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    2008 Candidates Jump Online with Early Blog Ads

    by Mark Glaser
    January 19, 2007

    i-94e12928945d54f78be1a9ab7eed9825-Obama BlogAd.jpg
    Blog ad for Obama campaign

    There has been a delicate dance between political operatives and the Internet. While activists have been using blogs and new media to spread the word about politics or specific candidates for years, the politicians and their consultants have been wary of spending too much of their campaign chest on online marketing. They have largely stuck to the tried and true: TV ads.

    While that might well continue through the coming 2008 presidential election, there are finally some signs of change. John Edwards posted his intention to run in the election on YouTube, and asked viewers to text message him to join his OneCorps organization. Barack Obama announced that he was starting an exploratory committee in a video distributed through Brightcove, an online video startup.

    And the online marketing push is not limited to potential Democratic candidates. Republicans Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney, as well as Obama and Edwards, have already run advertisements on weblogs to start signing up supporters on their own websites and start raising money. Those ads are running nearly two years before the election, easily trumping the 11 months before the ’04 election when blog ads starting appearing for the last presidential race.

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    “The effort is driven by our recognition of a very unique and motivated audience among new media devotees,” Romney spokesman Kevin Madden told MediaPost. “Our blog ads help reach this audience and drive traffic to our mittromney.com website and provide more information about Mitt Romney, his campaign, his ideas and how they can then in turn join our effort.”

    So why jump on the Net this early in the campaign? Political consultants and advisors are beginning to see the importance of the Internet in shaping voter opinions. As BlogAds chief Henry Copeland points out on his blog, a recent poll of Congressional offices found that 9 out of 10 folks in those offices were reading blogs, and 64% believe that “blogs are more useful than mainstream media for identifying future national political problems and debates.” (You can read the entire survey results here in a Acrobat PDF file.)

    And voters are showing a definite inclination to get political information online. A recent Pew Internet survey found that 31% of all Americans — or nearly half of all Internet users — were online during the 2006 election season getting political news and exchanging views via email. Plus, 15% of Americans said the Internet was one of their two primary sources for political information for the ’06 election, up from 7% who said the same thing in the last mid-term election in 2002. And these are very active voters online, with 23% of folks who use the Net for political reasons creating or forwarding original political commentary or videos.

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    The logic is simple to follow. More people are going online for political news, especially political junkies and activists who can follow every minute detail of presidential campaigns on blogs. The people close to the politicians — advisors, staffers and consultants — have to pay attention to online chatter and video taken on the campaign trail. (It’s hard to forget the macaca video that helped sink Sen. George Allen’s campaign in Virginia in ’06.) So political blogs and online news sites are the perfect place for candidates to reach those important, influential activists.

    Political TV ads are not going to go away by any stretch, and are just too entrenched in the mindset of consultants. But these early efforts show that both Democratic and Republican candidates will be courting bloggers and their audiences for help with their campaigns — and eventually, their votes.

    What do you think? Are candidates benefitting by using new media? How? Do blog advertisements help get their message out? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    Tagged: election politics tv videos weblog
    • Katie

      I would like to see Barack Obama run for president in 2008. I think he has an excellent speaking voice and he voices a lot of the same values that I believe in. I have in the past voted strictly Republican but have to admit that I have not been happy with the way I voted in 2004. President Bush has really slacked this last 4 years. I do not believe it is time for a woman to run this country yet, particularly Hillary Clinton. She appears very snotty and every time I see her speak I feel she is talking down to folks. She thinks she has this thing already won, I just hope she is wrong.
      Katie Mills
      Portsmouth, VA

    • Mark, I think it’s an understatement to say that TV ads “aren’t going away.” TV advertising, and and raising the money to pay for them, remains central to the 08 cycle, just as it was in 1988 and 1968. The electoral Youtubosphere is a fun way for some of us to geek out, and may prove informational to some, but the purpose of the online activities of campaigns is ultimately to help raise funds for TV commercials.

    • Jack

      Ms. H. Clinton is a pathetic person. She is desperately trying to create a presidential posture. Now she’s taking “blame” for allowing Bush to invade Iraq. How presidential. She’s also declaring a time table for when our troops should exit Iraq. That is a foolish statement to make and only serves to embolden the enemy. I’m not happy with the situation in Iraq but Clinton would be a disasterous president to replace Bush. She is power hungry like her husband and perhaps more so.

    • Jack

      Ms. H. Clinton is a pathetic person. She is desperately trying to create a presidential posture. Now she’s taking “blame” for allowing Bush to invade Iraq. How presidential. She’s also declaring a time table for when our troops should exit Iraq. That is a foolish statement to make and only serves to embolden the enemy. I’m not happy with the situation in Iraq but Clinton would be a disasterous president to replace Bush. She is power hungry like her husband and perhaps more so.

    • Blogs are fine, but what presidential candidates really need are some great campaign theme songs. I’m not saying mine are great, but they are different.

      I love BTO, and Fleetwood Mac rocks, but I hope I never have to hear “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” or “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow”in a presidential campaign again. So I’m offering candidates, Republicans in particular some fresh new material for ’08:

      What Part of Right Wing Don’t You Understand?
      Dr BLT
      words and music by Dr BLT (c)2007
      http://www.drblt.net/music/whatpartright.mp3

      and

      Future 2B Hold
      Dr BLT
      words and music by Dr BLT (c)2007
      http://www.drblt.net/music/future3.mp3

      and I’ve even penned one of Democrats:

      Don’t Follow Me
      Dr BLT
      words and music by Dr BLT (c)2007
      http://www.drblt.net/music/dont.mp3

      Dr BLT
      Blog n roll!

    • Candidates of 2008 American Election work very well.
      This delicate dance between political operatives and the Internet is very well.

    • Well I think everyone can see how this has evolved into a great tool for political campaigns. Look at how many are taking advantage of this way of getting the word out now versus when this article was originally posted.

      Quite a change indeed and it will continue to grow.

    • I believe this will be the new way, but well see.

    • Yes ofcourse! I think you already know the answers of all of your questions, this new media is really workable and you can find it out by going…
      1. safe-ways
      2. analyze
      3. affiliates
      4. site flipping
      5. online marketing

    • It was interesting to see how the candidates differed in the use of technology. Obama’s campaign was far superior in this aspect. This was probably one of the reasons why he was able to capture the young vote. It’ll be interesting to see the next campaign goes. Tech is only going to play a bigger part.

      Ben – Kindle Case

    • It’ll be exciting to see how politicians bring the internet to bear on their campaigns this year. As much as he was swept under the rug, the success of Ron Paul online (raising more money in less time than ever before done online!) will not go unnoticed or unlearned from. I firmly believe that the internet will have the power to make or break a candidate in the very near future!

    • The Obama campaign used the power of online marketing very well. I think all election campaigns will follow that trend as it’s more effective in the 21st century.


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