Screen shot of home page of fake site
Screen shot of home page of fake site "EdelenHolland2019.com"

I was looking around for a good photo of Gill Holland to use with the tax return story, and couldn’t find one. So, I decided to check the campaign web site – but then I realized that I wasn’t sure where it was. (ProTip #1 for campaigns: Always include the URL of the campaign site in EVERYTHING you send out or post.) (ProTip #2 for campaigns: If you want media folks to use flattering pictures of your candidates and not something screen-scraped from a Facebook post, add a section on your website with images for use by others.) So, I started searching for the campaign web site. And look what I stumbled across at EdelenHolland2019.com.

Screen shot of home page of fake site "EdelenHolland2019.com"
Screen shot of home page of fake site “EdelenHolland2019.com”
Somebody grabbed the domain name EdelenHolland2019.com, then threw up this web site. And “threw up” is the right description, as seen in the following screen shots. First of all, some internet sleuthing. It’s a GoDaddy domain, and the domain registration is hidden (private), which I expected. I dug around for a bit to see if I could find any clues, but to no avail. What I DID find is that whoever put this together used one of GoDaddy’s web site templates, and didn’t even bother to change the boilerplate text in the template. If you run through the five pages on the site (yep, just five), you can see what I mean. For example, on the Services page:
Screen shot of "Services" page from the fake EdelenHolland site.
Screen shot of “Services” page from the fake EdelenHolland site.
Oh, and the About page is a gem too:
Screen shot of "About" page from the fake EdelenHolland site.
Screen shot of “About” page from the fake EdelenHolland site.
It’s good to know that the person or group behind this can help my company with our mission statement and company policies. The Contact Us page in the original template has a misspelling (“get your started”), which this fake site kept: By the way, if you take that phrase asking you to “Tell us a bit about your goals, so we can get your started” and you put it into the Google machine, you can find all the other sites that used the same site builder template. Or at least, the ones who didn’t correct the mistake. Right on the home page they’ve got a place for you to sign up for email updates. If you look at the code for the page, even that brings a chuckle – there is code in there to offer a “10% off coupon” for anyone signing up. Maybe I could use that discount when they help me with my mission statement? Of course, this site wouldn’t be possible if someone with the campaign had registered the domain themselves. (I admit I am assuming this is going to be an attack site against Edelen, and not by Edelen against others. I could be wrong, of course.) So, I decided to check the other logical domain names of the governor slates. Here’s what I found (and no, I didn’t chase down the .net and .org and .whatevs extensions):

URLDomainWeb Site
AdamEdelen.comRegistered
(by WebMedley LLC)
The main site for the campaign
GillHolland.comRegistered
(hidden)
No site
EdelenHolland.comRegistered
(FusionCorp)
No site (and no pointer to the main site)
EdelenHolland2019.comRegistered
(hidden)
The fake site noted above
AndyBeshear.comRegistered
(GoDaddy)
The main site for the campaign
BeshearColeman.comRegistered
(hidden)
No site (and no pointer to the main site)
BeshearColeman2019.comRegistered
(hidden)
No site (and no pointer to the main site)
RockyAdkins.comRegistered
(hidden)
The main site for Adkins as House rep; no mention of the campaign for governor
RockyForKY.comRegistered
(hidden)
THIS is the main site for the Adkins campaign
AdkinsHorne.comNot registered (!)
AdkinsHorne2019.comNot registered (!)

  So, ProTip #3: When I ran for Metro Council in 2014, one of the first things I did was register every version of “MaplesForMetro” that I could think of. (I already had my name registered.) Anyone running for office should do the same: think of all the ways your campaign might be searched for on the web, and go register every one of them. And in case anyone is thinking of doing something fishy/funny/hateful with those last two domain names – I just registered them myself, to make them unavailable to others. Finally, I went to the fake Edelen site and signed up for email updates. Maybe they can send me some tips on my mission statement.

–30–

Bruce Maples
Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. He has been President, Vice-President, and Treasurer of the Metro Democratic Club, and has served on the Democratic Party Executive Committee in Louisville. He began blogging in 2004, and currently operates two personal blogs (BruceMaples.com and brucewriter.com). He founded Forward Kentucky in the wake of the state elections in 2015, and expanded it in the summer of 2016. He has lived in Louisville since 1992 with his wife and two sons.