Here’s a bit of political news that’s Snopes worthy. There’s something floating around on Facebook saying Donald Trump bought Jeb Bush’s campaign site. Whether this is a bit of campaign propaganda to make Jeb Bush seem inept or just Facebook user gullibility, I don’t know. But we can perform some basic Internet research to find out if Donald Trump bought Jeb Bush’s campaign website.
The source of the rumor
There’s a tweet supposedly from Donald Trump saying he bought Jeb Bush’s website and re-directed it to his own site. Here’s that tweet.
Disproving this rumor with basic Internet research.
We can use some very basic Internet sleuthing skills to disprove the rumor that Donald Trump bought Jeb Bush’s website.
This is not Donald Trump’s official Twitter Account.
@POTUSTrump isn’t the real Donald Trump Twitter account. In fact, the real account is aptly named @realDonaldTrump. That should be proof enough that there’s little merit to this rumor.
The domain JebBush.com isn’t the real Jeb Bush campaign site.
The real Jeb Bush campaign site is Jeb2016.com. It’s currently live and well, unlike his campaign (zing).
JebBush.com has never had content on it.
Maybe you’re hard to convince and this proof hasn’t led you to believe that Jeb Bush’s official campaign website was not redirected to Donald Trump’s site. Go to Google and do a simple advanced search operator. Google this search phrasesite:jebbush.com Here’s what you get If Jeb Bush’s active official campaign website had been allowed to lapse, there would have been content in the search engine for it. But clearly, there is not content available in search because it was not an official website and had been up for auction for quite some time.
Waybackmachine shows no scraped content
Waybackmachine.com is a great resource for doing Internet research. You can look up how websites looked weeks, months and years ago. Here’s what Waybackmachine.com shows for JebBush.com back in 2008. Using this tool, we’re able to see that JebBush.com has had no content on the site. It was originally setup in 2008 and redirected to jeb-bush.blogspot.com. If you visit that site you’ll see it’s a complete garbage spam website. This leads me to believe that Jeb Bush never actually hosted anything on the domain and it was purchased by a 3rd party.
Comparing Whois data
If you do a Whois.net search for the domains JebBush.com and DonaldJTrump.com, you get different domain registration information. You can even lookup DonaldTrump.com as well to throw another domain in the mix. DonaldJTrump.com and DonaldTrump.com have the same Whois.net information registered with Godaddy, whereas JebBush.com is registered to Fabulous.com. This doesn’t appear to be consistent with how an organized political campaign would be run. One would think the domain would be registered with the same registrar as the official domains.
This Politico story pretty much puts the nail in the coffin of this rumor
A Politico story back in December 2015 debunks this rumor and confirms the above data. Fabulous.com is a domain registration company that registered JebBush.com back in 1997. They’ve been sitting on it for almost 20 years. The re-direct is unaffiliated with Donald Trump’s campaign.
Conclusion: No, Donald Trump did not buy Jeb Bush’s website. But it’s still pretty funny.
Donald Trump didn’t buy Jeb Bush’s website, because he’s probably better at figuring out gross margins than snapping up domains. So to be fair, his campaign didn’t buy Jeb Bush’s website, but it certainly isn’t doing Jeb Bush any favors. The website is likely to only get visits if people type the domain directly into search or through some kind of elaborate phishing scheme. It doesn’t rank at all in search, so it’s not like people will find it through Google. However, it does seem that a presidential candidate should have a team savvy enough to understand the value of buying up similar domains. Especially an exact match for the candidate’s name.