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Kerry Team Shops for New Web Address


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_____Sen. John Edwards_____
Photo Gallery: The North Carolina senator was selected by Sen. John F. Kerry to be the Democratic vice presidential nominee.
Edwards on the Issues
Timeline: Looking Back
Some Key Votes
More on Edwards
Audio Report: In Pittsburgh, The Post's Jim VandeHei on the Kerry-Edwards Democratic ticket.
Transcript: Post Associate Editor Robert G. Kaiser discusses the selection.
Transcript: Bush-Cheney Spokesman Scott Stanzel
Transcript: Kerry-Edwards Spokesman Tad Devine
_____ICANN Headlines_____
Kerry Edwards Seeks Big Payout for Web Address (, Jul 23, 2004)
ICANN Panel Pans VeriSign Search Service (, Jul 9, 2004)
Web Addresses Extending Their Global Domain (The Washington Post, Jun 17, 2004)
Tech Policy Section

By David McGuire Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 6, 2004; 8:14 PM

Indianapolis native Kerry Edwards is feeling pretty good today about his decision to immortalize his name on the Web six years ago.

On Tuesday morning, shortly after Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) announced that Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) would be his 2004 running mate, the 34-year-old bail bondsman and owner of said he took down the picture of his child that graced the Web site and put up a for-sale sign.

It didn't take long for the phone to ring.

"Our campaign did inquire about, but because of the money they were asking for we took a pass," said Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan. He said Edwards wanted a five-figure payment.

Edwards said he did not discuss an exact figure with the campaign, and he would not name a price in the interview. But he did say the price will have to be right for him to part with the now-hot address. "I'm not going to give away my name for $1,000," he said. He added that one person has offered him $15,000 for the domain and another offered to split advertising revenues generated from the page. He wouldn't identify either bidder.

Meehan said the Kerry organization at least for now would stick with its current official Web address "It's a site we've branded and we have over a million subscribers and we're looking to decide what we're doing going forward."

Edwards's potential windfall highlights a 21st-century quandary for the newly christened Kerry-Edwards campaign, which may hit a snag if it tries to break ground on a new online home. Most Web addresses ending in dot-com and dot-org tend to cost anywhere from $8 to $35. Ever since the World Wide Web turned into a popular public phenomenon, there have been speculators who bet that the Web addresses they purchase today could be worth thousands or maybe millions of dollars tomorrow if only the stars line up just right.

Other obvious choices for a campaign Web site,, and have already been registered, according to publicly available Internet records. The listed owners of those sites could not be reached yesterday.

Internet records identified the owner of the addresses, and as Kevin Draftz of Chicago. A man answering the phone at the administrative contact number listed for the web sites identified himself as Draftz. He described himself as a 42-year-old "lifelong Democrat," but said he wants the Kerry campaign to pay him "thousands of dollars" for the addresses, and He bought the addresses on Jan. 19, the day of the Iowa caucuses.

"I'm now just waiting to hear from Mr. Kerry," said Draftz, who said the campaign had not called as of late Tuesday afternoon.

Draftz said his first choice of buyers is the Kerry campaign, but would not rule out selling them to the competition. One proud owner of a handful of Kerry-Edwards domains says he will not turn them loose for any price. Mark Alexander is the editor of the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Federalist Patriot, a conservative e-mail journal with 500,000 subscribers. Alexander said he bought, and in 2003.

"We predicted early on in this thing that this would be a Kerry win and they he would almost have to pick Edwards as his running mate," Alexander said. All of Alexander's Kerry-Edwards addresses link to a Web site designed to look like Kerry's official site, but loaded with criticism of the candidate. The site's banner reads "John Kerry President?"

Democrats also have registered Web sites hoping to lure supporters from the other side to sites that attack their candidates. Zach Exley, the former online chief of, and now a Kerry-Edwards staffer, owns the anti-George Bush Web site

Alexander said he ran the site by his lawyers who concluded that since he was not trying to extort money from the Kerry campaign, he was not "cybersquatting."

A 1999 law made it illegal to register an Internet domain name with the intention of forcing a trademark owner or a namesake to pay to reclaim it. The Internet addressing system's main oversight body also disapproves of the practice and offers a dispute resolution process for people who feel their names or trademarks have been improperly registered as Internet addresses in a bid to extort money.

But "use for political commentary is clearly ok," said Wendy Seltzer, a staff attorney for the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and an expert in intellectual property law. Seltzer said Kerry Edwards probably is not breaking the law because he registered the address in good faith several years before Kerry made his announcement.

But speculators who bought the domains in order to sell them to the Kerry campaign at higher prices might get in trouble if the campaign sues to recover them, Seltzer said. Draftz said he is aware of the law but does not think he is violating it. Home

© 2004 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive

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