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First POST: Sentimental

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 10 2014

Why 2016 is going to be "the Facebook election"; why Berlin has become the global hub for anti-surveillance culture; how some American cities are fighting to expand their public broadband services; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Nudges

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 3 2014

How campaign tech has evolved in 2014; Joe Rospars on the Democratic party email crisis; how Facebook, ABC News and BuzzFeed are going to data-mine politics heading into 2016; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Addressable Transcendence

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, July 22 2014

What San Francisco techies and tenant activists have in common; the future of online political targeting; problems with Washington DC's new open data policies; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Power Brokers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 21 2014

Why Microsoft's Bradford Smith is so influential in tech policy; the split between DailyKos and Netroots Nation; how the GOP is wooing conservative and libertarian techies; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Headlining

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, July 15 2014

Republican efforts to catch up to Democratic techies begin to bear fruit; TV ads are getting targeted at specific viewers; comments to the FCC on its net neutrality/open Internet proposal close down; and much, much more. Read More

Oh, The Places They'll Go (To Find a Few More Voters)

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 22 2012

A glance at the Sportsmen for Obama page shows how hard the campaign works for even the smallest gains. Erin Hannigan, the group's online leader, has sent dozens of emails to its members. Most of these are the same generic emails everyone on the Obama campaign gets, like the fundraising pitches that have become ubiquitous, and which ProPublica has been tracking in great detail with its Message Machine project. Those numbers don't appear to be on the rise for Obama, but that hasn't stopped the campaign from trying. Read More

Is the Internet Running Out of Political Ad Space?

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, May 29 2012

Highly targeted ads may be in shorter supply than one might think. Photo: Shutterstock

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Online politics consultants say that as a growing number of campaigns are buying television ads in advance, looking to get ahead of what is expected to be fierce competition for ad inventory closer to the general elections, something similar is happening online.

That consultants are doing the same with some types of online ads may seem counterintuitive at first, given that online advertising inventory is plentiful. But it seems that the online advertising inventory campaigns want most — targeted preroll ads on YouTube, geotargeted display advertising on news sites and other major traffic hubs, and even ads placed against some Google search terms — is in short enough supply to drive at least some advance purchases as well. This is a fact of life that online politics consultants say the fastest-moving organizations are just now learning, driven from experience gained the hard way during the primary campaign in this election cycle.

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The Data Superiority Wars Take a Semantic Turn

BY Nick Judd | Friday, April 6 2012

Well known to many is "microtargeting," the practice of gathering data on individual supporters from across a variety of sources, profiling those supporters to identify the right cohort to reach with a given message, and then reaching out — perhaps in selectively placed online ads. The New York Times' Nick Confessore writes that the successor to Voter Vault, the Republican National Committee's current voter database, will instead "nano-target," whatever that means — while it probably means picking out individual voters as opposed to groups, no definition is offered in the piece — to the derision of some on the left. Read More

Targeted Facebook Ads Latest Tool In Anti-Foreclosure Fight

BY Nick Judd | Friday, March 2 2012

The progressive organization Rebuild the Dream is remixing two online advertising strategies in the hopes of applying pressure on companies like Freddie Mac and JPMorgan Chase to change their foreclosure practices.

Rebuild the Dream is out to its email list with a call to raise money the organization promises will be spent on ads to make this point. The twist is that unlike other campaigns of this type, the money won't go to web videos or TV ads. Instead, says Rebuild the Dream Chief Technology Officer Jim Pugh, the plan is to put Facebook ads in front of employees at both companies using the social network's ad targeting features.

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With Crowdverb, GOP Geek Squad Aims to Match Dems Datum for Datum

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, February 16 2012

Cyrus Krohn is the co-founder of Crowdverb, a sort of Justice League of Republican digital operatives assembled into a new Seattle-based startup in time for the 2012 presidential campaign. The team already lists the super PAC American Crossroads and conservative publishing groupEagle Publishing as clients. Read More