Presidential hopefuls for 2008 have already started campaigning online. With websites, blogs, vlogs from everyone from John Edwards to Sen. John McCain, the Internet is beginning to be inundated with ’08′s hopefulsâ€”except in one area: pay-per-click.
Daily Kos reports Sunday on the pay-per-click race so far:
Republicans seem to be first out of the starting gate in the paid search arena.
[Mitt] Romney is clearly the most aggressive advertiser with his name displaying on searches for himself and five other candidates. I wonder if his neglect of the rest of the field (including Gingrich) is a clue as to his opinion of their competitiveness or likelyhood [sic] of entering the race. Romney and McCain are the only candidates to advertise on competitor’s search terms.
The most striking observation is that none of the leading Democrats are advertising at all. Obviously, it is still early, but these ads aren’t expensive and they can generate traffic and help to channel prospective supporters. Republicans are in this game by themselves. [emphasis added]
This is not to say that no one is bidding on “hillary clinton,” “barack obama,” “john edwards,” et al. The #1 paid result for Hillary, for example, is from Moviefone.com. Other than the candidates themselves, advertisers include political & PAC sites, opinion sites, and ’08 campaign gear sites.
Mark, as he signs the same post on NewsCorpse.com, finds his results suprising because, he says, “Previous studies suggest that there is an ideological disparity in media preferences. The Red Media/Blue Media divide shows Democrats leaning toward the Internet as a news source. Since the Internet is perceived to be friendly to progressives, why have they not pursued a greater presence?”
The facts, however, tell a different story. In November 2006, Nielsen//NetRatings reported that “36.6 percent of U.S. adults online are Republicans, 30.8 percent are Democrats and 17.3 percent are Independents.” While he’s correct that the Internet is perceived as “friendly to progressives,” the numbers indicate that more Republicans are online.
Mark also gives some free advice to the candidates:
I also did searches of five issues – Iraq War, Social Security, Global Warming, Civil Liberties, and Minimum Wage. There were no candidate ads returned in any of them. This seems like an opportunity slipping away.
If I were called upon to give some Internet-savvy campaign advice, I might suggest that former Senator Edwards change his favicon to something that doesn’t make me think I’ve wandered onto Wal-Mart’s site. And also, he should prohibit his bloggers from ever using the phrase “give props” again. Just don’t.
And for serious advice: bid on misspellings of your names. (Mitt Romney and John McCain already are.)
Realistically, I doubt we’ll see the Internet being perfectly wielded as a campaign tool this time around, though it appears that it’s already being utilized better than in the ’06 election.
Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “PPC campaign.”