I decided to take a look at the website for the incoming Barack Obama administration, The Office of the President-Elect — and it looks an awful lot like a campaign site. It announces that “change has come to America”, even though Obama is still more than two months from taking the oath of office. It’s replete with campaign slogans on Iraq, the economy, and other issues. None of this is terribly new, and it all looks like it got transplanted from BarackObama.com.
However, this site has a .gov top-level domain (change.gov). That is reserved for “qualified government organizations and programs”. The incoming administration technically has no status as a government organization or program until January 20, 2009. The “Office of the President-Elect” doesn’t exist within the government. Furthermore, the use seen at the site is clearly promotional for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and should have been kept at their own campaign domain rather than set up as an official US government site.
And why are they using a .gov site to compile mailing lists?
Why does the government need to collect e-mails and addresses from citizens in order to share their stories with the President-Elect? What purpose does the OPE have for this information? Are they hoping to build a list to sell to political allies, or perhaps just to telemarketers to help pay off the deficit? Since this is hosted as a government site, I think they need to explain what official use they will make of this information.
If we’re going to have a perpetual campaign in the next administration, they could at least have the decency to use their private-sector domain name.