Politics

Cybersquatters accepting bids for Paul Ryan domain names

Steven Nelson Associate Editor

Even before Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney’s running mate, entrepreneurial cybersquatters swooped in to buy up relevant Web domain names.

Seeking a quick buck, the proud owners of paulryan.com, romneyandryan.com and romney-ryan.com are now soliciting sales pitches.

Paulryan.com has been registered the longest, to an Irish businessman named Paul Ryan. His site was established in 2001, according to a Whois search.

The Irish Paul Ryan declined to say if the Obama or Romney campaigns had contacted him about buying paulryan.com, but he told TheDC, “I am having the domain name valued, I have had a lot of interest in it.”

A site that has already been valued is romney-ryan.com, which can belong to you — or to a campaign or super PAC — for $49,888.

Romney-ryan.com is registered to a Californian named George Popescu, who created the site in January according to Whois. His uncanny foresight may lead to a big-time payday.

But perhaps the most active salesman is Charlotte, N.C., resident Vincent Sullivan, who according to Whois snatched up romneyandryan.com three days before last Saturday’s big announcement.

Sullivan decorated his new site with a wallpapered photo of Romney and Ryan, and has a snazzy submission box allowing for interested parties to contact him.

Sullivan did not respond to questions submitted via the submission box or via the email address listed on his site’s Whois profile.

A search of opensecrets.org donor records did not provide a hint of the men’s political leanings — suggesting that they are more likely cybersquatting hobbyists than political partisans.

Cybersquatting is not limited to the 2012 Republican ticket, as many domains naming either President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden or both also are not owned by their namesakes.

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