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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Heidepriem Practices What He Preaches on Openness

...Opponents Use Anonymity and Sneaky CyberSquatting


Democrative candidate for governor Scott Heidepriem announces a unique fundraising program in which donors and all the rest of us will know exactly which ads they've paid for. When Heidepriem talks about openness and transparency in government, he means it.

Now if you're Googling around to learn more about the Heidepriem campaign, be careful where you click. Heidepriem's website is ScottHeidepriem.com. Some anonymous trickster bought HeidepriemForGovernor.com and redirected it to an Aberdeen American News editorial from February 2009 criticizing Heidepriem for a conflict of interest on gambling legislation.

This criticism may be worth discussing... although the Republican-controlled Legislature never saw fit to bother with investigation the editorial called for.

But why has the online prankster not put his or her name to this criticism? Run the WHOIS search, and you find that the web domain was purchased last July via DomainsByProxy.com. No direct contact information. No willingness to take ownership of this criticism.

People have used cybersquatting before to oppose South Dakota Dems. Jeff O'Hara has been sitting on CoryHeidelberger.com and a few other relevant domains for three years in an attempt to hinder my online presence (I don't think it's working).

Cybersquatting isn't a crime, but it's not particularly ethical, either. If you're going to do it, though, why not be open about it? Mr. HeidepriemForGovernor.com, why not have the guts to say, "I'm Rufus Goofus, and I approve of this message, because I disapprove of Scott Heidepriem"?

In a new and public way, Scott Heidepriem's supporters will say, "We believe in our message, and we'll stake our names to it for all to see." Will Heidepriem's online detractors have the same courage?


  1. I don't believe it was an editorial. It was an article by Bob Mercer - the same reporter you site in the immediately prior blogpost - calling for Heidepriem's investigation.

  2. Thanks for the reminder, PP—I knew the original article sounded familiar.

    Now if you could just find out who bought and wired up the web domain, we'd have real news.

  3. Cory, there is an argument that says your name is your "trade dress" and that others can be prohibited from using it without your expressed written permission.

    There is another that they're violating your rights to privacy, and another for identity theft. Also possible copyright infringement.

    The first thing you'll want to do is to find out if your "squatter" has any money.

    If so, Katie bar the door. I know some people.


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