Both sides in the dispute have some explaining to do.
For the most part the press has been taking the side of the Ron Paul supporters who have been operating the site for the past 4+ years, apparently selflessly.
There are definitely many things about Paul’s complaint that stink, as the tech press has pointed out. But the same can be said for what’s going on at RonPaul.com.
First, it’s pretty clear that the owners of RonPaul.com tried to sell the domain to Paul. They even posted the letter of their offer on their web site.
The letter to Paul started “This may be one of the most important messages you read this year.”
Sounds like the start of a good sales letter to me.
It then goes on to offer the RonPaul.ORG domain for free. Of course, if Ron Paul used that domain it would boost traffic to the .com.
Then the kicker: you can have the .com and our mailing list for only $250,000. The owners suggest that if Paul used the mailing list to ask for donations he could “easily make back the purchase price in a matter of days”.
The RonPaul.com site justifies it this way:
…Claims that we tried to sell Ron Paul “his name” for $250k or even $800k are completely untrue, and there is little doubt that our mailing list would have enabled Ron Paul to raise several million dollars for the liberty movement this year. It would have been a win/win/win situation for everyone involved.
Yet they posted the letter in which they clearly offer to sell him “his name” for $250,000. They’re just trying to justify it because it includes a mailing list, which they’re getting appraised. And Ron Paul’s team provided an email from someone associated with the site offering to sell it for $800,000+. The domain’s whois record shows that it’s for sale, too.
Perhaps the RonPaul.com site is run by Ron Paul fanatics. Perhaps selling lots of merchandise on the site is just a side business.
But a funny thing happens when a UDRP is filed and you’re using one of the larger whois privacy services, as RonPaul.com was: the true whois gets unveiled.
Where do you expect Ron Paul’s biggest supporters to live?
Middle America? The south?
How about Panama.
Now, it’s possible that the domain is being leased to the people running the site. There’s some mention of that in the case filings.
I’m always willing to give the benefit of the doubt, so I reached out to the site operators. They said to send questions and they’d get them answered pronto.
But then when I asked if the site is being leased and what the deal is with Panama, and who made the offer to sell the site for $800,000, now they say their lawyer wants them to keep quiet and they might be close to settling the case amicably. So they don’t want to respond.
I suspect these are the first “hard” questions they’ve received since the case was filed.
Again, there are some points in this case that don’t look favorably on Ron Paul, but it also doesn’t look good for the people running RonPaul.com.