Jack Carbone of Bergen County recently bought up possible domain names for possible Democratic candidates for political offices. When asked, Carbone admitted he bought domain names associated with three county Democrats that may plan to challenge County Executive Kathleen Donovan in an upcoming election.
Although he is being accused of being underhanded in politics, he insists his purchases were not politically motivated. He asserted that buying domain names associated with people he knows is a hobby of his. Additionally, he stated, “If any of these people want their [domain] names, give me a call.” In the past, Carbone has demonstrated his willingness to hand over domain names he has purchased.
In 2008, Carbone bought the domain names “sarloforsenate.com” and sarloforgovernor.com.’ He then informed Chris Eilert, Sarlo’s chief of staff that he had bought the names. According to Eilert, “He very casually and generously said, ‘Hey, of you want them, you can have them’ and I took him up on it.”
Domain names are easy to get and there are no restrictions on buying domain names associated with people other than yourself. Domain names are also relatively inexpensive. In the past, people have bought up domain names associated with celebrities and then attempted to sell them to the celebrities for a high price.
Carbone has never tried to make money on his domain names. Anytime someone has requested one of his domains, he has provided it free of charge. There is also no record of him ever using a domain name to undermine the person associated with the name.
According to Ben Dwoekin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, “There isn’t a lot of history to this kind of activity because campaign websites, relatively speaking, are still new.” He went on to say, “This is part of the 21st-century political landscape, and the fact is that politics on the Internet is still very much the Wild West because there are no rules, etiquette is still being determined.”
Although some are still skeptical of Carbone’s motivations, his past actions support his current claims.