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Is .GOP Getting Hijacked by the Left?

"freeabortions.gop"

Image source: screengrab via .gop

For a long while, a handful of generic top-level domain names were the only game in town — .org, .net, .com, to name a few — but this year that changed with the addition of more than 1,000 new cyber suffixes.

One of those suffixes, .gop, was snatched up by the Republican State Leadership Committee (RLSC) and went live Tuesday.

Image source: screengrab via .gop Image source: screengrab via .gop

Want to set up your own .gop website? Go to join.gop and search for the term you'd like to use.

Image source: screengrab via join.gop Image source: screengrab via join.gop

Predictably, a segment of the Internet responded with crude jokes.

So will .gop be commandeered and abused by the Left, or will it ultimately be a force for conservatives?

"We're not focused on fringe Twitter activity," join.gop marketing vice president Will Martinez told TheBlaze. "We're focused on getting the people that are actually gonna use these set up, from people who want branded email accounts all the way up to presidential candidates."

Martinez noted that one such potential candidate, Ted Cruz, has already gotten a .gop site up and running: cruzcrew.gop.

"RSLC applied to run .gop on behalf of conservatives, Republicans, the whole spectrum," Martinez said, explaining that the goal is to provide "an open platform" for discussion and help bring like-minded people together online.

They're getting a few party-affiliated sites, including register.gop for voter registration and donate.gop for fundraising, up and running.

Whether or not the .gop suffix really matters remains to be seen.

“Republicans didn't lose in 2008 and 2012 because people had trouble finding their addresses,” Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin told FoxNews.com in April, downplaying the significance of .gop. “This is not a game-changer. It’s a tactic."

On the other hand, President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign manager Jim Messina has said he is "pissed" that the Democratic Party has not created their own Web ending, saying, "It's just another thing in the toolbox to use to reach out to folks. As a campaign manager, all you want is more tools, and I think this is a really interesting one."

And while the efficacy of the project is sorted out, Martinez said most of the jokes are people messing around — they're not really buying the domain names, they're just searching for crude terms.

"A lot of them are screenshots," he said. "We knew this would happen, people come in and screw around, that's the nature of the political space."

Sites like Gawker might make a fuss about the jokes, but Martinez said the lasting impact of .gop will be positive.

Martinez said .gop doesn't yet have hard registration numbers, and they reserve rights to remove abusive domain names.

"We haven’t taken anyone down yet," he said, "but we're reserving the right."

Could .gop have predicted the bizarre domains people would come up with, like "freeabortions.gop"?

“We obviously had a few banned terms, like curse words, but we couldn’t come up with every single combination of words in the English language that people might use [offensively],” Martinez said. “It wasn’t technically feasible.”

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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