It might sound like a scam when you’re registering a domain: You’re encouraged to pick up the .net, .org, .us and a slew of other options when you register that .com. Unless you’re a huge corporation, you probably don’t need to do this—big emphasis on the word “probably.” Celebrities are also wise to pick up every possible domain, just like Taylor Swift’s agent did for her. However, the concept of “celebrity” can sometimes happen suddenly and you never really know when parody sites about you might pop up. Presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina learned this the hard way when someone registered the .org version of her website and used it to sully her reputation.
“May the Fourth” was against Carly. On this date she garnered over 50,000 searches for her name, which is no surprise since she had just officially announced her bid for president. A lot of people are vying for the POTUS position in 2016, but Carly is particularly of interest for a number of reasons (and not all of them positive).
Let the Mudslinging Begin
Something she’ll have to overcome is the “common knowledge” that she laid off 30,000 people at Hewlett-Packard. The registrant of her faux .org address put 30,000 sad emoticons on the site with the text: “Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. So I’m using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard. It was this many: (Insert sad faces here). That’s 30,000 people she laid off. People with families. And what does she say she would have done differently?”
The .org site goes on to cite Fiorina as saying, “I would have done them all faster,” though it was likely taken out of context. With a little digging, Inquisitr found out that the .org domain has been registered since late 2014 to a “private user” who snagged it via Host Gator. The registrant is based out of Toronto, Ontario, but that’s all that’s known thanks to privacy laws. It’s likely the owner will never “come out,” but hopefully Fiorina’s marketing, PR, tech and reputation management team have learned their lesson: If there’s an opportunity for easy mudslinging, it’ll happen.
Angling for President
This early in the presidential race, it’s likely many Americans haven’t even heard Fiorina’s name, or at least don’t know much about her. Now, what most people will “know” is that she “likes” laying off thousands of people and wishes she would have done it sooner. Of course, HP is a Fortune 50 company and Fiorina made history when she became the first female CEO of any Fortune 50 company. She was also the senior VP of AT&T, charged with hardware/systems management—which further suggests she should have known better when it came to protecting her online reputation.
However, some experts (including those at Bloomberg) say that how she plays off this stunt might give her the best competitive edge in the presidential race. She can either ignore it, tackle it head-on or play it off as a joke (probably not the best tactic). Luckily for others, it’s not too late to scoop up all available, like domain names. The next time you register a domain, consider the upside to picking up all the extras. And if you ever run for president, buying up domains in your name is a fast and affordable way to prevent a debacle.