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Find The Boots

Rantings from a few corporate types about life, technology, travel, guns, politics, and everything good in the world.

Politicians and Raising Money on the Internet

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I just received my weekly email from Fred Thompson asking for money. He's doing a good job of using this newfangled intarweb thing to get his message out, but I wonder when the politicians are really going to figure out the power of the internet.

What if a politician's website ran PPC ads? Their grassroots support would figure out pretty quickly that the best way to support their candidate would be to click on the ads. They get lots of traffic, why don't they monetize it instead of begging for cash?

Why doesn't a politician send me a javascript snippet to put on my blog that generates cash for them? Imagine the income stream if all the bloggers that support Fred Thompson were to put an adsense bar up on their site. Or an Amazon affiliate link? The chances are pretty good that I'll buy something from Amazon in the next 30 days, why doesn't Fred want my cookie? How many political blogs have you seen than don't even attempt to monetize?

Politicians could take a lesson from the "Save Jericho" movement. They actively promoted their message across social networking sites, forums, emails, etc. It was an incredibly powerful and viral campaign. If fans of a TV show can get that fired up, then why can't people get fired up about the decision of who is going to be the next person to lead the free world?

In the past I've described how I support bloggers I like. I click on their PPC ads if I'm remotely interested in what they're selling. It's not much, but if everyone does it then the blogger will be encouraged with a nice little revenue stream. The same principle would apply to political ads. Read a blog article about a candidate you like, then click the ads. You're supporting the candidate.

It has always amused me that some of the popular bloggers that complain that they barely make enough money on their site to cover their bandwidth charges have nothing but affiliate links. If I'm not interested in purchasing what their affiliate is selling, they'll never get any cash out of me. Put up some adsense ads that I can click and send you cash without having to buy anything!

The internet is about huge numbers with small transactions. If a site could generate 1M clicks/day at $0.05/click, that's $50K/day in fund raising. That's $9M in the last six months, enough to put Fred way ahead of where he is. Politicians are in a very unique position in that their visitors are motivated to click their ads -- they can have a conversion rate that is through the roof!

Alas, this is probably news to our current crop of politicians. They talk about the power of the internet, but they have no clue how or why it works.


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