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Daily Digest: 6/12/07

BY Joshua Levy | Tuesday, June 12 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • Kate Phillips at the Caucus picks up on a "flooding the zone" meme that's made it's way from Chuck DeFeo to Joe Trippi to TechPresident contributor David All. Writes All, "the idea behind 'flooding the zone' is to virtually take organic search on YouTube out of the picture as effectively as possible. It’s practically a last-resort tactic which will hopefully never be needed. If the decision is made by your campaign that a YouTube video, like 'Macaca' is crippling the campaign, pull the trigger and 'flood the zone.'" Phillips points out that the previous day she posted about Trippi's reference to flooding the zone at the Business Development Institute's conference on "The Future of Political Communications" (and I heard him use the same phrase at the Politics Online conference earlier this year). Not everyone agrees with the the theory, however. Justin Hamilton, a staffer for Rep. George Miller, criticizes the approach in the comments below Phillips' post: "1) If it’s viral, it’s being passed peer to peer primarily. So the smaller number of people who take the time to find something by organic search on youtube won’t have an impact. 2) By going so far out of your way to keep people from seeing something, you’ve created a taboo effect that will both: make people want to see it more; and give the story a second day because the coverage will turn to the 'desperate cover up attempt' that might make more of an issue than the issue itself."
  • Amy Schatz at the Wall Street Journal writes that, according to new numbers from a Nielsen/Net Ratings survey, political video on YouTube saw a traffic spike in March in April, mostly due to the popularity of the anti-Hillary Clinton "1984" video and John McCain's "Bomb Iran" video. The Phil de Vellis-created "1984" video "accounted for about 75% of all traffic to candidate-related videos on YouTube in March," and in April McCain got twice as much traffic as his Republican rivals due to his "Bomb Iran" video. Also, with the exception of the spike from the "1984" video, Democratic and Republican videos received roughly the same amount of traffic -- about 300,000 to 400,000 viewers a month. As our TubeMogul charts show, Hillary Clinton took the lead in cumulative views in late May, and continues to be more popular on YouTube than Barack Obama, even with a drop in numbers due to a mysterious video removal.
  • MyDD's Chris Bowers calls some readers' demands that partisan sites like MyDD and the DailyKos be fair and balanced "hogwash." "Compared to other medias, front-page blog posts are living documents, and should be treated as such. Further, bloggers are not just reporters, but rather active participants in progressive politics. We have no obligation to provide equal time and non-editorialized coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign," Bowers writes. The post is something of a response to a MyDD diary that charges that Matt Stoller is unfairly bashing Obama in his posts. It seems worth it to ask what a partisan blog's role should be when it becomes a central source for news -- if only so that the sites' bloggers can reflect on their own influence.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Bill Richardson is back with the third installment of his "job interview" ads (in addition to getting traction online, they're airing in Iowa and New Hampshire). In the new installment, as his interviewer looks bored and rubs his eyebrows, Richardson tells him that "global warming is critical for the next president," and details his environmental track record, ending with "I can do all that as president." The interviewer responds, "but what I asked you was, if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?," followed by the horn blast featured in the last two ads. Richardson has again done a great job of merging humor with substance.
  • The candidates are using email for a lot more than fundraising, writes Kate Kaye at ClickZ. "Political campaigns are not only employing [email] to promote fundraising, but to update supporters while on the campaign trail, target opponents, promote events, push paraphernalia, and even appeal to their sweet tooth," Kaye writes. The Rudy Giuliani campaign was particularly keen on pushing paraphernalia, promising "campaign paraphernalia like the candidate's book, campaign caps and pins, in exchange for donations." Kaye also cites the John Edwards campaign's pie recipe email from last week (which we got our hands on) and Mitt Romney has send out newsletters promoting videos on Mitt TV and encouraging supporters to join the campaign.