6 Strategic Ways to Make Money Off Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign
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It's early in the 2016 Presidential campaign, but some candidates are already grabbing headlines. It's hard to miss the media reports about Hillary Clinton traveling around Iowa by van, courting voters, eating at Chipotle and chatting with locals at small Midwestern diners.
The beginning of the campaign means it's also time to start cashing in on the crop of Presidential candidates. Here’s how you could make money from Clinton’s campaign, even if you don’t care all that much about politics.
1. Consider Domain Squatting
Some people have already attempted to cash in on campaigns via “domain squatting.” This speculative Internet activity involves snapping up domain names you think might be valuable in the future. The idea is that people who really want those domain names, such as political candidates, will pay top dollar to have control over their monikers.
Last year, Time reported that domain squatters were already snapping up as many potential Presidential candidate-themed domain names as possible. A Cayman Islands-based speculator purchased the “.org” site of Hillary Clinton's name and loaded it up with malware, so be sure not to visit that one.
CNN Money recently reported that some Hillary Clinton domain names are being auctioned for up to $295,000 — for example, ElectHillary.com. Some people are planning further ahead; the price for ReElectHillary.com is up to $275,000. While these sites are up for sale, that doesn't mean the owners are cashing in quite yet. People have to bid and be willing to pay those prices, and not many people are ponying up for the premium names.
Of course, sites opposed to Clinton's campaign are also receiving attention, including HillaryNotPresident.com, which is on the market for $295,000.
Florida orthodontist Larry Kawa has had a little better luck with his domain squatting, according to Reuters. He purchased thousands of political domain names from all along the political spectrum, and now resells the sites for between a few hundred bucks and thousands of dollars.
However, beware: domain squatting isn't necessarily legal. Many powerful companies have their lawyers send out “cease and desist” letters when people attempt to squat their names, per the 1999 “Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act,” reports CNN Money.
2. Sell Clinton items on eBay
If you have old Clinton memorabilia to sell, eBay is a good place to do it. The site shows current listings for everything from standard fare, such as books about Clinton, bumper stickers and campaign buttons, to memorabilia from her husband's presidency, including a 1993 Christmas card from the then-President and First Lady.
And then there are the more unusual items for sale, like the action doll that “Dances like J-Lo,” and the vintage 1993 board game called “Wafflin' Willy.” There’s even a doll and nutcracker that cracks nuts between her thighs!
3. Get Creative on Etsy
If you don't happen to have a garage full of Clinton merchandise to sell, no worries — you can create your own.
Etsy shops have started featuring a wide array of Hillary Clinton-themed items, from scoop-necked tank tops with “Hillary 2016” emblazoned on them, to magnets depicting her as Rosie the Riveter. There's even a life-size Hillary Clinton mask and a needlepoint of her quoting Beyonce’s lyrics, “Who run the world? Girls.”
Even themed artwork is up for sale, including a depiction of Clinton holding up two different pant suits (in patriotic red and blue, of course) with a message saying “Suit up, ladies!”
If you have crafty skills, get to work and create your own Hillary Clinton-themed Etsy offerings, then learn how to help your Etsy store stand out.
4. Try On-Demand Printing Sites
Once you’ve designed your items, sell them either through the site you’ve chosen or through your own domain or store.
5. Write and Sell Ebooks
If you're a writer, consider writing and selling an ebook. While hawking a tell-all expose about Clinton could get you into legal hot water, a book about female leadership, quotations or other more neutral topics could appeal to a wide audience.
Of course, be sure to consult with a legal professional before publishing anything that could potentially cause trouble.
6. Cash In On Anti-Clinton Merchandise
Plenty of people are also cashing in on “Anti-Clinton” merchandise, including a wide selection of bumper stickers that depict the candidate in an unfavorable light.
Especially popular options seem to include depictions of Clinton with “devil horns,” and, of course, the ever-popular image of her name surrounded by a red circle with a slash through it, much like a “no smoking” sign.
How to Make Your Merchandise Stand Out
With so many people working to cash in on the election and hawk their products, how can you increase your chances of earning a share of the market?
Make sure you have an original product with a fresh twist. With so many T-shirts, buttons, magnets and other items blandly depicting the candidate, have something that draws attention and is clever or funny.
If you're selling your items online, use search engine optimization to help web surfers find your site so they can purchase your items. Find the best keywords to use and use them effectively to succeed. (Need a primer? Here’s Moz’s beginner’s guide.)
Share on Social Media
Once you have a unique product, use social media to draw attention to your item. Try Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to get the word out about your offerings. If you have something particularly unique, it might even go viral!
Use the Media to Your Advantage
If you truly have a unique and conversation-provoking product, see if you can get on the local news with your item. Call up local papers and news stations and see if they're interested in a story on a local inventor cashing in on the campaign. If you have a particularly captivating item or personality, or even if it's just a slow news day, they just might offer you some coverage.
Of course, advertising, whether with ads in a newspaper, on the radio or on Facebook, is a mainstay for selling products. Consider whether this strategy would be worth the up-front investment for your product.
Your Turn: Do you plan to cash in on Clinton’s campaign? Will you try to make money off the 2016 Presidential race?
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Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.