2008 Presidential Campaign Websites
Joshua Levy points to some research conducted by Christine Williams an Jeff Gulati on the effectiveness of the presidential candidate websites. They find that the sites are, by and large, extraordinarily sophisticated compared to the 2006 congressional campaign sites:
- Sixteen of the 20 candidates have a blog and nearly all allow visitor posts.
- Fifteen of the candidates link to one and usually several social networks; two without links allow visitors to join a social network on the candidate’s own site.
- Thirteen of the candidates provide message boxes for entering a custom or prepared message to e-mail friends encouraging their support or contributions; a few allow the sender to track their responses.
- Six candidates currently offer RSS feeds.
- Five candidates have used splash pages as introductory covers before entering their sites.
While Levy rightly notes that most of the sites “fail to properly take advantage of the many tools the web makes available,” the rapid evolution is remarkable. As PoliticsOnline CEO Phil Nobel pointed out in his talk at the Knight New Media Center Tuesday night, the first known politician Web site was created for Teddy Kennedy in 1994. That we’ve come in thirteen years to the point where the Web is such a prominent vehicle for voter communication and fundraising is remarkable.