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Teaparty.com Could Make a Rock Band Rich

Political operatives have been after the domain name for months

There’s no hotter name in politics right now than the Tea Party. But anyone seized with a desire for smaller government who visits teaparty.com won’t find angry activists in tricorn hats spouting Thomas Jefferson. Instead, they’ll land on the website of a Canadian rock band of the same name that pioneered a style of Middle Eastern fusion known as “Moroccan roll” and broke up six years ago. This causes endless confusion for the millions of people who Google “Tea Party” each month. It’s no picnic for the band members, either. “So much damage has been done to our name by the political movement that we’re considering selling,” says Stuart Chatwood, The Tea Party’s bassist.

He and his band mates may feel a little better about the rise of the right wing if they put the domain name up for auction. With so many Presidential candidates, political operatives, and interest groups vying to capitalize on the Tea Party brand, there could be a bidding war. “Last cycle, Barack Obama raised $500 million online,” says Warren Adelman, president of GoDaddy.com, the domain registrar and Web hosting company. “If you look at the money being talked about this time around—campaigns raising $1 billion—it’s easy to expect teaparty.com to go for well over $1 million.”