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Carly Fiorina Buys Seth Meyer's Domain But Not Her Own

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina found a funny way to do damage control over an epic campaign fail.

David Wagner

May 6, 2015

3 Min Read
<p align="left">(Image: <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CarlyFiorina49416.jpeg" target="_blank">Antonio Milena</a> via Wikimedia Commons)</p>

Time Killers At Work: How To Avoid Them

Time Killers At Work: How To Avoid Them


Time Killers At Work: How To Avoid Them (Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Last night on Late Night with Seth Meyers, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina addressed the first mistake her campaign made -- not buying carlyfiorina.org.

It is slightly embarrassing. The person who owns the domain has filled the page with 30,000 frowning emoticons, one for each person Fiorina laid off at HP, and a quote from her saying that her only regret is she didn't do it faster.

Fiorina was quick to defend herself, saying that there are only so many domains you can buy. And it is true. There are now so many extensions on the Internet that someone would have done this on carlyfiorina.xxx or carlyfiorina.tv or some other site.

Even if she had she bought those someone would have bought up carly.org or something.

It should be pointed out that not all of Fiorina's competition are using .org for their campaigns. Ben Carson, for example, is using a .com address. (I won't link to it in fairness to all candidates.) Whether he owns his .org or not, the site didn't seem to be operational when I checked.

At the same time, cybersquatting has been a known problem since the early days of the internet. Major brands that were slow to the Web have had to pay for their own domain names. And even if that ancient history -- some laws have changed to protect some trademarks -- was off Fiorina's radar, this came up again in 2011 when colleges started buying .xxx domains of their names so people couldn't found porn sites claiming to have pictures of their students.

Major brands played defense with this as well.

In 2014, it got worse when even more new top-level domain names were released. Fiorina isn't exactly new to technology. How did her team miss this?

Well, I'm not sure. But I do know they figured out a great way to handle it. They had some fun with it last night. They bought sethmeyers.org and now it redirects to Fiorina's campaign site.

I'm going to assume Fiorina's relatively cavalier attitude about the layoffs was a lack of comedic timing and experience, and she was just too excited to reveal her punchline. If you believe that (your call), this is a great way to diffuse the blunder and show a little tech savvy. In a way, the recovery is likely to lead to more discussion of her campaign than a regular launch would have.

If you've screwed up on the Internet, the best way to fix it is have a little fun. But hey, try to buy up all your domains before announcing your presidential bid. You're going to make enough mistakes as it is. You might run out of jokes.

About the Author(s)

David Wagner

Executive Editor, Community & IT Life

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, leadership, and innovation. He has also been a freelance writer for many top consulting firms and academics in the business and technology sectors. Born in Silver Spring, Md., he grew up doodling on the back of used punch cards from the data center his father ran for over 25 years. In his spare time, he loses golf balls (and occasionally puts one in a hole), posts too often on Facebook, and teaches his two kids to take the zombie apocalypse just a little too seriously. 

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