GOP URL Shortener put to unintended use
Yesterday the GOP debuted its own URL shortener. Wired.com
describes the results:
Almost immediately after it launched yesterday, pranksters began using the service to link to controversial or ironically-intended websites such as the official site of the American Communist Party, a bondage website and a webpage advertising a sex toy in the likeness of Barack Obama. GOP.am started blocking such links apparently at some point Tuesday morning, and the GOP.am homepage is now offline.
Possibly the first branded URL shortener (Google also launched its own URL shortener yesterday afternoon), GOP.am was designed by the R.N.C.’s new media consultants, Political Media, to work somewhat like bit.ly in that it shortens URLs so that they can be more easily exchanged via short messaging services like Twitter.
But unlike bit.ly, GOP.am includes a toolbar at the top of the screen that follows the user as they click through to see whatever page the link goes to, and an animation of Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele walking around on the lower right as if he’s showing off the website — particularly awkward when that website is the alt.com bondage site.
How could they not have foreseen this would be the result if they created a URL shortener that made it look as if the GOP was endorsing any link a user entered?
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