Mediatwits #54: GOP Convention Gets Social; Ask.com + About.com

    by Mark Glaser
    August 31, 2012
    The GOP set up a special "Convention Without Walls" Facebook app to let more people participate outside of the convention in Tampa

    Welcome to the 54th episode of the Mediatwits podcast, with Mark Glaser and Rafat Ali as co-hosts. The big news is that Apple won a $1 billion patent judgment against Samsung and is trying to block the sale of many Samsung smartphones. What does this mean for other competitors, Android and consumers?

    For the general election, I'd say [the GOP will do more] online and social marketing, but I'd say mobile marketing is where it's at in the last stretches." -James Davis

    We also have a couple special guests reporting live from Tampa at the GOP Convention, including James Davis, the director of communications for the convention, and Dr. Mark Drapeau, who works at Microsoft. They tell us about the success of the “digital green room” for speakers, and some interesting Foursquare partnerships — and the lack of action on Pinterest. Plus, Ask.com CEO Doug Leeds and AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka discuss the recent acquisition of About.com by IAC (which owns Ask.com) and their plans to integrate the site more closely with Ask.com. The New York Times had some success with About.com but then sold the site off to try to refocus the company. Can IAC do more?


    Guest Bios

    James Davis is director of communications for the 2012 Republican National Convention. Previously, Davis worked for the Brunswick Group, an international corporate communications firm, and has served as deputy director of media affairs at the Republican National Committee and associate director of communications for the 2008 Republican National Convention.

    Dr. Mark Drapeau is the Director of Innovative Engagement (Public Sector) for Microsoft, based in Washington DC. As part of that role he edits and writes for Publicyte.com, the company’s blog. Prior to Microsoft he worked at George Washington University, the National Defense University, and New York University.

    CEO of Ask.com, Doug Leeds helms strategy, product and technology internationally for Ask.com, one of the biggest consumer Internet companies in the world with more than 90 million unique users in the U.S. alone.


    Peter Kafka is the media editor at AllThingsD. He has been covering media and technology since 1997, when he joined the staff of Forbes magazine. He made the digital leap to Forbes.com in 2005. In 2007, Mr. Kafka became the first hire at Silicon Alley Insider, where he was the managing editor.


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    Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio’s Music Alley.

    Here are some highlighted topics from the show:

    James Davis


    1:00: Mind-boggling judgment against Samsung in Apple patent case

    2:30: Mark: Long history of patent litigation in Silicon Valley; does it chill innovation?

    5:25: Rundown of topics on our show

    GOP Convention Gets Social

    6:10: Special guests James Davis and Mark Drapeau

    8:45: Davis: We’re doing things in digital that didn’t exist back in 2008

    12:10: Davis: We don’t mind a debate happening on our hashtags

    14:30: Drapeau: Haven’t seen Pinterest used much at GOP convention

    i-39356db5af15b5a6c991fa484cdc2340-Mark Drapeau Microsoft.jpg
    Mark Drapeau

    17:00: Davis: We looked at what ROI we could get from a social network before using it

    18:15: Can social media actually sway an election result?

    21:00: Davis: GOP will put more into online marketing for election, including mobile

    Ask.com + About.com

    21:40: Special guests Doug Leeds and Peter Kafka

    23:10: Leeds: About.com is not a content farm and doesn’t write articles for the Google algorithm

    25:00: Kafka: I was surprised that IAC bought About.com; thought Answers.com deal was done

    26:50: Leeds: We found the more content we had on Ask.com, the more loyalty we got from users

    29:15: How has About.com survived online for 15 years?

    i-47f4f3a532581ba63b477932a448d6b6-Doug Leeds Headshot.jpg
    Doug Leeds

    31:45: Kafka: The Times’ SEC filings say that About.com did get hit by Google algorithm change

    33:00: Leeds: People understand what they’re getting when they see About.com in Google search results

    More Reading

    Why Apple Needs to Lose the Samsung Appeal at Washington Post

    Samsung Braces for New Battle with Apple at Marketwatch

    Apple Lists 8 Samsung Products It Wants Banned at USA Today

    RNC Dispatch: Social Media Grows at Conventions at WNYC

    Infographics: Daily Social Media Buzz at the RNC at MediaShift

    Twitter Political Index

    Social Media Takes Center Stage at RNC at Tampa Bay Times

    Republican, Democratic Conventions Battle to Claim Social Media Supremacy at The Hill

    Barry Diller Shows Up Late, Gets What He Wants; IAC to Buy About.com From New York Times at AllThingsD

    IAC Buying About.com from New York Times at AP

    Times to Sell About Group to IAC for $300 Million at NYT Media Decoder

    Beyond Content Farms special series at MediaShift

    MediaShift Poll

    Don’t forget to vote in our poll, this time about how you’ll be following the political conventions:

    Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian and fiancee Renee. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+

    Tagged: #gop2012 2012 elections 2012 republican national convention about.com apple ask.com digital green room hashtags iac new york times patent pinterest samsung

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