The GOP Is Hip to the Internet Domain Haps
This summer, the Republican Party is rolling out the first-ever political website suffix: .gop. The Republican State Leadership Committee, a group that seeks to elect Republicans to state-level offices, created the new top-level domain in an effort to build the GOP’s online community, and to give the party’s online fundraising efforts a leg up. The .gop ending joins hundreds of other previously existing top-level domains, including the longstanding .com and .org, as well as relative newcomers such as .biz.
Anyone will ultimately be able to register for a .gop domain name, regardless of party affiliation, and organizers hope the label will serve as a uniting force for the party. “It creates that connection between a teenager trying to start a blog, all the way to a college group to candidates,” said Will Martinez, vice president of sales and marketing at .GOP.
The tag will also make key websites easier to find, said Mr. Martinez, who envisions sites like register.gop that could help bump up the number of registered voters. Organizers also plan to offer incentives for signing up for a website, such as offering exclusive content to .gop domain holders.
In return, organizers are hoping the .gop network could provide key information about its members for upcoming election cycles. “We can get a better understanding of who those users are, what’s important to them, what their online user patterns are … in the same way that Google or Facebook have a good understanding of their members,” said Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee. That could help committees better target their advertising and voter outreach efforts.
On Monday, trademarked companies will be able to register for domain names ending in .gop during the 60-day “Sunrise Period” mandated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the group in charge of handing out domain names and Web addresses for the Internet. Open registration will begin July 7, when the first .gop sites will begin going live …
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