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Eye On Olympia

Rule 1 for candidates: Buy your name…

Running for office — or even thinking about it? Here’s a hint: Buy your domain name before your critics do.

State Attorney General candidate John Ladenburg got an unpleasant suprise last week when he found that a staffer for the King County Republicans had bought the rights to the domain names www.johnladenburg.com and www.johnladenburg.org. They were registered by Matthew Lundh, treasurer and political director of the Republican group. Whois records show that the sites were registered last November. (Lundh said he saw Ladenburg listed as a candidate on a Christmas party invitation from the Democrats — months before Ladenburg announced he was running.)

Ladenburg, a Democrat, calls himself “the rightful owner” of that domain and said he “wonders if the web identity will be used to build a Republican website misleading voters” about his career and record.

In an interesting sentence, Ladenburg said that the purchase of a site with his name by someone else “is not a crime, but it is purposeful, and if used to spread lies and misleading information, then I do consider it a type of theft.” He’d rather you visit www.ladenburg.org.

Lundh said he had no plans to put up a hit website.

“I registered it more to make a point,” he said. The point: that someone who’s made identity theft and cybercrime a key part of his criticism of Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna should at least know enough about the internet to buy his own name.

“He’s kind of way out of his league here,” said Lundh. “You’d think he probably would have registered this 15 years ago.”

Lundh said he’ll happily transfer the sites to Ladenburg if he’s reimbursed for the $7.95 or so he paid for each. He said neither Ladenburg nor anyone from his campaign has ever contacted him.

“If they want them, they can have them,” he said.

So, you ask, what other domains are still available out there? A quick check shows that all the major “gregoire” domains have been bought up, although apparently mostly by Gregoires who have no obvious link to Gov. Chris Gregoire. All the “rossi” domains: also gone.

Surprisingly, www.chrisgregoire.biz remains available, as does www.dinorossi.biz. At least for now.


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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