After former HP CEO Carly Fiorina announced her presidential run, it was publicized that she had failed to secure the CarlyFiorina.Org domain. Instead, the domain had been bought by the SEIU and listed a sad-face emoticon for each person laid off during Fiorina’s tenure as head of HP. There are 30,000 emoticons.
Now some people have questioned Fiorina about her failure to register the domain, especially given her history in the tech industry. Late night host Seth Meyers asked Fiorina about the website on his show earlier in the week and Meet the Press host Chuck Todd used the website this morning as a segway into a discussion about her time at HP.
However, Fiorina has had a standard response questions about the domain, she buys a domain with the host’s name. She has bought SethMeyers.Org and ChuckTodd.Org. Those domains then link to her campaign website. This brings several advantages to Fiorina.
First, the extra websites linking to her website increases her website’s page ranking. Many search engines, notably Google, give a website a higher ranking based off the amount of incoming links it has. In addition, the search results redirect to Carly Fiorina’s website, giving her a higher billing on keywords not related to her. A Google search for SethMeyers.org has Fiorina’s campaign website as the first result.
The moves also serve as a way to deflect criticism. When Fiorina is criticized for not securing a domain with her name, she sends it right back. It makes the point that people do not just go out and buy the domain of their names and that what happened to Fiorina could happen to anyone. It attempts to deflate the story.
Fiorina buying the domains also increases publicity for her. Fiorina ranks in the bottom tier of Republican candidates in polling and her candidacy is seen as a dud by many analysts. However, moves like these keep Fiorina’s name in the news cycle for free. They also have the additional benefit of playing well on conservative websites who play it as Fiorina fighting back against the supposed liberal, gotcha media. The Meyers clip also shows Fiorina with a sense of humor and it has gone viral.