Michael Bloomberg temporarily had a tiny but extremely questionable advantage in the 2020 presidential race: if you typed “Mike” into one of his company’s roughly 325,000 news terminals around the globe, you were redirected to his campaign site, reported the Financial Times.
The FT made this GIF, so you can see for yourself just how fully that query thrust you into Bloomberg’s candidacy:
Apparently, the FT’s story caused the former New York City mayor to reconsider, though. A Bloomberg spokesperson tells The Verge that the redirect now goes to his biography page instead. They also claim that it was an honest mistake, saying “Mike” had pointed to Bloomberg’s personal website since the 1990s, a website that didn’t previously feature his presidential candidacy but was instead focused on his philanthropic work. The spokesperson said they’d made a mistake not to change the redirect when the nature of his website changed.
As I just emailed @adamsamson : "We've updated that function to go to the bio page just like anyone else. Thanks for pointing out what was clearly an oversight when the site became a campaign site."— Ty Trippet (@ttrippet) December 5, 2019
It’s not like the Bloomberg Terminal redirect would have necessarily been a huge boon for Bloomberg’s candidacy. After all, there are only 325,000 of these expensive $20,000-a-year terminals around the world at last count, only a fraction of them in the US, and which are mostly in the hands of stock traders and news publications who would undoubtedly be aware that he’s running for president. But after the reveal that Bloomberg News is being barred from investigating Bloomberg (or his Democratic opponents), it felt worth mentioning that Bloomberg may have unfairly used his terminal as well.
A Bloomberg spokesperson initially suggested to the FT that this redirect wasn’t out of the ordinary, pointing out that it had been used to promote Bloomberg’s books. I probably don’t have to point out that the stakes are a lot higher now.