First, some Updates:
- If you were one of the 120,000 visitors who experienced the redirect before it was changed, post a comment below for the record.
The Redirect has been changed 5 times over 48 Hours:
-From the time this article was published, until 3:34 PM EDT (9.29.08), the redirect pointed to John McCain.com as explained in video and screenshots below. The redirect had received about 120,000 clicks just through GovGap by this time and had just started to be picked up widely by other blogs and media outlets (Washington Post, FireDogLake, etc.) when the redirect was changed.
-As of 3:35 PM EDT (9.29.08) The redirect has been changed to direct users to google.com
-As of 3:49 PM EDT (9.29.08) The redirect has been changed to direct users to a Wikipedia page about domain registration.
-As of 9:11 PM EDT (9.30.08) The redirect has been changed to direct users to a blog entry suggesting that the redirect was a simple prank.
-As of 3:02 AM EDT (10.01.08) The redirect has been changed to direct users to google.com.
Washington Post Picks Up Story, NYTimes Published list of RNC Owned Domain Names:
-Washington Post publishes an Article and requests comment from the McCain Campaign. McCain Campaign denies any involvement, suggesting the URL redirection was a prank they have nothing to do with, and no control over.
-The NYTimes published a verified list of opposition URLS owned by the Republican National Committee
[end of introductory update - more updates below]
VoteForTheMILF.com will redirect you specifically to a video intro by Gov. Sarah Palin at JohnMcCain.com if you are hitting it for the first time. Note that the redirect sends you first to JohnMcCain.com and THEN to Palin.htm (Palin’s Video Intro) if you’re visiting for the first time, or if your cookies are cleared, or if you’re not accepting cookies. Here’s a video of this taking place:
- URL Registered within hours of McCain’s Decision to select Palin as running mate
- Redirect sends users specifically to a palin.htm file, but only on the FIRST redirect
- Whois Privacy Information Matches JohnMcCain.com Whois Privacy
- URL Held by same registrar
- Note that the .net and .org versions also redirect to the McCain Campaign Website.
Network Tools.com Trace Route:
- 188.8.131.52 (VoteForTheMILF.com)
- 184.108.40.206 (JohnMcCain.com)
It’s impossible to know if this is an intentional or unintentional error on the part of the McCain Campaign, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising. Seems they’re just learning to use the “internet/the google” to promote their candidate.
More than likely, some underling in the McCain Campaign was told to buy up dozens and dozens of related URLS within the McCain Campaign GoDaddy account (perhaps all of the variations of John McCain’s name, Campaign Slogans, opposition URLS, etc) and just set them all to redirect to their main site which can be easily done within the GoDaddy control panel by selecting all the URLS and setting up a forward or simple redirect with a PHP header in any of those sites.
Whoever was in charge probably did not distinguish between the URLS they had bought for misspelled attempts to get to the campaign website / thematic redirects (IE: JohnMcCainForPresident.com), and the urls they had bought to deny the opposition territory to make anti-McCain websites; McCainSucks.com, etc.
It will be most interesting to see if this redirect changes. If the redirect is discontinued, it’s probably most certainly the McCain Campaign … (Hi Steve! Hey Rick! Say ‘howdy’ to John for me - and tell him good luck with his lousy sleazy campaign!) … if not, it’s someone trying to improve their page rank. In either case, we’ll be monitoring the publicly available Whois information carefully.
Domains registered by the R.N.C . or on servers used by the committee:
As of 4:23PM (EDT) The Whois has been set to ‘Private’ for the .com and .net versions of this URL.
The .org, however, still retains an Arizona Address, albeit, still ‘Domains by Proxy’ - note that ‘Domains by Proxy’ is a company based out of Arizona, and has been for years. Domains by Proxy is GoDaddy’s company that handles its privacy, so any domain registered with GoDaddy’s Whois privacy are handled by Domains by Proxy:
Created On:30-Aug-2008 04:48:12 UTC
Last Updated On:30-Aug-2008 04:48:15 UTC
Expiration Date:30-Aug-2009 04:48:12 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, Inc. (R91-LROR)
Status:CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT RENEW PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED
Registrant Name:Registration Private
Registrant Organization:Domains by Proxy, Inc.
Registrant Street2:15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Registrant Postal Code:85260
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
VoteForTheMILF.com address / proxy information matches Registrar and JohnMcCain.com Whois Privacy Company:
SomeoneGNU (Digg.com) brought this to GOVGAP’s attention:
Little interesting fact - the first time you go to the link you’re actually redirected to: http://www.johnmccain.com/palin.htm which means they’re watching for that domain. All other times, you go right to the front page.
Either they’re reacting to this domain really well, or they own it.
There’s some discussion going on in the Digg thread about the origins of the redirect:
TrackBack Comment Round Up:
From: Washington City Desk
GovGap published a story last night revealing that www.voteforthemilf.com, www.voteforthemilf.net, and www.voteforthemilf.org all direct users to John McCain’s campaign website.
This is actually a pretty common means of anticipating counter information. When the American Dental Association, a proponent of water fluoridation, learned that an anti-fluoride group owned the domain name fluoridealert.org, the ADA bought the domains fluoridealert.com and fluoridealert.net, and redirected both addresses to the ADA page on the benefits of fluoride. If the McCain camp did indeed buy these domain names, we now know that the camp never really expected voters to view her primarily as a serious political or intellectual threat.
From Blog RPI:
As of 3:35 PM EDT The redirect has been changed to direct users to google.com
As of 3:49 PM EDT The redirect has been changed to direct users to a Wikipedia page about domain registration.
Arianna Huffington: Watching the debate at a Fortune women's conference, I asked Meg Whitman, the co-chair of McCain's campaign, what she thought of Palin's performance. "Good enough," she said. But good enough for what, exactly? After Thursday night, the only thing Palin proved herself good enough for is starring in her own reality show. Watching Biden and Palin on the same stage was like watching a tennis champion walk onto Centre Court at Wimbledon only to find himself facing an over-eager amateur from the local high school. The only subject on which Palin displayed superior knowledge was when she corrected Biden on the proper delivery of "Drill, baby, drill!" Christie Hefner thought Palin's sex-tinged twist on the chant should be appropriated for a commercial. Perhaps for Viagra. My patience with Sarah Palin is waving the white flag of surrender. Click here to read more.