Let this be a reminder to register your domain names. Organizing For Action, the non-profit activism offshoot of the Obama campaign, doesn't own organizingforaction.com. Or .net. Or .org. And the owners of the domains certainly don't seem to agree with OFA's politics.
An arbitrator has denied the organization’s effort to obtain the domain name organizingforaction.net, registered by a quick-moving computer technician in Castle Rock, Colo., on Jan. 18, when the news broke that Obama’s former advisors were launching the group.
Derek Bovard proceeded to configure the site so all the hits were directed to the website for the National Rifle Assn. It was one of three domain names for Organizing for Action that the group failed to register before it launched.
In a previous article, Gold described how Bovard got the domain. He was watching Fox News when the new organization was announced, and quickly "jumped on the computer and snapped up the domain name."
“I’m for the Second Amendment,” Bovard said. “I’m not in agreement with a lot of things that are going on right now. If they don’t like it, they can buy it from me.”
While the site no longer points to the NRA, the Internet Archive captured it when it did.
In response, a representative of the Democratic Party in Georgia registered DerekBovard.com (and .net and .org) and redirected the domains to information about the Sandy Hook shooting. (Bovard's response: "I'm happy to see this person is exercising his First Amendment right provided to him by a country that was created by the armed 'People.'") OrganizingForAction.net now points to Dr. Ben Carson's National Prayer Breakfast speech.
Meanwhile, the .com and .org versions of organizingforaction were purchased by a person the Times describes as "a registered Republican who lives in Wellington, Fla." They both point to a largely blank page which includes the following notice:
The website OrganizingForAction.com is NOT affiliated with any 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or other entity or business that uses the generic phrase Organizing For Action as all or a portion of its name. OrganizingForAction.com is not seeking to prevent you from contacting any such entities, businesses, or their websites, or to disrupt their activities. Therefore, if you are seeking a different entity, business, or website, it is suggested that you perform a Google or other Internet search to locate it.
Luckily for OFA, they still have access to a much better domain — BarackObama.com — part of their innovative package deal with the remnants of the Obama campaign. That's the other lesson here: Sometimes domain names don't point to the organizations you might be expecting.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.