What's In A (Domain) Name?

Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker on candidates buying opponents' websites.
3:00 | 10/18/11

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Transcript for What's In A (Domain) Name?
Begin today's program talking with. Philip Rucker of the Washington Post is a really interesting story. -- for the Washington Post website it talks about how. Campaigns of the new real -- of campaigns is basically the web sites that are out there and you mentioned that some some of it that negative web sites out there disappeared from the market frequently things like sticking to erect. Rick Perry not dot com and felt you -- the robbing people aren't saying what whether they're behind it whether anyone's anyone associated with the campaigns are behind. That's right -- it. It's a real mystery we that we can't quite figure it out actually in the days after Rick Perry got into the race dozens. Web addresses that would seem to be attacking him things like stick -- to -- dot com Barry Perry back com. Rick Perry not dot com. They were -- -- at godaddy.com. That's the same website where Mitt Romney's campaign spent 2800 dollars on September 2. Find out domain names but the Romney campaign told us that they did not buy those Perry names in question. Although they wouldn't tell us which means they -- -- so it's a bit of a mystery here. And of course that He adding today adding to the intrigue around as they put up a new site today called career politician dot -- that one is the -- folks right felt. It is an -- if you go to that website there's a disclaimer at the bottom it says paid for by Mitt Romney for president and if that's one of two sites that the Romney campaign has. -- designed to attack their comments the first one -- Obama isn't working dot com. And you've got there and you can just get a daily fill up their message about Barack Obama and the jobs record and this -- and career politician dot com. Features this new web video they have -- today that really hits hard against Rick Perry and some of the economic data in their jobs -- -- Texas. And there -- also of course web sites targeting Mitt Romney there's that -- which -- Dot com website that has it has all his different positions. From over the years that you think most of these are gonna end up being used. Do you think Mitt Romney really wants to be up -- they stick it to Rick. Dot com website. Well -- I just wanted to make clear that Romney campaign says they do not on that particular address. I think what's happening here that was most of these -- say they're just grabbing -- to them because somebody else well. So they might that's look at the ones that they can it's unclear which ones are actually gonna put up a website -- Most of the ones we looked into yesterday in our reporting. These are just blank web sites nothing's on there yet and it's unclear when if any time something happened there. -- what was the idea behind me the campaigns even -- in this water in the first place it's not like you're gonna fool people about the ownership around these things -- there's lots of ways you can put out. Opposition research why put it why pay the money and in even the half. Hassle of having a vanity website when you can do the same things ABC right now but Rick Perry and admit probably dot com. Well it's the same reason that corporations oftentimes set -- independent web sites or independent landing pages further new products. If your Ford Motor Co. for example you might have a new website to launch your new car that you have. And that's a way to target and and direct viewers and people looking on line to it very targeted specific message you want to drive. That's -- that's what they've done with a career politician dot com it's probably what they'll continue to do through the rest of the campaign. And we'll just see how that develops. Part of what I like about your story today is the -- aspect of it tells a little bit about. How you came up with these. Nefarious. September 2 occurrences. What we took a look at the federal campaign finance filing reports that the various campaigns. I filed -- just you know scrolling -- -- the expenditures that the Romney campaign made. In this last quarter there -- a lot made two godaddy.com. Seem like a lot of money for web site. Where for only 1199. You can buy a domain name they were spending 345000. Dollars there and so we looked and invests in tried that. Then go to an independent website that has the domain registration histories. To figure out which domain names were purchased on the same -- that the Romney campaign made those transactions. That we went to the Romney campaign with a list if you are -- that we sort of assumed they had purchased and they said no in fact they haven't purchased them. And that registrant through various web addresses -- this third party company called domains by proxy. So we're never really gonna know who bought it for domains by proxy. Now let's they all there and publish -- of course. Is it possible that campaigns are are registering domains that -- be negative for themselves -- Mitt Romney wants the combat. The flip -- image perhaps when He want to own -- -- or some variation of that. Certainly because if they own it then they're they're preventing you know president Obama's reelection campaign Rick Perry's campaign from buying -- -- -- -- I imagine. If the Romney campaign is thinking ahead to biology is domain names now they've already -- a lot of -- that -- flips and things like that. One interesting note -- with the governor Perry's campaign has no expenditure godaddy.com. -- their quarterly financial report. Perry spokesman mark miner told us that they have not been -- many domain names. So either they don't think this is worth their time -- they just haven't talked to do it yet but we'll see. All right the -- the new campaign terrain where it's all being fought out Philip Rucker from the Washington Post thanks for being here on top one really appreciate it. They -- -- to be here.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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