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Squatters Lampoon Bachmann Candidacy

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Michele Bachmann has been a frequent target of Internet squatters who use sites purporting to represent her presidential campaign to lampoon her candidacy.

Internet users are cyber-squatting against Rep. Michele Bachmann.

The GOP presidential candidate’s unconventionally spelled name — one “l” in Michele and two “n’s” in Bachmann — has opened the door for savvy squatters to buy similar domain names to lampoon the presidential hopeful.

For instance, Bachman2012.com, spelled with one fewer “n” than the Minnesota Republican’s real name, takes users to a spoof article about Bachmann announcing her candidacy.

“I’m called to bring the Good News of our one true American Idol, the Lord God, to Washington and to legislate His will among all the fornicators, scientists, public schoolteachers and other so-called ‘citizens’ of this blessed country,” the spoof article says.

Michele2012.com, meanwhile, redirects to the website for the skin magazine Penthouse.

A visit to michelebachman.com directs users to a blank webpage with the text, “Please learn to share, love and be more accepting of others.” A few seconds later, the page forwards users to the activist website gayrights.change.org.

Minneapolis-based search engine optimization expert Peter Quale, who counts himself as a member of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, said he bought the rights to michelebachman.com in 2005 when Bachmann was a state Senator.

“I bought the domain just for the hepck of it,” he said.

He said he used to have the site redirect to Tolerance.org, a Southern Poverty Law Center offshoot, but he chose to redirect it to the gay rights site about six months ago in order to engage in “civil disobedience to draw a particular segment [of the population] to a particular place,” a technique he calls a “bug zapper.”

In this case, about 10 people per day, he said, perhaps looking for the candidate’s site, are directed instead to a site dedicated to gay rights — a cause Bachmann has vehemently opposed.

“The job that she and her husband do, the whole clinic to convert people back from their gayness, just seems sick and wrong,” Quale said, referring to Marcus Bachmann’s Christian counseling clinics. “This is just my own way of protesting Michele and her politics, her anti-gay politics.”

Quale said he did not coordinate with Change.org, and a spokesman for the site said it is not involved in the protest, calling the website a “platform for campaigns just like YouTube is a platform for videos.”

“It wouldn’t surprise me if some users were kind of getting up to tactics like this to support some campaign or other, but it doesn’t have anything to do with us as a platform,” Benjamin Joffe-Walt said.

Las Vegas-based Internet entrepreneur Dahn Tamir bought Bachman2012.com earlier this year, he said, though he doesn’t have any lofty ambitions for the site.

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