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Daily Digest: Botnets and Self-Appointed Bloggers, Oh My!

BY Joshua Levy | Thursday, November 1 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • The trio of bloggers writing at Blue Hampshire have become political heavyweights in the runup to the New Hampshire primary, writes the Wall Street Journal’s Amy Schatz. The bloggers at the site “represent a new class of political amateurs who are changing the way information flows to activists” who meet with the candidates, make endorsements (they’re endorsing Chris Dodd, whose team has been active on the site), and help the candidates reach broader networks of potential supporters, thus becoming citizen-journalist-activist hybrids. It’s a good profile of an energetic and influential group, but why did Schatz’s editors call them “Self-appointed bloggers”? Do they need to be anointed by the Ministry of Blogging and Politics before writing a post?

  • The Why Tuesday campaign to get the candidates on the record about election reform has wrapped up, and it was pretty successful. The organizers netted responses from 11 of the 16 candidates (John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Mitt Romney have yet to respond). Best (non)response: Fred Thompson and his staff refusing to let Executive Director Jacob Soboroff ask them even one question. Come on, why so dismissive, Fred? It’s election reform — no questions about Jeri!

  • Conservative bloggers Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan have filed an official complaint with the FEC against Hillary Clinton. The complaint cites stories from the Los Angeles Times and the New York Post that “revealed evidence of illegal immigrants and straw donors donating to Hillary’s campaign, donors who felt pressured to give money for fear of retribution, and a significant number of poor donors who gave $1,000 or $2,300 to Hillary’s campaign — when they obviously weren’t in the financial position to do so.” We’ll keep you posted on its progress.

  • Wired’s Sarah Lai Stirland has a complex story on the use of botnets — automated spamming mechanisms — to send thousands of spam email messages about Ron Paul. After Sunday’s Republican debate, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham started noticing Ron Paul spam coming in from IP addresses all over the world. Jesse Benton, Paul’s spokesman, says the Paul campaign has nothing to do with it. This isn’t the first time Paul supporters have been accused of spamming or gaming systems; the GOP Straw Polls site stopped including Paul after they claimed his supporters gamed its polls, and recently banned Ron Paul shilling on its site. Check out Stirland’s updates on the story here and here.

  • RNC Director of eCampaigns and former Yahoo! exec Cyrus Krohn will be on a panel today with John Edwards advisor Joe Trippi at the New New Internet conference in Reston, VA. Krohn will refute Trippi's assertion that the Dems have a leg up on the web, according, and he'll be Twittering from the event.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Yesterday, in a video and blog post, Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts asked Daily Kos readers for their thoughts on the scientific link between global warming and wildfires, for which there was a congressional hearing this morning. He received 86 comments from DailyKos readers. Not bad.

  • We’ve already reported on the phenomenal growth of Stephen Colbert’s Facebook group, asking what it means that he has more supporters than Barack Obama or anyone else on the site. Well, here’s something: Rock the Vote’s Chris Kennedy writes that more than 4,300 people have registered to vote since the Colbert group creator added a link to Rock the Vote last week. As Kennedy notes, that’s about one registration per minute. Does Colbert has some serious intentions behind this candidacy after all, or is this simply the after-effect of gathering so many people in one place? On another note, there's now a "2,000,000 Strong for Stephen Colbert" group. It never stops!

In Case You Missed It…

We keep adding features to, and now you can check out the daily voting history on any question. Check out an example of the new charts and more updates here.

It’s become a kind of tradition for websites to commemorate holidays with updated logos. Since yesterday was Halloween, I checked out the candidates site for some ghoulish trickery. Only two deigned to acknowledge it.