UKIP's website went down for a number of hours yesterday, with the party highlighting technical difficulties.
Jack Clothier (known as 'Jack Pop') of Oxford-based label Alcopop told PRWeek he bought the domain name ukip.org on Tuesday morning for £200 via Godaddy.com when he saw a tweet highlighting its apparent availability. He then tweeted the news with a picture of the receipt.
"I just saw it and went for it," said Clothier. "Everything has been organic off the back of that tweet - we haven’t sent a press release out or anything like that."
Several publications reported the story, including the Independent, BuzzFeed and the NME. The incident went viral, and for a time ilovealcopop was Twitter's number one trending topic in London. Hits on Alcopop's website were up 30-fold on Tuesday.
"If you look at the analysis it’s been huge. It’s nice because it wasn’t a PR stunt, it was a genuine organic thing that’s just taken off."
There had been speculation that UKIP had failed to renew the domain name. The party’s website was back up and running later on Tuesday.
Clothier, who is not a supporter of UKIP, said he’s in the dark about why he was unable to retain the URL when he had proof of purchase. "We’re not going to fight for the website - but this isn't the last Farage is going to see from us," he added. "We’ve got something planned for the election."
So it looks like Go Daddy has sold us the website, but given it back to UKIP.... We'll be back Farage! Sorry guys pic.twitter.com/NZAEq8Cn8v— Alcopop! Records (@ilovealcopop) January 6, 2015
If Alcopop had been successful in retaining the domain name, one plan was to auto redirect to charity websites.
PRWeek asked UKIP to clarify the situation but received no reply at the time of publication. However, a spokesman for the party told The Independent yesterday: "We have had a technical problem with the website overnight, it is being worked on currently and will get it back up as soon as possible."
Ironically, given the caricature of some UKIP supporters, one of Alcopop's artists is a Birmingham-based band called Johnny Foreigner. The band yesterday tweeted:
Just so you know, @Nigel_Farage we're not overtly political, but we do think you're an awful human being.— Johnny Foreigner (@lexkelandjun) January 6, 2015