STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
France's Marine Le Pen has proposed changing the name of her far-right party "Front National" (National Front) to "Rassemblement National" (National Rally) this weekend.
However it seems there are two major problems with that proposal. The first was already reported on by the French edition of the Huffington Post: someone else already owns the trademark "Rassemblement National", namely Igor Kurek, a minor French political figure running a different political movement.
Le Pen's second problem is Mario Van Poppel, a Belgian expat living in London.
if #MarineLePen considers renaming #FrontNational to #RassemblementNational then I guess she must have registered the .com domain name n'est pas? After all the FN website is .com. Well... it was for sale a minute ago... pic.twitter.com/avG4TpKtpj-- Mario Van Poppel (@LOcurrency) March 11, 2018
was een premium domain name. Ik dacht om hem te kopen, live zetten en dan crowdfunden. pic.twitter.com/nmWdHbzfYY-- Mario Van Poppel (@LOcurrency) March 12, 2018
Van Poppel bought the domain name on March 12, 2018 for £2103.95 (around $2900) including taxes and told Lead Stories he wasn't sure what to do with it yet. He stated he might set up a crowdfunding campaign later to offset the cost of the purchase.
This isn't the first time the Belgian joker snaps up the domain name of a political campaign. In 2016 he pulled a similar stunt with voteleave.com, which he bought before the people behind the Brexit campaign (who ran voteleave.co.uk) could get their hands on it. He redirected that domain name to a video of the popular song "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. Fooling unuspecting people with promising internet links that point to that video is known in internet jargon as "Rickrolling".
As of a few minutes ago, rassemblementnational.com started redirecting to the video too.
2018-03-12T12:48:53Z 2018-03-12T12:48:53ZCrowdfunding campaign now live on IndieGogo