RonPaul.com would be the intuitive destination for Internet users searching for the official website of former Texas Representative Ron Paul. Visitors to the site soon discover that it is not an official page but rather a fan page, a fact that is clearly displayed across the top of the site, which was first registered in 2000 and started as a fan site in 2008. Now, Ron Paul wants control of the site, as well as RonPaul.org, which the site’s owners also hold.
Until now, Paul has used the site CampaignForLiberty.org as his official online home. The site, which primarily hosts content pertaining to the Campaign for Liberty, a political nonprofit that Paul created, features information about the politician himself as well, but is not as intuitive for individuals searching for Ron Paul’s homepage.
Now that Paul wants control of RonPaul.com, he’s seeking help from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a U.N. agency, where he filed his UDRP complaint, according to Mashable. It is interesting that the former Texas Rep., who has been openly anti-U.N. in the past, calling it ” rife with corruption and backroom deals” and anti-American in a 2003 letter, now is looking to the organization to help him reclaim a domain name. WIPO is the most widely known agency for resolving UDRP complaints, but Paul alternatively could have filed with the National Arbitration Forum, which has a higher proportion of American panelists. It is even more interesting, however is that he seems to be looking to reclaim a site that is supportive of his agenda, and doing so after his retirement from Congress, which occurred after his term ended in January.
Part of a sound domain name reclaim plan is prioritizing which domain names to pursue, and generally, pursuing fan pages can do more harm than good. It’s also an unexpected move since Ron Paul and his campaign have been known for embracing the power that the Internet has to reach, cultivate, and activate a fan base, experimenting with platforms such as YouTube to do get his message out.
The sites’ owners criticized Paul’s filing in a post displayed on RonPaul.com. In it, they explain that the filing is “not cool,” and that they tried to arrange a deal with Paul in which they would exchange RonPaul.com and its mailing list of 170,000 for $250,000, which they believe is a good deal for the politician. When he didn’t accept and filed his UDRP complaint, the owners hired a lawyer to represent them in their attempt to maintain control of both domain names.
The domain name owners believe that they have a good case, but we will see what the panel decides.