Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

No Bounce for McCain?

BY Ari Melber | Monday, February 18 2008

John McCain may be the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, with a huge delegate lead and backing from both Bush Sr. and Jr., but his success has failed to produce any bounce online. McCain's website traffic, which is crucial for raising money and harvesting contact information from new supporters, still lags far behind both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Here are recent figures from Alexa.com:

While Obama generated strong online interest from supporters and donors for months, his website drew the most visitors as his campaign gathered momentum in the run-up to Super Tuesday. In contrast, McCain's recent surge has not translated to any greater interest online.

"I wouldn't expect any bump in online traffic or activity for McCain. He won the nomination on the backs of moderates and independents. Moderates and independents don't spend any time online obsessing about politics," explained Conn Carroll, a blogger for The Heritage Foundation, a conservative non-partisan think tank. Carroll, who tracked web politics for The Hotline's blogometer, contrasted McCain's web drought to Ron Paul, the libertarian long tail candidate who raised tons of money online but never built a large coalition.

Some candidates do draw more enthusiasm online than at the voting booth, but the lack of any web bounce at all for McCain is just weird. (The McCain Campaign did not reply to a request for comment.) His 2000 campaign adroitly used the web for organizing, and was rewarded with impressive backing at the time, including 86,000 registered web supporters. After he won that year's New Hampshire primary, he downloaded $2.2 million in a week -- a record at the time. And two out of five of those donors were first-timers. As The Chicago Tribune reported in February 2000:

Thursday night marked another milestone in presidential campaign history when McCain held what is believed to be the first presidential campaign political fundraiser entirely on the Internet. McCain, campaigning in South Carolina, spoke in Washington and 17 other places via satellite. And 500 people paid $100 each to chat with him over the Internet. The candidate appeared on video from Charleston, answering questions on the environment and Internet taxes. "It's going to change politics in America," McCain said of the Internet. McCain's innovative use of the Internet could rewrite some of the rules of American politics. At the very least, the Internet may become some campaigns' main method of raising money...

As an underdog candidate, McCain saw the Internet's potential before most politicians in either party. For 2008, he even tapped one of Howard Dean's former web gurus to run online outreach. (That political marriage didn't last long.) The Internet is changing politics in America, as McCain predicted, but it just might leave him in the dust.

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

More