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Glasgow marketer hijacks Nigel Farage’s website, redirects to EU chief and Kelis’ Milkshake

For the last two weeks Nigel Farage’s website has been redirecting visitors to the official website of former European Commission Task Force chief Michel Barnier.

If that wasn’t bad enough for the Reform UK leader, and staunch champion of all things Brexitty, clicking on today takes you to a YouTube clip of Kelis’ Milkshake, in honour of the rabble rousing populist’s recent lactose-infused visit to the Clacton seat where he hopes to be elected on July 4.

It’s all because Farage allowed his domain name to expire, and canny Scottish marketer Craig Campbell took full advantage.

Thousands of visitors every week have clicked on – and been sent to Barnier’s site, and now Kelis’ hit, instead. The MEP site may no longer be Farage’s official site, but it actually ranks higher than his official site on Google, and until the end of 2023 was still listed on Wikipedia as his official site.

It may seem like a prank, and to be fair it is a prank, but Campbell – who has more subscribers to his YouTube channel than 10 Downing Street’s channel – believes there’s a very serious point to be made: “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,” said Campbell. “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.”

Campbell, who says he is Scotland’s highest paid YouTube business speaker, added: “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 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.”

Turning to 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.”

Campbell added that as a public-spirited citizen he is keen to make sure that the domain gets back to its rightful owner, and if anyone from Nigel’s team want to get in touch he will happily hand it over so that it remains in the right hands: “Maybe they can even use the power of the backlink profile to boost Nigels official website.”

Campbell concluded: “In today’s digital world, your online identity is a vital asset that requires constant attention and protection. The case of Nigel Farage’s domain underscores the potential risks and repercussions of failing to safeguard your digital presence. By taking proactive steps to secure and manage your online identity, you can protect yourself from potential misuse and ensure your reputation remains intact.”

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