Oh, the irony.
Ron Paul, champion of the libertarian movement, has gone to war with his loyal fanbase. They own RonPaul.com. Ron Paul wants it for himself. They made him an offer to sell it back… but it was too much for Ron Paul, so he’s suing them.
In the United Nations.
When Paul was interviewed by right-wing radio host Alex Jones in January, he expressed a desire to own RonPaul.com for his own purposes – fair enough. The site was registered by libertarians who support the Texas Republican 13 years ago to an unknown user, and anyone might be wary of their namesake website being in the hands of a crowd of anonymous users.
Here’s where it gets weird, and nasty: the owners of the site – who claim to have invested nearly 5 years in building the online community and raised countless dollars for Paul’s campaigns – made an offer to give the former congressman the RonPaul.org website for free, and the RonPaul.com domain (along with its 170k-strong mailing list) for… $250k.
The owners of the site think that is a pretty good deal:
The value we put on the deal was $250k; we are getting our mailing list appraised right now but we are confident it is easily worth more than $250k all by itself. Claims that we tried to sell Ron Paul “his name” for $250k or even $800k are completely untrue, and there is little doubt that our mailing list would have enabled Ron Paul to raise several million dollars for the liberty movement this year. It would have been a win/win/win situation for everyone involved.
Paul didn’t respond to their offer. Instead, he took their letter straight to the highest authority on internet domain regulation: the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization to file a long complaint in which Paul’s legal team accused the owners of the domains of acting in "bad faith" and assessing the total value of all their offers at a mere $50,000.
As you can imagine, his fans are absolutely dismayed:
Back in 2007 we put our lives on hold for you, Ron, and we invested close to 10,000 hours of tears, sweat and hard work into this site at great personal sacrifice … Now that your campaigns are over and you no longer need us, you want to take it all away – and send us off to a UN tribunal?
That’s not cool! We want our old pre-retirement Ron Paul back!
While the respondents have 21 days to lawyer up, the damage done to the relationship between Paul and his fans might be too much to be undone – especially if Paul pursues the suit.