The Daily Caller, one of the fastest-growing online media properties, announced today its acquisition of KeithOlbermann.com, expanding the company’s global reach into a new segment of the online political market. For more than six months The Daily Caller has been a recognized market leader in commentary about Keith Olbermann. Ruth Graham’s weekly Olbermann wrap-up, “We watch, because we’re paid to,” appears on The Daily Caller’s website each Friday.
“We plan to make The Daily Caller the one-stop online shop for Keith Olbermann commentary,” said Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson. “We will be THE Keith Olbermann superstore.”
“This is part of our long-term growth strategy,” added Publisher and CEO Neil Patel. “Our future acquisition targets include several other annoying cable news commentators.”
Olbermann, the host of a low-rated nightly show on MSNBC, attacked The Daily Caller last week on Twitter. “Daily Caller has never known what Daily Caller is talking about,” he wrote.
You may (or may not) have noticed that there’s been a bit of a feud taking place between MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and The Daily Caller, the website run by (former MSNBC-er) Tucker Carlson.
The Caller — via its Twitter account, especially — has poked fun at Olbermann with headlines such as “Keith Olbermann talks too much about himself: We watch, because we’re paid to.”
Olbermann hasn’t taken the taunts sitting down, responding via Twitter with “@TheDailyCaller unfortunately I don’t read you because I don’t have to.”
Olbermann has said Carlson has a “bow tie contained brain” and named Carlson among his “worst persons in the world” on several occasions.
The Daily Caller has knocked Olbermann’s “ratings decline” and so on and so on …
But the battle has been kicked up a notch today, as The Daily Caller has purchased www.KeithOlbermann.com. The site, as you can imagine, directs readers to The Daily Caller’s online offerings.
“This is just the beginning of an online public service project,” Carlson told POLITICO. “We’ll be rolling out more in the coming weeks and months but I’d love to get your suggestions. Email me anytime at my personal address, firstname.lastname@example.org.”
We’ve reached out to MSNBC for comment. Will update as soon as we hear back.
UPDATE: Olbermann tells POLITICO: “I hope whoever sold it to them got cash.”
Steve Krakauer at Mediaite:
Tucker Carlson and his site Daily Caller have been having fun today with their new acquisition, KeithOlbermann.com.We talked to Tucker in a podcast tonight about the reason for buying the site – but he also unleashed personally on the top-rated MSNBC host and former colleague. And Jon Klein. And Eliot Spitzer…
Tucker explained to Mediaite why he bought the site. “The opportunity to acquire KeithOlbermann.com arose and we felt it was a market niche which we could enter and dominate and it would be a public service so we did it,” he said. “Plus it’s amusing as hell.”
Now, about Keith specifically. Here are some comments from our discussion, but you can listen to all of it below:
I’ve heard a lot from MSNBC, from friends of mine who work there who despise Keith. I’ve always had kind of a soft spot for Keith because I feel sorry for him because of his various phobias. He won’t drive a car. He’s obviously a sad guy, in elastic-band jeans…
A lot of people there, as you well know, since you’ve reported on it for years, really hate Keith Olbermann because he’s cruel to people who work for him. A lot of those people have emailed me with joy, jubilation in their voices, in their email. Letters of congratulations, just thank you for doing this finally…
He’s despised at MSNBC…I’m not saying every person at MSNBC despises him but I would say he’s the most disliked person in the building by a factor of 10, and I would dare anybody who’s worked there to look me right in the eye and deny that…I don’t have any malice toward Olbermann. I feel sorry for him.
Well. We’ve reached out several times to MSNBC for comment.
We also asked Carlson about CNN’s recent prime time moves:
I think it’s great. I think it’s probably too late to work but I hope it does. I certainly wish them well. It’s amazing that Jon Klein still has a job. That’s amazing to me. But there’s a lot of good people at CNN. I’m glad to see debate make a comeback.
Of Eliot Spitzer: “The worst Attorney General, probably, in the history of the world.”
I suspect that the rest of the annoying cable news commentators are contacting hosting services as we speak to buy their own .com domains. Frankly, that’s SOP for anyone in the business, especially for those who write books. Olbermann has written two, one with Dan Patrick during the ESPN days in 1998, and another in 2007 that repackaged his “special comment” rants about the Bush administration. Still, one would think that Olbermann would have wanted to promote those efforts himself.
Neil Patel is obviously placing his tongue firmly in his cheek with the “acquisition strategy” and rollout announcement. It’s a parody of corporate communications, and a pretty humorous one at that. That doesn’t mean they won’t exploit their new asset, of course, assuming they can hang on to it. They already have a regular Olbermann column (“We watch because we’re paid to watch”) that tracks the host’s daily performance, and the new URL would be perfect for it.
However, Patel better enjoy it while he can. I’d bet that the Daily Caller doesn’t get to use the name for long. As I recall, courts have taken dim views of poaching eponymous domain names, and a concerted effort by MSNBC’s lawyers will likely return to Olbermann what he should have bought in the first place. Meanwhile, keep checking KeithOlbermann.com to keep up with the war.
Alex Pareene at Salon:
As you may have heard, Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller bought KeithOlbermann.com. That URL now takes you to a Keith Olbermann-focused version of the Daily Caller site. (Or, uh, the regular Daily Caller site, which is currently going with at least 7 Olbermann stories above the fold.) It did this purely to annoy Olbermann. No matter what you think of the “Countdown” host, this is childish, petty and boorish behavior for a formerly respected journalist like Carlson. And that is why we here at Salon are proud to announce our purchase of TuckerCarlson.net.
Tragically, Carlson has already reserved TuckerCarlson.com. But TuckerCarlson.net was there for the taking, and so we took it. At the moment, we’re just pointing it at War Room. But what should we do with it?
Greg Pollowitz at NRO:
Ironically, Tucker Carlson successfully sued the owner of TuckerCarlson.com in 2008 for doing basically the same thing he’s doing to KeithOlbmerann.com now:
TuckerCarlson.com was registered in 2003. The domain points to a DomainSponsor parking page including links to “The Tucker Carlson Show” and “Tucker MSNBC”. The owner of the domain name used privacy protection to mask his identity.
In general, celebrities can win UDRP decisions if they are reasonably well known and if the corresponding domain name is being used for profit (ala Jerry Seinfeld). If it is being used for criticism, such as in the case of Jerry Falwell and typo Fallwell.com, domain owners have prevailed in disputes. Also, politician’s domain names are usually fair game if it is being used in a non-commercial manner.
I have no idea if KeithOlbmermann.com in its current iteration will fall into this exemption category, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing from both Keith and Tucker soon enough.
Dan Amira at New York Magazine:
Whether the Daily Caller’s plans to build KeithOlbermann.com into the Internet’s premiere Olbermann-criticism site is a good publicity stunt is not in question. It is. It’s all over the Internet, and Olbermann will probably complain about it on his show tonight. The back-and-forth will result in lots of attention for both parties involved. That doesn’t mean it’s a smart legal move, though, as Olbermann suggested earlier. In fact, according to Enrico Schaefer, founding attorney of Traverse Legal, a law firm specializing in cybersquatting and domain-name disputes, Olbermann would probably have little trouble becoming master of his domain.
“There’s always room for some debate on this kind of stuff,” Schaefer told us. “But the reality is that Keith Olbermann has got strong trademark rights in his name — a show called Countdown With Keith Olbermann, with his name used as a brand — and therefore anyone that registers a domain name in bad faith, or a personal name of a famous individual who has trademark right, is potentially liable for up to $100,000 in damages, plus attorney fees.”
“But wait a second,” we ignorantly inquired, “What about, you know, freedom of speech? Doesn’t the First Amendment allow us to criticize public figures however we damn well please?” Not always. Some “gripe sites,” as they’re known, are okay, if they “have no financial stake, no positive benefit that they receive. They just have something to say and they’re going to say it,” Schaefer explains. But “the moment that you start to make money or derive a benefit for your business, you lose a whole layer of First Amendment protection.”