Although Jeb Bush has not officially announced his intentions for 2016, should he throw his hat in the ring he’ll start with a serious problem.
The former Florida governor, who hasn’t held elected office in almost a decade, missed the chance to purchase several domain names related to his name and presidential ambitions, giving their owners free reign to make political mischief on websites that potential Bush supporters might visit.
And unfortunately for Jeb, the new owners of his domain name are not fans.
In 2008, a gay couple living in Austin, Texas, CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater, bought the rights to the domain name JebBushforPresident.com in response to perceived anti-gay sentiment in Texas at the time. They had hoped their site would encourage Bush supporters to participate in LGBTQA conversations.
“This was our original intent; you know, let’s educate people,” Phillips told ABC News. “Let’s try to encourage people to talk to each other about these sorts of things.”
Another website was bought by Republicans, but Republicans who do not want Jeb for President. “Another site, JebBushforPresident.net, was created by a self-described ‘loyal Republican in the hope of saving the Republican Party from supporting Jeb Bush for president,’ and features a plethora of anti-Bush sentiments.”
And not all “Jeb Bush” website owners did so to make a political point. “Rick Katz, an attorney from Miami, bought Jebbush.us. But, luckily for Bush, Katz is eager to sell to the highest bidder. The former governor has yet to make the purchase and the site is still up for grabs.”
On the other hand, Michael Bloomberg bought up 400 different domain names related to his name, including Bloombergistooshort.nyc.
A new domain, .vote, can help those who have otherwise been “cyber-squatted.”
The new domain promises domain names “are only used by legitimate political candidates, political parties, referendums, ballot initiative campaigns and other political participants.”
Monolith Registry is promoting a new top-level domain, dotVOTE (.VOTE) and its Spanish/Italian/Portugueseequivalent, dotVOTE (.VOTO), with safeguards to prevent political cybersquatting.
Chuck Warren, Monolith Registry’s management member and a political consultant with Utah ties, said candidates and committees that adopt .VOTE domains will find a safe and respectful environment for voter interaction without having to worry about cybersquatting.
Looks like Jeb Bush ought to make a call to the .vote folks.