The Grand Old Party had a grand old idea to drum up support in the Internet age—by selling Internet domain names with .gop addresses. For a cost of typically around $20, you too can own a nice conservative-sounding website with a name like LowerTaxes.gop, LessRegulation.gop or WashingtonCountyYoungRepublicans.gop.
Or you can be a wise-aleck prankster and register domains like VoteHillary.gop, FreeAbortions.gop or MandatoryShariaLaw.gop. The Republican Party began taking registration for .gop domain names on Wednesday. And from the looks of the DotGOP Tumblr account, more people are choosing the prank website names than the legitimately conservative website names.
Gawker is keeping a running tab of the joke names for .gop websites. You can also keep an eye on the #dotGOP hashtag on Twitter to see some of the more outlandish and satirical submissions for .gop websites, like DickCheneyShotAGuyInThe Face.gop, Muhammad.gop, ILoveObama.gop and a few whose names cannot be repeated on a family friendly site like Allvoices.
As Maryn McKenna noted on Twitter, "There's smart branding, and there's losing-control-of-your-narrative branding. thinking #dotgop might be the B there."
Be aware, though, that very few of these pranksters are actually following through and buying their smart-aleck .gop website names. They are just going to the Join.gop home page, entering their outlandish website names and taking screenshots of the "Good news, this domain is available!" screen that displays if the .gop website name is indeed available.
After all, if you pay the fee and buy the website then that money goes directly to the Republican State Leadership Committee. They're the ones who established and control the top-level .gop domain. Is making fun of Republicans online worth giving money to a Republican political action committee? To most non-conservatives, it is not.
How much money do you have to give the RSLC for one of these domains? In most cases, the domain registration costs only $20.16. (Keep in mind that only covers the domain registration. You still have to pay for website hosting fees before you can post anything to a new website. Buying the domain merely "purchases the parking space"; you still have to pay a website hosting service to post anything on there.)
But some of the .gop domain registrations are considered premium and will cost more. A lot more. If you want SmallGovernment.gop, it will cost $500 to register. If you're a fan of the conservative author, AynRand.gop costs $1,000 to register. And in one I cannot begin to explain, Butt.gop costs $5,000 to register.