Business

The Scottish digital marketing expert who redirected Nigel Farage’s website to Michel Barnier’s website

For the last two weeks Nigel Farage’s website has redirected visitors to the official website of Michel Barnier – because he let one of his most popular domain names lapse.

Thousands of visitors every week have clicked on NigelFarageMEP.co.uk – and been sent to Barnier’s site instead. The MEP site may no longer be Farage’s official site but it ranks higher than his official site on Google and until December 1 was still listed on Wikipedia as his official site.

His domain was bought by digital marketing expert Craig Campbell, who has now decided to redirect people to other sites to make a point about protecting your online identity.

LAPSED DOMAINS CAN CAUSE IDENTITY ISSUES

While it may seem like a prank, Campbell – who has more subscribers to his YouTube channel than 10 Downing Street’s channel – believes there’s a very serious point to this.

The businessman said: “I’ve seen a lot of people online wondering what the hell was going on with Farage – had his website been hacked, was he planning to change parties again or something else.

“All that has happened is that he – or his team – let the domain expire and I was able to completely legally pick it up. Politically we are quite different so I wondered what I could do with it to raise awareness of the identity issues here. Redirecting to Barnier’s website seemed to be a good way to make the point.”

“HIS FOLLOWERS… COULD HAVE BEEN PUMPED”

“It was really careless of his people to have left the old domain name on his Wikipedia page.”

“Now while there’s a bit of fun here, there’s also a serious message to this. Someone could have bought this and used it to get donations off people or tried to scam people. That’s the sort of thing a lot of crooks will do. People could have been conned for considerable sums of cash here quite easily – either by affiliate links or more blatant asks for money. His fanbase, to use a Scottish expression, could have been totally pumped.”

A DIGITAL GOLDMINE

Campbell, Scotland’s highest paid YouTube business speaker, said: “From the viewpoint of online, the site is a goldmine. It ranks highly – above his new ‘official’ site when you go to Google, it has thousands of links going to it and is visited by thousands of people a day even now. From a digital marketing perspective, it’s as good as it gets on so many levels.

“You see domains being done more and more often as a form of activism as well. I know the guy who owned DonaldTrumpScotland.com and he only let it expire once Trump lost the vote. He had bought it because they didn’t want anyone to try and profit from that while Trump was in the White House.

“People – and businesses – need to keep an eye on their digital presence and set things up properly so that they aren’t losing out on a lot of potential business or seeing their reputation take a hit by someone setting up a spoof site.

“There are hard cybersecurity attacks to try and protect yourself from – but looking after your domains and links is fairly basic stuff.

“There are also savvy ways to close down a site – but this wasn’t done either.”

WILL FARAGE TEAM UP WITH GRETA THUNBERG NEXT?

As for the future of the Farage website, Campbell says he’s going to rotate it on a weekly basis to other sites.

He said: “I’m going to ask people on my LinkedIn and YouTube channels every week where I should redirect the traffic to. I might do Greta Thunberg next.” Craig also went on to say “ that he is keen to make sure that the domain gets back to its rightful owner, and if anyone from Nigel’s team wants to get in touch he will happily hand it over so that it remains in the right hands, and maybe they can even use the power of the backlink profile to boost Nigel’s official website “

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