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Domain trolls are choosing politics over getting paid

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Here's a simple, high-profile way to express your political beliefs: snatch up a presidential candidate's domain.

Earlier this month, as former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced she was running for president, it was discovered that CarlyFiorina.org was directing to a website marking Fiorina's layoffs at HP with 30,000 sad-face emoticons. The strategy lit up news sites — and with good reason. What presidential candidate, in this day and age, doesn't prepare enough in advance to grab every tangentially related domain name before making an announcement?

Plenty, apparently. Ted Cruz doesn't own TedCruz.com. As flagged by Gizmodo, HillaryClinton.net is now redirecting to Fiorina's website. And Clinton isn't immune: supporters, adversaries, and speculators have been grabbing related domains for years.

The problem — if you think it is one — isn't likely to get better soon, when every conceivable permutation of a candidate's name, the word "elect," and the number 2016 are possible domains ripe for the plucking. What might be the most surprising part of the speculation, though, is the fact that the coveted domain names of candidates are so lucrative, yet are still picked up for trolling instead of cash: Clinton domains have long been selling for thousands, and Rand Paul reportedly ponied up $100,000 for the prized RandPaul.com.