Gingrich punk'd in perpetuity?
December 22, 2011 6:53 PM   Subscribe

Shockingly, Newt Gingrich does not own newtgingrich.com. Instead, a group of pranksters called American Bridge 21st Century have used the domain to redirect visitors to various sites and stories that cast him in a negative light. For maximum entertainment, copy and paste the URL into your address bar. Lather, rinse, repeat.

"We thought of giving it away, but we wouldn't want to be accused of being socialists," the ad reads. "So, make your best offer. We're asking for $1 million, but we'd be happy to accept $500,000 in bling. Heck in the spirit of Christmas we might even let it go for $10,000."
posted by gman (53 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
This site used to link to intrade.com, a futures market for political candidates.
posted by flyinghamster at 6:57 PM on December 22, 2011


American Bridge are not just a group of pranksters, they are a Democratic Super PAC (and quite a large one).
posted by jaduncan at 6:57 PM on December 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hasn't someone played with this before, maybe a year or two ago? If not, there's some other major Republican politician who doesn't own the most logical URLs for his name.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:59 PM on December 22, 2011


*indignant spluttering*

"This is most outrageous! We need to pass laws against..."

DUN DUN DUNNNNN

"...the internet!"
posted by fleetmouse at 6:59 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The best part was the links under the dollar amounts:
"We thought of giving it away, but we wouldn't want to be accused of being socialists," the ad reads. "So, make your best offer. We're asking for $1 million, but we'd be happy to accept $500,000 in bling. Heck in the spirit of Christmas we might even let it go for $10,000."
posted by birdherder at 7:01 PM on December 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


For maximum entertainment, copy and paste the URL into your address bar. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Or just hit refresh.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:01 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Newt doesn't make deals with terrorists.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:02 PM on December 22, 2011


ICANN dispute in 5... 4... 3... 2...
posted by deadmessenger at 7:02 PM on December 22, 2011


Or...just spout off and sound like an idiot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:03 PM on December 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


flyinghamster: This site used to link to intrade.com, a futures market for political candidates.

Still does, randomly.

Brandon Blatcher: Or just hit refresh.

Once the redirect occurs, hitting refresh simply takes me back to the same random site, rather than a new one. You getting something different?
posted by gman at 7:03 PM on December 22, 2011


the dems should be encourage the newts and cains and bachmans of the world. those would be a godsend in the general election. when romney gets the nomination, we could fall into a very boring election, mud slinging of "no, you're too centrist! and accidentally end up with a republican president.
posted by nadawi at 7:03 PM on December 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


This seems a bit juvinile. Way to elevate the discourse Democrats
posted by humanfont at 7:04 PM on December 22, 2011


"As the name-jacked domains are set up using non-trademarked names and they have a purpose other than selling the domain name back to an individual, they circumvent the "Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act" (ACPA) laws U.S.C. § 1125 and U.S.C. § 1129. Since people frequently search the web to find out information, name jacking provides low-cost web traffic to the name-jacked website."
posted by leotrotsky at 7:04 PM on December 22, 2011


Yeah refresh doesn't work after the forward. Hitting back reloads newtgingrich.com and I get forwarded again, ad infininitum.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:05 PM on December 22, 2011


I got freddiemac, and then Tiffany. Brilliant.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:10 PM on December 22, 2011


ad infininitum sounds incomprehensibly scary.
posted by phaedon at 7:11 PM on December 22, 2011


This seems a bit juvinile. Way to elevate the discourse Democrats

It only matters if you're less juvenile than the other side, and need I remind you, one of them unironically quoted the theme song to the Pokemon movie.
posted by JHarris at 7:12 PM on December 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Or just hit refresh.

No, that doesn't work. Try it.
posted by John Cohen at 7:13 PM on December 22, 2011


"As the name-jacked domains are set up using non-trademarked names and they have a purpose other than selling the domain name back to an individual, they circumvent the "Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act" (ACPA) laws U.S.C. § 1125 and U.S.C. § 1129. Since people frequently search the web to find out information, name jacking provides low-cost web traffic to the name-jacked website.

When I search Google for Newt Gingrich this name-jacked site doesn't appear on the first few pages of results so that's not working.
posted by birdherder at 7:13 PM on December 22, 2011


It only matters if you're less juvenile than the other side

No.
posted by Roman Graves at 7:16 PM on December 22, 2011


Way to elevate the discourse Democrats

Given that someone felt the need to come in on Saturday and scrub a bunch of cross hairs off Palin's site on January 8th 2011 for some reason or another, I'd call this a lofty pillar or rhetoric.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:16 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


ad infininitum sounds incomprehensibly scary.

Yeah I um... Meant to type that.

damn autocorrect, Y U make me look like idiot
posted by Ad hominem at 7:18 PM on December 22, 2011


This seems a bit juvinile.

yeah well they started it.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:19 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm shocked he hasn't attempted to trademark his name, given the number of businesses he's running based primarily on his name recognition. Morgan Freeman successfully had WIPO boot a cybersquatter running a similar game.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:20 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


(not a fan of Newt, but I just took a trademark class. FUN!)
posted by leotrotsky at 7:21 PM on December 22, 2011


I got freddiemac, and then Tiffany. Brilliant.

Yeah, but removed from the context of the lobbying or frivolous spending debacles, it doesn't do much to educate a voter. It's just an inside joke for those who know, and a big what-happened-to-my-browser-it's-out-of-control for those who don't. They should have a better link bank.
posted by troll at 7:23 PM on December 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


*continuing the analysis* I'm wondering if a simple redirect would be sufficient meet a 'bad faith' test.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:28 PM on December 22, 2011


Yeah, but removed from the context of the lobbying or frivolous spending debacles, it doesn't do much to educate a voter. It's just an inside joke for those who know, and a big what-happened-to-my-browser-it's-out-of-control for those who don't. They should have a better link bank.

Until the press mention the web site divert with context.
posted by jaduncan at 7:29 PM on December 22, 2011


I got linked to a video where he and a prominant Democratic congressman emphasize the need for bipartisan cooperation on the common issue of climate change.

Gosh how embarrasing for him.
posted by Winnemac at 7:30 PM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, in 2007 I tried a whole long list of people who I thought might be running for 2012 so I could snap up a domain for something comical. Everyone had parked their name domains even if there was no content. I never even presumed that Newt Gingrich of all people would dare to run. Joke's on me!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:31 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hilarious Proof That Newt Gingrich’s Campaign Is All About Hawking Dumb DVDs
posted by homunculus at 7:32 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re: trademark & ICANN stuff

First off, I can't speak to the ACPA. But I just wrote a (terrible) paper on domain names, so I can at least mention a few interesting things.

Assuming he doesn't go to the court but uses the standard protocol for domain name stuff, he'd be using the UDRP.

UDRP doesn't actually require a trade-mark, but there have been some issues with personal names when they are not carrying on a commercial enterprise. Hilary Clinton almost lost a proceeding early on, but it was saved due to her books, which are commercial. I think Gingrich is fine there.

However, there needs to be registration and use in bad faith, as leotrotsky alluded to. The big thing that goes to bad faith (which I argued is problematic, but nevermind) is commercial use. Trying to profit off the confusion (or harm a competitor, same thing). If they're actually redirecting to stories harming Gingrich politically (as opposed to a cash4gold or something), then it's pretty much textbook legitimate interest. (4.c.iii FTW!)

Again - I dunno what the ACPA says. It's probably stricter.

Anecdote - there was an interesting scenario last Vatican election - an Italian journalist registered Benedictxvi.com. He ended up "donating" it to the Church without a UDRP hearing. I expect the Church paid him serious coin to avoid the hearing - they would have had to argue that the Pope is, personally, a commercial enterprise to win. Not what they want to be saying.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:36 PM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fuck. Newt Skywalker is already taken and also redirects.
posted by phaedon at 7:42 PM on December 22, 2011


Yeah, but removed from the context of the lobbying or frivolous spending debacles, it doesn't do much to educate a voter. It's just an inside joke for those who know, and a big what-happened-to-my-browser-it's-out-of-control for those who don't. They should have a better link bank.

Speaking of, can someone educate this ignoramus on the Tiffany connection?
posted by dubitable at 9:17 PM on December 22, 2011


Politico: In 2005 and 2006, the former House speaker turned presidential candidate carried as much as $500,000 in debt to the premier jewelry company, according to financial disclosures filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Gingrich, who represented Georgia in Congress for two decades, retired in 1999. But his wife, Callista Gingrich, was employed by the House Agriculture Committee until 2007, according to public records. She listed a “revolving charge account” at Tiffany and Company in the liability section of her personal financial disclosure form for two consecutive years and indicated that it was her spouse’s debt. The liability was reported in the range of $250,001 to $500,000.

posted by troll at 9:25 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


troll: gracias!
posted by dubitable at 9:26 PM on December 22, 2011


Gingrich has a big ol' line of credit (and bill) at Tiffany's, testifying to his fatcat 1% status.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:27 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, now.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:27 PM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course the Democtratic PAC sees no irony in using the video of Gingrich and Pelosi sitting on a couch speaking lovingly to each other and of climate change as a reason for visitors to this site to oppose Mr. Gingrich.

Don't vote for Newt: he's one of us.
posted by three blind mice at 2:41 AM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who is still "searching" for politics-related topics by just blindly typing in "www.topic.com" anymore? Did these people learn nothing from whitehouse.com?
posted by Riki tiki at 4:51 AM on December 23, 2011


This seems a bit juvinile juvenile. Way to elevate the discourse Democrats

That this statement is a classic variation on the tone argument aside, Fuck it. Gods forbid any one have a little bit of fun, even if it is a large PAC preaching to a choir. Newt Gingrich is a grown-ass adult who has been in the public eye for a long time. If he doesn't have enough savvy to recognize that controlling his image on the internet is part of modern day politics, that is his journey.

Who is still "searching" for politics-related topics by just blindly typing in "www.topic.com" anymore? Did these people learn nothing from whitehouse.com?

Considering that I learned yesterday that transposing two of the words in the business name of one of our clients leads to a porn site, I'm going to vote "no" here.

No, I did not see the site in question. However, one of my coworkers did. Adjustments were made to the corporate firewall shortly after.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:21 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vote Republican and turn this joke into reality.
posted by Sparkticus at 6:09 AM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was redirected here. An interesting note on the story:
Ironically, on May 17, 1995, Gingrich led a press conference on Capitol Hill announcing the Christian Coalition’s 10-point “Contract with the American Family,” a conservative legislative wish list. One of the items in the contract: restricting pornography.
BWAHAHAHA! How's that worked out for you, asshats? We sure have seen a decrease in the amount of pornography available mainstream since 1995.
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:18 AM on December 23, 2011


As a matter of strategy, shouldn't Democratic organizations be giving Mr. Gingrich their tacit endorsement at this stage? He seems much less electable and certainly has more substantive skeletons in his closet than Mr. Romney if he were to receive the nomination.

Not to say that the domain-grab isn't brilliant.
posted by Ian.I.Am at 7:50 AM on December 23, 2011


Ad hominem: Newt doesn't make deals with terrorists.

He would if it would increase his chances at winning.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:08 AM on December 23, 2011


Newt doesn't want to maximize his chances of winning. He wants to maximize his book sales and speaking fees.
posted by John Cohen at 9:28 AM on December 23, 2011


> Newt doesn't want to maximize his chances of winning. He wants to maximize his book sales and speaking fees.

I don't necessarily disagree with this, but don't discount the drunken state that results when someone thinks they have a shot at the prize. I mean, look at Cain. It was pretty obvious that he was never going to go far but when he was the man of the hour for the Republicans he started acting even crazier than before.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on December 23, 2011


Uncomfortable Newt Gingrich politely listens to Terence McKenna
posted by homunculus at 12:39 PM on December 23, 2011


As a matter of strategy, shouldn't Democratic organizations be giving Mr. Gingrich their tacit endorsement at this stage?

Yes. If we wanted to pull the same kind of Machiavellian shit Rush Limbaugh tried to pull with that "Operation Chaos" thing. And if we were prepared to live with the non-zero chance that something could happen (like an unexpected Obama meltdown) that would actually propel Gingrich into the White House.

In other words, no.
posted by JHarris at 5:05 PM on December 23, 2011


He seems much less electable and certainly has more substantive skeletons in his closet than Mr. Romney

When Ann Coulter damns with feint praise 'rather vote for Paul' and Beck is all about 'could not vote for this guy' - how many more skeletons does one need?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:17 AM on December 24, 2011


Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry disqualified from Virginia Ballot. Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul remain.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:46 AM on December 24, 2011


Just fyi, Newt Gingrich actually lives in the Washington D.C. suburb of McLean, Virginia, although he represents Georgia. (via)
posted by jeffburdges at 6:57 AM on December 24, 2011


The site now redirects 100% of the time (at least for me) to:

stopromneyspiousbaloney.com

It looks like Newt bought (or got) the domain.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:13 AM on January 20, 2012


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