Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Barack Obama, Eminent Domain, and MySpace

Well this is a curious little tidbit, and one which surely should get chalked up into the Halls of Stupidity.

Apparently some Barack Obama supporter has been running a MySpace page for two years, with the profile name "barackobama". With the ongoing presidential campaign, the page has become quite popular, amassing over 160,000 (!!!) friends. Wow. Up until recently, the Obama campaign had actually been working with the owner of this site, as it fits right in with the grassroots, online effort that Obama has been utilizing all along.

As popular as the site has become, it's no huge surprise that the campaign wanted to bring it in-house, rather than leaving 160,000 supporters at the whim of one political webmaster (cha ching for my use of a "web 1.0" term - haha).

Some discussions took place, and the webmaster wanted $39,000 for the site. Despite having raised millions of dollars from Hollywood alone, apparently old Obama can't part with $39k to compensate this guy for 160,000 names and 2.5 years of work. Alright, fine... IF they don't want the site... BUT - what happens next?

In conjunction with MySpace, Obama seized control of the site!

That's right. Rather than pay the man, the Obama campaign went to a higher authority and just took it. Sure, in the "settlement" the previous owner gets to keep all the friends, but seriously, the site is surely linked from all over the internet, and most all of these people will just head right to the new Obama site and re-friend themselves. It's not like it's too hard to memorize, after all.

In recent history, various state and local governments have been utilizing Eminent Domain to seize private property from U.S. Citizens for purposes of economic development and raising tax revenue - a move which many people, myself included, feel is grossly unconstitutional.

I wonder where Mr. Obama stands on the issue, given that he himself has just gone to the "governing body", rather than pay a market price (and a cheap one, at that), for something created by a private party, just because he wanted it for himself?

Furthermore, why would a leading presidential candidate run the risk of alienating the very bloggers that support his campaign?

Links to check out:
News Article
New site of the webmaster

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the DUMBEST move I have EVER witnessed!!!
(Read my comment on Joe's blog for more comments)