Tru.mp and the domain question

February 6, 2017

One of the more interesting stories to ever come out of the recent U.S. presidential elections involves an attempt to purchase an .mp website to domain hack a Tru.mp website. While in some cases purchasing a domain extension is easy, attempts to buy Tru.mp and its variants around the election season were blocked.

 

This is where it gets interesting, the .mp country code TLD is attributed to our neighbor the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands with domain registry management and operations under Saipan DataCom.

 

According to an article by Sheera Frenkel, a cybersecurity correspondent for Buzzfeed based in San Francisco, several activists attempted to register and buy variations of the tru.mp domain but could not. Buzzfeed quoted Joe Dinkin, Working Families Party spokesman who tried to register ResistTru.mp in early December. Dinkin said, “This is the first act of suppression of political speech on the internet in Trump’s America, as far as we know, and an early signal of what could become routine.”

 

A domain hack involves a programming trick where a webmaster combines letters and the ccTLD to create an unconventional url. A perfect example is the bookmarking website del. icio.us. which was snapped up for several millions. If you are just looking for ways to personalize your website and your name happens to be Ralph, a domain name such as ral.ph could be an interesting purchase. Although I think it might be a little too late for that, what with the millions or billions of Ralphs on this planet who may have the same idea.

 

While not necessarily a domain hack, there are several cases where a url identified with key political personages ended up in the right or wrong hands. Take the tedcruzforamerica.com website, for example. The domain was bought by an unknown entity after the former Republican contender’s attempt to filibuster Obamacare. Clicking the link will bring you to a trollish website called “Maple Match,” which looks like a dating site for Americans and Canadians, a probable dig at the projected exodus of U.S. residents from the mainland to Canada following the Trump election win.

 

Another interesting example involves a guy who purchased a domain name encouraging votes for Trump and Pence last year. In an interview, he said he was surprised that the name was still up for grabs. At the time he made the discovery, he just finished watching all the presidential debates. Dude was pretty minimalist in his expression of dissatisfaction, deciding to just upload his photo giving the one-finger salute.

 

While I was writing this column, I did a quick search to see if the tru.mp domain is already taken. As expected, the name has been snagged up by an unknown entity. For all we know, it could be Trump himself or his representatives, who was said to have purchased thousands of domains incorporating variations of his name prior to the elections.

 

Trump may not be the wisest of all presidents, but if he or his cohorts did buy the domain name, this could be one of his shrewdest social media moves so far. Just imagine the possibilities of owning that domain. A tru.mp website could be a powerful political tool or a source for comedic gold. That, of course, depends on which side of the political spectrum the domain owner belongs to.

 

For now, the tru.mp site purchase will remain a mystery.

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