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The 2012 File on Newt Gingrich: How's He Doing Online?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 1 2011

With ABC News reporting that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is about to become the first Republican to formally throw his hat into the 2012 presidential sweepstakes by creating a "presidential exploratory committee," we here at techPresident thought it might not hurt to pull together some baseline information about his online presence.

Speaker Gingrich, whom everyone refers to as "Newt"--which we will too, for simplicity's sake--has several major online assets. The first is, not coincidentally, "Newt.org," which has been his online hub since as early as the fall of 1996. One result: if you Google "newt," Gingrich's home page comes up first and third (with a little amphibian in between). The only other likely GOP candidate who does as well with organic search is Mitt Romney.

That said, Newt.org is not drawing much web traffic these days: barely 20,000 unique visits in recent months, according to Compete.com. Here's a look at how he stacks up against Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul:

Nor is he especially strong in social media. Our Facebook tracking shows him well behind Palin, Romney and Huckabee, for example, with just over 100,000 "likes."

He's in better shape on Twitter, with more than 1.3 million followers--three times as many as Palin. And his American Solutions organization is said to have an email list of 1.5 million members--many who joined in during Newt's successful "Drill Here, Drill Now" push a few summers ago.

One thing that may hurt Newt is that the web doesn't forget scandal, and in his case his two affairs during two prior marriages apparently score high in organic Google searches--at least here in New York, where I got the following auto-fill responses on his name:

As for his presence on YouTube, I'll leave it to you to decide whether his appearance on the Ali G show a few years back, which comes up high in his search results there, will help or hurt his presidential chances, especially with younger voters:

P.S. @FakeNewt appears untaken. If you're out there lurking, email me!

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