Pranks, Porn, and Pseudo-Surveys 

Tracking politics as it's practiced on the Web.
June 13 2000 9:00 PM

Pranks, Porn, and Pseudo-Surveys 

34000_34651_islogo_130x20
82000_82938_onpol_small

Slate, the Industry Standard, and washingtonpost.com join forces to examine the effect of the Internet on Campaign 2000. 

Buying an opponent's possible Web site addresses has become one of the easiest tricks in the political book. In New Jersey, Republican operatives and an infamous online porn peddler have turned the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg into a squatter's paradise. The target: Democratic nominee Jon S. Corzine.

Advertisement

Among those who have bought Corzine-related domain names is Dan Parisi, the owner of the porn site whitehouse.com—perhaps one of the Web's best-known misleading URLs.

Parisi, an avowed nonpartisan, has snatched up corzinesucks.com, an address that could be used to attack the former investment bank executive, whose actual URL is votecorzine.org. He also bought floriosucks.com during the heated primary battle between Corzine and former Democratic Gov. Jim Florio. But Republicans—and Democrats for that matter—are out of luck. Rather than selling the addresses, Parisi said in a telephone interview that he would be incorporating them as part of his forthcoming sucks.com site, which will be dedicated to railing against everyone from George W. Bush to Microsoft.

"I've always wanted some kind of thing where people can talk about politics," said Parisi, who is using the profits from his adult business to finance his new venture into negative politics.

Although GOP operatives can't snag Parisi's suck sites, they have been busy buying up other addresses. Rick Shaftan, an adviser to defeated Republican candidate Murray Sabrin, owns votejoncorzine.com, perhaps deterring accidental visitors from reaching the Democratic candidate's official site at joncorzine.com. Sabrin also owns bobfranks.org and billgormley.com, sites that could have been mistaken for the official addresses of two of Sabrin's primary opponents. (The official sites are bobfranks.com and gormleyforsenate.com.)

Scott Loughrey, a notorious cybersquatter who has bought possible domain names of numerous political candidates across the country, has also gotten involved in the New Jersey race. The Baltimore entrepreneur and programmer owns the domain name gormley2000.org, which currently redirects users to the official Franks page. In an e-mail interview with the Associated Press, Loughrey recently said his goal was "to make some money, to make social statements, (and) to have some fun."

John Carbone, a Ridgewood, N.J., attorney who has given at least $5,730 to GOP campaigns since 1996, snatched up florio2000.com, forcing Florio to settle for the less obvious florioNJ.com.

Tallying the Presidential "Bids"

Ever since Howard Stern helped flood People magazine's 1998 Most Beautiful People "poll" with votes for Hank the Angry, Drunken Dwarf, Internet surveys have been shunned by political professionals and embraced by struggling candidates. The official Alan Keyes Web site, for example, encouraged visitors to boost the standing of the Republican presidential also-ran in 33 online polls—and he's still winning several.

Now two Internet auctioneers are asking the supporters of the presidential candidates to make themselves heard in an intriguing new pseudo-survey. Insurance agent Dan Lutz and his artistic wife, Joan, are tallying the amount of the eBay bids they are receiving for original painted portraits of Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Since June 1, the couple has reported the daily total as a sort of unscientific online poll.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.