Pranksters have fun with 'newtgingrich.com'

It's a mystery who's behind a prank that's sending Gingrich supporters to Web sites related to controversies in which he's embroiled.

Visitors to newtgingrich.com were being redirected to The Atlantic Wire site instead, where they could read an article critical of his presidential campaign.
Visitors to newtgingrich.com were being redirected to The Atlantic Wire site instead, where they could read an article critical of his campaign to become the Republican nominee for president. The Atlantic Wire

Someone is having a little fun at Newt Gingrich's expense.

Visitors to newtgingrich.com, who probably are looking for information on Gingrich's campaign to become the Republican nominee for president, are instead being automatically redirected to other sites.

For instance, I just tried to reach newtgingrich.com and was sent to an article on The Atlantic Wire with the headline "Gingrich's Campaign Still Looks an Awful Lot Like a Book Tour."

Earlier, the .com address sent me to the site for Freddie Mac. And Mashable reports that other destinations for the redirects have included Tiffany & Co., and potentially embarrassing news articles and YouTube videos, such as the video in which Gingrich and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi say they are united on the issue of climate change.

Why Freddie Mac, Tiffany & Co., and the Pelosi video?

Gingrich's disclosure that he personally made $35,000 from his consulting firm's lobbying work on behalf of mortgage giant Freddie Mac has prompted attacks from his rivals and a slump in his poll numbers.

Meanwhile, Gingrich has been accused of receiving special treatment by Tiffany & Co. in getting a line of credit with the jewelry company at a time when Tiffany was heavily lobbying the House Agriculture Committee, on which his wife was chief clerk.

And in regard to Pelosi, it's awkward enough to appear to be cozying up to a political enemy on a topic that's considered controversial by many of your party members. But Gingrich also has done his fair share of hedging on the issue of climate change and its causes and solutions. He used to voice strong support for cap-and-trade policy to reduce emissions, but then he switched to saying there should be investments in new technology as opposed to more regulation. He recently said, "sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi is the dumbest single thing I've done in the last few years," before going on to deny that he ever supported cap and trade, according to Factcheck.org.

The registrar information for "newtgingrich.com," which was updated yesterday, is private, so it's a mystery who's behind this.

A representative for the Gingrich campaign did not respond to a phone call or e-mail seeking comment from CNET today.

While this prank may confuse some Gingrich supporters, there's not much his campaign can do except remember to acquire important related domains. His campaign site is at newt.org, but it appears that his campaign failed to acquire either of the two most popular top-level domains using his full name: .com or .org. Gingrich is not alone in this oversight--rickperry.com temporarily redirected to Ron Paul's campaign Web site several weeks ago, according to Mashable.

However, it's possible someone has taken precautions with "newtgingrich.xxx," as a visit to that site turns up the message "This domain has been reserved from registration." Recently, universities and businesses were reportedly snapping up porn-friendly .xxx domains to avoid having the names and reputations of their institutions sullied.

Of course, "newtgingrich.xxx" could have been nabbed by a prankster. We'll just have to wait and see.

 

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