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Business Group Buys Up YouTube's Top Ad Slot (Updated)

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, November 1 2010

Image credit: Google/YouTube

More on who's-buying-what-parts-of-the-Internet-for-election-day: according to Google's PR folks, the top ad banner slot on has been sold to a corporate-minded outfit called the Business Industrial Political Action Committee, a.k.a. BIPAC. The BIPAC ad will start running at midnight tonight. (Occupying that spot at the moment is an ad for "Skyline," the movie.) The BIPAC list of endorsed candidates for the 2010 general election is exclusively Republican, though it did back Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas' Senate primary.

The group's YouTube ad will, it seems, point people to, a sparsely-populated BIPAC site. Back in August, BIPAC's president Greg Casey told Mother Jones' Peter Stone that the Supreme Court's ruling on political spending in Citizens United "gives us a lot more places and activities for political communications than we had before."

So, why would BIPAC, a business-focused group, choose to put its election-day advertising dollar towards YouTube? I put the question to the organization's vice president Michael R. Davis. His response was intriguing: YouTube is a great place to win young hearts and minds, particularly those who might be looking for an alternative source for political information. YouTube is, actually, a rather successful search engine. Numbers from January put it as the #2 search engine behind Google when it comes to the amount of search queries it processes.

"BIPAC believes it is not only important to reach the independent-leaning voters this election," wrote Davis in an email, "but also the under-30 voters, who could become an important part of the prosperity coalition, " a BIPAC focus. "Both these groups are very similar in that they are looking for answers outside the political parties and the political system they no longer trust. And you won't reach either of them through television, regardless of how much money you spend. You need to talk about issues that matter to them in venues they prefer to replace their current disappointment with new ideas."