There are some new developments in the great Cornstuble domain name squatting caper. Actually, this has been brewing for at least the past week or two, but I haven’t had the time to post about it.
What has gone on before: Rick Cornstuble and David Sanders are running against each other in the Democratic primary for the opportunity to challenge Republican Steve Buyer to represent Indiana’s 4th Congressional District.
Back on March 30, I discovered that sandersforcongress.com redirected people to the Cornstuble site. (sandersforcongress.org is the official site.) The “.com” Sanders URL is registered to Richard Cornstuble and the technical contact is, I believe, Mr. Cornstuble’s son-in-law.
I mentioned on April 5 that Mr. Cornstuble was taking some heat from local Democratic officials for this maneuver.
As of April 17, 2006, the SandersforCongress.com URL was locked and the registry status is “registrar lock”. I’m not sure what all that means exactly, but it no longer reveals Cornstuble on the whois site and no longer redirects to Cornstuble’s site. Somebody obviously disgruntled about the maneuver posted a screenshot of the old whois information here.
Apparently in response to a dust-up over the issue, Mr. Cornstuble’s campaign manager fell on his sword, stating that the decision to purchase the domain name was entirely his call and was something he did because he thought it would aid his candidate and because he was angry at Dr. Sanders for filing at the last second. The campaign manager said, among other things:
Buying up the domain name was simply a very cheap, cost effective way of drawing attention away from Sanders (and also of pointing out how un-serious of a candidate he is for not buying the .com version of his domain).
So, after having read that, imagine my surprise when I mistyped Mr. Cornstuble’s campaign URL (this time going in reverse, typing the “.org” version instead of the “.com” version) and found myself – – – back at my own site. http://www.corn4congress.org redirects to my original entry on the sandersforcongress redirect.
I assure every one, I had nothing to do with the redirect. In fact, I think this domain squatting and redirecting business reflects poorly on everyone who does it. But, I suppose whoever squatted on the “.org” version of Cornstuble’s URL deserves some credit for being a bit more cagey about the whole thing. It’s registered through some anonymizer called “WhoisProtector Inc.”
As far as Cornstuble’s campaign manager’s fear that a Sanders primary challenge would weaken the Democratic effort, I think he is mistaken. Certainly it threatens the lock Mr. Cornstuble would have had on the nomination, but as far as the Democratic Party’s chances generally, I think a vigorous primary season is helpful. Whoever challenges Buyer is going to have an uphill battle. I think a primary challenge generates momentum for the victor going into the general election.