National Rifle Association Member Poaches Obama 501c4 Website

Guess all the smart tech peo­ple who were on-board dur­ing the cam­paign aren’t on the clock anymore.


At the begin­ning of the year, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s new 501©4 polit­i­cal non­profit, Orga­niz­ing For Action, was launched with all the usual bells and whis­tles. But the tech wiz­ards at OFA for­got one impor­tant rule in today’s Inter­net world: Reg­is­ter all the iter­a­tions of your web­site address before some­one else does.

Now Obama’s team is fil­ing com­plaints against the folks smart enough to get the addresses before he did.

As Obama’s OFA made its debut, no one in his pur­port­edly Internet-savvy cam­paign had obtained the cor­re­spond­ing .com, .net, .org or .us sites, nor did OFA reg­is­ter other names that are close to its offi­cial one, as is the sen­si­ble prac­tice. In the case of the .net address, a fel­low named Derek Bovard had already reg­is­tered the .net address by the time Obama’s team took notice.

Bovard has routed his new site to the home­page of the National Rifle Association.

So, when­ever any­one goes to they end up see­ing the home­page of the NRA.

Not sur­pris­ingly, OFA is pissed and has filed a com­plaint to the Inter­net Cor­po­ra­tion for Names and Num­bers (ICANN) which rules, runs and con­trols all URLs.

Bovard says he believes he has a solid claim to the domain and has doc­u­men­ta­tion from the U.S. Patent Office to back him up.  Chances are, if he’s forced to give it up, he may well be allowed to be com­pen­sated for it.

Time will tell what hap­pens next, but the idea that as sophis­ti­cated an Inter­net oper­a­tion as OFA got pwned like this is too hilar­i­ous to ignore.

UPDATE — Don’t feel too sorry for OFAIt was reported this week­end that those who raise $500,000 get a pri­vate brief­ing with Pres­i­dent Obama along with other high-level mem­bers of the admin­is­tra­tion in an arrange­ment which makes the sell­ing of the Lin­coln Bed­room under Clin­ton look like child’s play.

The White House had a fun press brief­ing today try­ing to avoid explain­ing what they were doing.

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