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At Republican National Convention, Romney's Digital Director Hints At New App

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 30 2012

In the run-up to Mitt Romney's speech Thursday night announcing his acceptance of the Republican nomination for the presidency, his digital team has been busy.

On a public Google Hangout Thursday afternoon, Romney's digital director, Zac Moffatt, announced that the campaign will soon roll out an event app that will handle event ticketing and provide a "social" component by pulling in Twitter and Facebook posts during a several-hour period around events.

The campaign did not immediately return an emailed request for comment; I'll update the post if they do.

The upcoming app is not the only thing Team Romney has been up to. Over the weekend, the campaign rolled out "Victory Wallets," an analog to the one-click donations feature Barack Obama's campaign and the software firm Blue State Digital released earlier this year.

"In just one step, you can make donations via the Internet, email, or mobile phone," the campaign announced Aug. 25, in an email listed as coming from Moffatt. By storing credit card information where the campaign can access it again — in the Democrats' case, with a provider that already handles credit card information, not with the campaign itself — Romney's team can ask donors to re-authorize subsequent donations.

It's also been reported that the Romney campaign is gearing up to roll out donations by text. In an arrangement pursued by people in both parties and approved by the Federal Election Commission earlier this summer, campaigns can collect small donations when users send a given text message to a specific shortcode. The donation is charged to the donor's cellphone bill, but an intermediary essentially fronts the money to the campaign until the bills are paid. The Obama campaign announced last week that it had its own version of that functionality up and running.

Victory Wallet is the latest example of the Romney campaign going technologically tit-for-tat with Team Obama. Prior to this, Team Romney rolled out a custom Square application to collect donations at events. The campaign announced this feature just a few days after Obama's digital group released more or less the same functionality for their supporters. TechPresident recently noticed online ads appearing for Romney and Obama on the front page of the Tampa Bay Times website.

But Moffatt says that his staff, which expanded after the campaign shifted from the primary to the general election, is not trying to compete with their opposite numbers.

"We don't have to run against Barack Obama's digital team," Moffatt said Thursday. "We have to do what's necessary to be successful in November."

Moffatt shared the hangout stage with National Republican Congressional Committee digital director Gerrit Lansing, former Republican National Committee digital director Cyrus Krohn, Engage co-founder Patrick Ruffini, and Lori Weberg, new media director for Sen. Roy Blunt.