It’s still a reasonable assumption that a major organization’s Web site should be its name followed by .com or another relevant suffix. It’s true enough, anyway, that one can usually skip the search engine and guess a big company’s Web site on the first attempt.
Not so for anyone who goes to www.obama.com expecting a dose of change he or she can believe in. My colleague Andy Bouvé at Slate V noticed yesterday that this domain directs the user to a Japanese site registered to a Satoru Obama in Fukuoka , which is in southwest Japan. (The registration actually lists both "Satoru Obama" and "Obama Satoru.")
An auto-translation of the site strongly suggests it’s just a generic default page, with advertisements for loans, insurance, and hair transplants. Saturo has not responded to my email asking whether the Obama campaign has attempted to buy the domain name.
This would be nothing more than novelty but for the fact that, according the Web analytics company Compete.com, nearly 140,000 people visited Obama.com in February. After a dropoff in traffic in the spring, Obama.com rebounded with over 100,000 visitors last month.
By way of comparison, that makes Obama.com more popular than my hometown newspaper , the Daily Progress .
It doesn’t help the Obama campaign that commenters on online forums frequently implore fellow readers to "Go to Obama.com" to read more about the candidate. Sure, no one is going to mistake this site for official Obama campaign content. But how many of those 140,000 people had planned to donate $25 but got confused by their browser’s mangling of the Kanji font? It may not be insignificant.