This is a costly move, but in today’s modern world of political cyber-squatting, a necessary evil. If the Republican National Committee or sister committee doesn’t lock it down, chances are in today’s “Take-No-Prisoners’” online political war, your enemies will.
But this not cheap. A friend I know tells me that locking down a domain runs about a cool half-million; which is why it is rarely done. However, since your organization now has oversight over a domain, you can make up that money over time by charging around $25 to $50 a URL to candidates, committees and other loyal entities.
The Republican State Leadership Committee, a group that focuses on electing Republicans to state-level offices, won custody of the domain in the spring after an Internet governing body invited groups to vie for hundreds of new domains.
Now, in a plan first shared with POLITICO, the committee is soliciting information from Republicans interested in having .gop sites. It is operating on an internal timeline that would allow those sites to get up and running by the first quarter of 2014.
“At the RSLC, we do pride ourselves on trying to look a little further down the road and take a longer view of things,” Chairman Ed Gillespie said in an interview, citing work the committee already does to recruit local candidates who may rise into the ranks of the national party one day. “I think we’re well positioned for that.”
The domain project fits into that vision, Gillespie said, because it can potentially “foster a broader sense of community” for Republicans on the Internet and boost GOP branding through sites such as news.gop or polling.gop.
Most people and groups seeking sites with .gop domains will be able to register them in “real time,” said President Chris Jankowski in a statement. “But certain names that are especially relevant to our community are subject to a different process for registration which is standard industry practice.”
The committee is also working on a selection process to ensure that no mischief-makers will be able to get their hands on “.gop” domains. A move that not only makes sense, but would be crucial.
Last thing you want to have happen is a porn site floating out there with a “.gop” domain.
Now the question remains is which campaigns for 2014 will be the first to spend $50 for what is essentially a vanity URL.