The race to be the next mayor of Toronto has started to heat up now that 38 people have officially declared themselves in the race for mayor.
As an Internet marketing specialist and long-time citizen of Toronto, I believe it is my civic duty to pass along a few words of advice to those who might aspire to oversee Canada's largest city:
Register your Website address before you start talking to reporters.
For example, if your name happens to be "Stephen LeDrew" and you are purported to be one of the three main contenders in the race to be mayor of Toronto, it would be a good idea to register the domain names stephenledrew.ca and stephenledrew.com BEFORE going on CBC's popular Metro Morning radio show to announce that you intend to run for public office.
Otherwise, you see, someone listening to the show might register those domain names. Who knows, that same someone might even point those domains to their Internet marketing blog and write about it. After all, this is a perfect example of what not to do when it comes to launching a high-profile marketing campaign.
I have to give Stephen LeDrew credit where credit is due, however. He told reporters he intends to run an unconventional campaign, and by golly he's off to a roaring start.
I wish him the best of luck.
Update: October 7, 2006
It's been just over a week since I launched this "media experiment," and I think it's safe to say that I have made my point loud and clear. Some might say I was too successful!
Since this whole affair began on September 29, 2006, numerous blogs and Websites have written about my "Domain Name Advice for Toronto Mayor Wannabes." This story was picked up by the National Post, Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Eye Weekly, and Spacing Votes. My traffic peaked when Warren Kinsella blogged about it, and overall there have been over 5,000 visitors to my Internet marketing blog.
I've particularly enjoyed reading the dozens of comments and emails that I have received from all over the country. 65% of the folks who took the time to write agreed with what I did, and the rest accused me of being a cybersquatter, a thief, unethical and an all-round menace to the democratic process and society at large. (Let's just say it's a good thing I don't take things personally.) Thank you one and all for your feedback. Even if we don't see eye to eye, at least I got you thinking.
Since Wednesday, I have been in contact with Stephen LeDrew's campaign management through an intermediary. They're not huge fans of mine right now, although to their credit they didn't threaten me with legal action. I am optimistic that over time they will come to realize that they really did screw up by not registering the domain names ahead of time, and - more importantly - that Internet marketing professionals like me are not the real enemy; naivety (in regards to the Internet) is.
"They have the Internet on computers now?" - Homer Simpson
The official launch of LeDrew for Mayor of Toronto campaign is planned for this coming Tuesday, October 10.
As a gesture of good faith, and to prove to LeDrew's campaign management that I am not an "Internet predator" (their actual words, I kid you not), I will be forwarding stephenledrew.com and stephenledrew.ca to the "official" Stephen LeDrew campaign Website on Monday, October 9 (Thanksgiving Day), one day prior to LeDrew's campaign launch.
I have communicated my intentions to Stephen LeDrew's campaign management, and I have also told them (via the intermediary) that if they want me to transfer ownership of the two domain names to them, I will gladly do so at NO charge.
This never was, and never will be, about money.
Happy Thanksgiving, Stephen, and thanks for helping to inject some excitement into the Toronto mayoral race.
Domain name expert Bill Sweetman is the President & Lead Ninja of Name Ninja, a boutique domain name consulting firm that helps companies acquire, manage, protect, and profit from their domain names. Bill has provided strategic domain name advice to major companies around the world for over 20 years.
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