change dot gov Barack Obama's transition site is the website for the transition of president-elect Barack Obama. One of the pages there supported mandatory community service, and that page was quickly sent down the memory hole after that was pointed out. Later, the entire "Agenda" section was removed. Then, it was announced that Obama would be uploading his weekly radio address as videos to Youtube and other services. As predicted at that link, no form of interaction was allowed when the videos were eventually posted.

Then, videos were posted there that were like something from the West Wing TV show.

The current latest entertaining scams are a Digg-like voting system that will allow visitors to vote for questions Obama will be asked. However, as illustrated by other similar attempts, popular voting systems only allow the weakest questions to be voted to the top. They've also added a highly similar "Citizen's Briefing Book" which suffers from the same flaws.

Note that the site change.dov uses the IP address, and if you put that into your browser's address bar you'll be taken to a holding page for Blue State Digital, a private company. The Government Services Administration is the registrar for .gov names, and they say at

To maintain domain name integrity, eligibility is limited to qualified government organizations and programs. Having a managed domain name such as .gov assures your customers that they are accessing an official government site.

In response to my inquiry, GSA says that is operating within the law. While persuasive, that is just their opinion.

And, it later turned out that an exception was made for Obama, something that the GSA did not tell me in their response.

Last modified Jan 15, 2009
Discussed in (click each link for the full post):

The "Citizen's Briefing Book", the latest Barack Obama scam - 01/15/09

The latest scam from the Barack Obama camp is a "Citizen's Briefing Book" at change dot gov: Round 2: Ask Obama stupid questions, get stock responses - 01/13/09

Barack Obama's change dot gov has released their responses for the second round of their scam where they encouraged people to submit and vote for questions that Obama would answer ( As with other popular voting systems, it was designed to fail, with weak questions being voted up while tough questions (such as the ones I submitted) languishing or being voted down (my vote totals at that link). What might have worked is if people had submitted only a small number of very tough questions and voted those up. Instead, dozens or...

More immigration questions for Barack Obama ( Open for Questions) - 12/29/08

Barack Obama's change dot gov is starting round two of their "Open for Questions" scam (why it's a scam is explained here) where they solicit questions from the public at

GSA misled me: exception was made for - 12/20/08

Earlier this month I sent an email to the .gov registrar - part of the Government Services Administration - inquiring whether Obama's transition site change dot gov was within the federal rules for .gov domain names. They indicated it was.

Obama releases "answers" to user-generated "questions" (420, dude) - 12/15/08

Barack Obama's change dot gov recently asked the citizens to submit questions which he would deign to answer. Now, the answers to the "top" questions have been released here. The questions were weak, the answers were weak and could have been gleaned from Obama's positions. All that was predictable; see the discussion of popular voting systems. First, my question - tougher than any of the others I saw - got 17 up votes versus 13 down votes. Since the question is fact-based, one wonders why 13 people didn't think Obama should have been asked it. Reading these questions is making me weep for our...

GSA says is a legal, "hybrid" site - 12/11/08

Barack Obama's change dot gov is, per the Government Services Administration, legal. A few have speculated that it might be operating outside the letter of the law due to the fact that it's hosted at the private Blue State Digital and has non-governmental privacy policies and the like. The GSA statement (below), while persuasive, is just their opinion and it still seems a bit odd to have a .gov site that has a privacy policy ripped from various candidates' websites. Here's the (probably boilerplate) email that registrar *at* recently sent me in response to my inquiry: www.Change...

My question for Barack Obama (in-state tuition for illegal aliens) - 12/11/08

Change dot gov is soliciting questions from the citizens and allowing others to vote on submitted questions. Presumably Obama will answer the most popular questions and, as previously discussed this system shares the same flaws as other popular voting systems and is thus little more than a scam designed to fool people into thinking that Obama will answer tough questions. As a test, I (using the same Robert Bellaire pseudonym as I used at MyBHO) submitted the following question. Due to character length limitations I didn't include as much supporting information as I would have wanted: You...

New Obama scam: visitors vote for questions he'll be asked - 12/10/08

Barack Obama has recently launched a new effort that lets visitors to change dot gov submit questions he should be asked. Others then vote those questions up or down, and he'll presumably answer the top rated questions at some point in time: This is, in a word, a scam: it shares the same huge design flaw as other popular voting systems in which weak questions are pushed to the top while the questions he should be asked are ignored. In fact, he has experience with such a scheme, where a weak question from the 10Questions group was asked of him after...

Sham: Obama to hold "fireside chats" on Youtube - 11/14/08

Jose Antonio Vargas of the Washington Post breathlessly informs us of this: Today, President-elect Obama will record the weekly Democratic address not just on radio but also on video -- a first.

Cached copy of Barack Obama's agenda section - 11/10/08

Barack Obama's - the official president-elect transition site - deleted their entire Agenda section over the weekend. There's apparently a cached copy here, although I haven't verified it since I didn't bother saving off my own copy. UPDATE: There's a better-looking version from Google's cache here. As with the other one I didn't verify it.

Mandatory community service still included in Obama's preK-12 education plan - 11/08/08

Yesterday, we discussed how one page at Barack Obama's new site said he'd push for mandatory community service. The campaign later changed that page to match the more voluntary-oriented statements the campaign made elsewhere. However, there's still one thing they'll probably want to send down the memory hole. The file (available under the link "Read the Pre-K to 12 Plan" at contains the following: VIII.

Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel want mandatory community service?; contradicts earlier statements; 100 hours/year in college - 11/07/08

Yet more fun with Barack Obama's president-elect website, as the page has this: Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. This "requirement" contradicts not only past statements, but another statement on From the page "Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan for Universal Voluntary Public Service" at Obama and Biden will set a goal that all middle and high... Obama launches his own president-elect website - 11/06/08

This is just great: (I actually said another word before "great", and I'll let everyone imagine what that word was.) That's the official site for the "office of the president-elect", a new government website just to help usher in Barack Obama. And, it's not from the Bush-welcome-to-DC perspective, but instead from the Obama-I'm-in-charge-now perspective. He's even got a wonderful form you can use called "An American Moment: Your Story" ( Start right now.