Watch CBS News

Philadelphia City Council Candidate Hijacks Domain Names To Steer Voters From His Opponent

By Syma Chowdhry

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- "This election will not come down to domain names."

If you're looking to learn more about City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, you won't find it on

That's because Johnson's Democratic Primary challenger, Ori Feibush, bought domain names representing the councilman.

When you type in, .net or .org, you will be redirected to Feibush's campaign page.

Councilman Johnson says he isn't bothered by the political tactic. He is taking the high road.

"I run a clean campaign. This is about the issues that matter to voters. That's not the type of campaign that we operate."

His campaign website is

"Hopefully folks will be able to go and find more information my platform and how I will move 2nd council district and city of Philadelphia forward."

Eyewitness News went to Feibush's campaign office, but he was not available for an interview.

This is the real estate developer's first time running for a political office.

His campaign manager did give a statement, saying in part: "Our decision to redirect domain names associated with Councilman Johnson  to was a simple measure to let voters know that there is a better option to represent their voice."

Political expert Bill Rosenburg says, "If you think about campaign and dirty tricks this is nothing really new."

Rosenburg is a political science professor at Drexel University.

He says there is nothing illegal about cyber squatting someone's name, but it could backfire against Feibush.

"You have to make a determination about doing little tactics like this, whether that is a serious enough person to represent people in council."

Rosenburg's advice for future politicians,"You should go out and buy all your .com's, .net's, the dot-everything to protect your brand."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.