If a curious resident types in LondonBreed.com, they’ll find Mark Leno’s smiling face instead of the board president’s.
That’s due to an anonymous cybersquatter’s redirect after demanding $100,000 for mayoral candidate and Supervisor London Breed’s name as her website domain.
While launching her mayoral campaign, Breed and her team sought to use the obvious and easy-to-find LondonBreed.com. But it was taken as far back as October 2016, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The cybersquatter demanded $100,000 to own the URL, which Breed’s team failed to pay. Shortly after, the link redirects straight to the website of one of her main mayoral competitors, MarkLeno.com.
And now, Breed’s campaign is fueling skepticism about the claim from Mark Leno’s team that they had nothing to do it.
“It is a bit odd they’re denying it, since the link takes you straight to Leno’s site,” Breed campaign adviser Conor Johnston told the Chronicle. “We’re thinking of buying hypocrite.org and glasshouses.com and forwarding them to markleno.com too.”
Leno campaign adviser Dan Newman responded that the conspiracy “makes as much sense as the Tide Pod challenge” and that they would be more than happy to help Breed regain a domain of her full name. (The official website is now londonformayor.com.)
A similar mystery surfaced during the Republican presidential primaries when JebBush.com began rerouting to then-candidate Donald Trump’s website, whose team denied any involvement.
Breed’s cybersquatter could be anywhere in the world. But it’s hard to imagine a Macedonian teenager looking to make a buck also investing a probably politically-motivated redirect in the San Francisco mayoral race.