitors were not likely to be confused about its relationship to candidate Trump. One thing is for sure — Trump got some free publicity out of that story.
These examples are intended to make you more aware of the issues that can arise when your brand(s) are misused by cybersquatters. We’ve got a solid record of enforcement at Corsearch and have a number of ways that we can help you monitor and protect your brand(s) on the Internet. Want to learn more? Visit the Corsearch website.