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Politics on the Square

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, March 19 2010

Credit: SquareUp.com

TechCrunch reports that Square, the cell-phone based payment processor, is being used by at least two local political candidates to fundraise at events, as part of the service's beta rollout. (via Tech Republican) TechCrunch's commentators are appropriately skeptical. Aren't trend stories required by some higher power to have at least three examples? But since it's Friday, let's go ahead and indulge in a little harmless speculation about what the potential of Square might be in politics.

Having gotten a chance to play with an early version of Square, we can report that the whole process has been engineered, by Twitter creator Jack Dorsey, to be as easy as possible. The user experience is simple, for sure. But perhaps more importantly for Square users, Dorsey and his team have spent considerable energy streamlining the payment collector's experience on the backend, particular when it comes to engaging with a bank and payment processor. Think about the possibility of a candidate or advocacy group, just starting out, being able to carry a Square-enabled phone door-to-door, collecting small payments.

As TechCrunch notes, though, there's something hanging up Square's usage in campaign politics, and it's something that has also proven to be a hurdle in text-message fundraising too -- the ability to collecting donor information in the way the law requires. But TC reports that team Square is working on that:

[...] Dorsey says that they are releasing Square’s API to allow fundraisers to build additional applications on top of Square, where they could input all of the necessary data. Once this is enabled, Square will allows fundraisers to eliminate paper collection and payments all together.

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Revisions

Tim Wu says we shouldn't be so pessimistic about lobbying; Obama writes a thank you note to reddit; Ted Cruz wants to be the Uber of politics; Llamas!; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Impossibles

The FCC vote; a proxy Democratic primary battle in Chicago; Gov Andrew Cuomo begins deleting all state employee emails more than 90 days old; men talking about women in tech; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Off the Books

Chicago's "black site"; The New York Times reports "little guys" like Tumblr and Reddit have won the fight for net neutrality but fails to mention Free Press or Demand Progress; Hillary Clinton fan products on Etsy to inspire campaign slogans?; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Challenges

How Silicon Valley donors are thinking about Hillary Clinton 2016; Yahoo's security chief locks horns with the head of the NSA; Instagram location data catches a Congressman with his hand in the till; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Bows

CitizenFour wins best doc; Ken Silverstein resigned from First Look Media and took to Facebook to vent; why we need more Congressional staffers; who profits from the net neutrality debate; banning PowerPoint presentations; and much, much more. GO

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