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Why Aren’t Democratic Candidates Supporting The Blogsphere?

by Stuart ONeill

(This is an introduction to a longer examination I intend to publish next week. )

If you look at the political advertising on Democratic/Left Political Blogs, including DemDaily, there are few ads from Candidate Campaigns. Only the largest sites, Dkos, MyDD, Atrios etc. draw a few short ad placements from the largest campaigns. You seldom, if ever, see a direct Campaign ad purchased at here at DemDaily or most blogs.

Did you see the Obama ad that ran here for a few days? If you looked closely it was running as a result of a Google Adwords campaign. It earns DemDaily nearly nothing.

Whether it’s for the Presidential, Congressional, State Legislature, Local seats, we see that candidates are spending their money everywhere but the one place that supports them most directly?

If Blogger Owners and Writers, at great personal and financial expense, are providing Democratic efforts at all levels a very viable campaign platform, why aren’t the Candidates using and supporting the resource?

I’ll examine the topic in more depth next week. Your views would be appreciated.

10 Responses to “Why Aren’t Democratic Candidates Supporting The Blogsphere?”

  1. Stuart

    You ask a good question that a lot of blog owners have been asking each other. In the past we’ve had a couple of ads from Clinton, an ad from Dodd and I think that’s it from the ’08 presidential campaigns.

    One thing that’s been happening is that we’re all being courted by PR companies to write about various issues, magazine articles, books, movies etc. Likewise we all get press releases from the candidates in hopes it seems that we’ll write about their new ads, etc.

    Richardson had a new ad with some netroots (Stoller and ?) folks in thew ad. You would have thought he would have done an ad buy on the blogs. No ad buy from what I can tell – just a press release or two looking for bloggers to write about the ad.

  2. For the most part, this crop of candidates is going to ultimately be disappointing to people who want something other than, mostly, more of the same. They don’t intend to deliver, can disguise themselves only so long, and don’t want to stregthen entites that may well turn around and try to bite them in the ass.

    Or they’re taking us for granted in the same way that they do black voters.

  3. Ad money? What ad money? I’ve covered 65+ political events in photos throughout eastern Iowa over the past 8 months, plus the publishing of a number of candidate news releases and my take in ad revenue amounts to $4.15 in Google Adsense. People don’t click ads…. The candidates must think the exposure still lies in Newspaper and Television Ads…

  4. Appreciate the thoughts of everyone. Micheal’s comment is most direct.

  5. Stuart:

    You’re exactly right. While Michael is also correct — the ad revenue in Google is virtually non-existant, as with many schemes — the failure of the Democratic politicians to appreciate or understand the netroots blogosphere is a fact.

    Perhaps it relates to the reason that they don’t show any spine: an entire generation of Democratic politicians started IN power, WITH their agenda foremost, and they’ve been skating on that, even though election after election, issue after issue, they’re handed their collective ass.

    I don’t remember the consultant, but he was intimately involved in losing presidential bids going back to the 1980s, and says this time he’ll sit it out. Well, he SHOULD have sat it out 20 years ago. But the “machinery” is so unresponsive — as a systemic problem — that no one seems to notice what works and what doesn’t.

    Case in point: at least since 1998, around here, phone banking reached the point of diminishing returns — i.e. the number of voters that you pissed off was exactly equal to the number of voters you turned on — but, incapable of deviating from dogma (weird synchronicity, the Fred Thompson campaign just called, phone banking and royally pissed me off*) the party machinery grinds on, never asking “does this work?”

    The same Power Elite who insist on using the same old outdated campaign tactics and keep losing, can’t figure out what the internet IS, much less how the blogosphere SUPPORTS their candidacies.

    Let me make a prediction: 2008 will be as devastating for the “old line” Democratic leadership as it will be electorially for the Republicans. Cro magnon has arrived. The Neanderthals still gripping the levers of power need to accept extinction and “move on.”

    [* Why they would call a household with two registered Democrats and an Independent, and ask for one of the Democrats probably explains WHY the Thompson campaign is foundering.]

  6. Google Ads don’t make money for websites unless they are very highly trafficked. I have a friend who’s brother is an animator his two websites make him a lot of money with Google. He’s an exception in my book.

    Looking forward to your full piece on this Stuart.

  7. Hart

    “the failure of the Democratic politicians to appreciate or understand the netroots blogosphere is a fact”

    I would tend to disagree with this in part. There are plenty of Democratic politicians utilizing the netroots in much the same way they utilize the news media at this point. Bloggers are invited to conference calls, receive the same press releases that the media does and many Democratic leaders take the blogs and post. Kerry is a prime example of utilizing the netroots and there are others.

    Where bloggers get frustrated is the lack of financial support. Unlike the news media that makes money on advertising, blogs get very little advertising unless they are high traffick blogs like DKos, Atrios, etc. So bloggers who are journalists in fact, are working hard and seeing little financial return for their efforts.

    It’s my understanding from talking to one connection I have that the candidates are holding back on advertising until primary season gets closer. But, they need to understand that while we do help them so much, we’re all drained and do need their support as well.

    I hope Stuart piece draws some attention from the folks in the campaigns and PAC’s and I know I will personally make certain that I pass it along to my connections on the Hill and elsewhere.

  8. Well, Pamela, I would disagree with your disagreement. To paraphrase Bob Schieffer’s commentary on the government’s response to Katrina, it’s like a dog watching TV. They see the moving pictures, they hear the sound, but they don’t have any idea what it actually means.

    You say that they treat us exactly like they try to game the news media. That tells me that they DON’T GET IT. Get it?

    Politicians have said everything that can be said in every way it can be stated, so we look at their ACTIONS.

    And, functionally, they’re a dog watching TV. You can sugar coat it however you want, but functionally, they’re still stuck in 1998. They think we’re some kind of radio station or newspaper.

    They figured out in 2004 that they could raise money, but that’s as far as it’s gone. Oh, it’s like cold calling. Got it. So they spam the SAME DAMN letters to your email that you used to get in your snail mail.

    If they SERIOUSLY wanted to exploit the blogosphere, they’d do more than just show up at Yearly Kos. Worse, this year, they’re HIRING bloggers — like Carla here at Loaded Orygun — to “blog” about their campaigns.

    Which takes a vital and original voice out of circulation and turns it into campaign talking points. As informative as the phone book and just as interesting to read. The loss of Carla’s speaking her mind and digging in her inimitable way is a gift to the Republicans of Oregon.

    With all due respect, when I see them doing it, I’ll believe it. When I hear them talking, well, talk is cheap and whiskey costs money.

    At present, this is how it goes:

    You work for free, and those for whom you do the work value it at precisely what they paid for it.

  9. Hart

    They have been HIRING for the past few years. Nearly every presidential campaign has hired bloggers, some with prior political experience and some with no more than netroots experience. And no doubt Carla at Loaded Orygun is thrilled to be getting paid to do something she enjoys doing. I know I sure as hell would be thrilled to be paid too.

    The bloggers that are making money via blog ads, donations, etc are highly trafficked blogs. Kos has been a paid consultant, Jerome Armstrong, the list goes on and on. Access granted to press lists affords communication with communication staff, and case in point today Taylor Marsh broke the story of Clinton’s support for Webb’s bill and soon after Clinton’s press release was distributed among the bloggers.

    And finally considering the news media is asleep at the wheel with getting Democratic candidates message out there via talking points or whatever, it’s damn good thing bloggers are picking up the slack. Many bloggers would love a crack at working for campaign – and many would prefer not to. Stuart I am sure will concur.

  10. Hell, yes. I’d love to be in the Big Game with a campaign. Hell, I’d love to be back in the Congressional Game. I’m waiting now to hear what the results of some fundraising may be for a particular candidate. In that case I’d be senior staff not blogger.

    Blogging a campaign is FAR more than repeating talking points, Hart. Far more. It’s knowing how to write for the web. It’s knowing where and when to post. It’s proactively reaching out to the Blogsphere and others with solid information.

    Blogging a campaign is a pain in the ass if you do it right. And I have.

    The Democratic candidates, by and large, have fine online staffers and coordination. You can look at Tim Tagaris with Chris Dodd and know Tim has had much to do with Dodd’s impact with innovative video etc. Using US Stream TV was a breakthrough tactic. His use of live events with D-TV (Dodd TV) has been something I’ve advocated for some time. Now it’s happened. And there’s an even better way to do it. It will improve.

    Eric Carbone, one of the originators of the Wes Clark Draft Movement, is with Joe Biden. Look at his Head to Head 08 site for an innovative piece of campaigning. It’s actually brilliant.

    If it got the publicity that others have gotten this would put Senator Biden in a whole new light…if the viewer went in with an open mind.

    Senator Clinton has Peter Dauo. You simply can’t get any better.

    Tracy Joan, last I heard, was working with the Edwards campaign. She’s well qualified if a relative newcomer. Edwards is coming across well in the Blogsphere. She partly responsible for that success.

    The candidate field is the best we’ve had since 1968. Period. I was there. There’s no lack of innovation…just open minds to see it.

    I’d be proud to staff a Presidential Campaign…regionally or nationally.

    They simply haven’t gotten to the point where they can most effectively use our ‘new media’. That’s where we come in. We Teach Them.