2004-06-23

Die Bush-Kampagne punktet im Netz

--- Die Kampagnenmacher Bushs lernen langsam, wie sich das Internet f�r den Wahlkampf einsetzen l�sst: Republican campaigners have built up an online presence over the past year that even some of the president's detractors describe as "innovative," and is in some ways ahead of the Kerry campaign's efforts to seize the Internet high ground. At the top of the list is a Meetup-like Party for the President forum to organize local get-togethers, and an online portal that rewards active GOP supporters with points redeemable for prizes. "We have more than 6 million e-mail addresses subscribed to receive our news alerts," said Michael Turk, e-Campaign Director for Bush-Cheney '04, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. "The Net is not only effective at reaching a wide audience, it offers a way to reach very specific audiences." Working mothers, for example, are an important demographic group and they "spend more time online than the average voter," Turk said. Rather than attempt to compete with John Kerry on Meetup -- a name many voters associate with the Democrats because of Howard Dean's early success with the service -- the Bush-Cheney campaign has created its own meatspace event-planning tool, Party for the President. "On April 29, 5,245 people hosted Parties for the President in all 50 states," Turk said. A second round of parties are planned for July 15. The Republican Party's other online success has been GOP Team Leader, a site launched in March 2002 that rewards its 780,000 members with GOPoints redeemable for prizes such as mouse pads, bags and even a fleece pullover emblazoned with the site's logo. Members get GOPoints in exchange for performing specific activities through the site's services, such as taking a poll or writing a letter to the editor. ... "GOP Team Leader is particularly innovative," said Alan Rosenblatt, a training director at e-advocates, a Washington, D.C., consulting firm ... But Rosenblatt thinks Republicans have missed the mark on other parts of their e-campaign -- most notably, the campaign's official blog. "It's not a blog in the true spirit of a blog," Rosenblatt said. "It's essentially just a place to post press releases. (Campaign manager) Ken Melman posts in the first person, but overall there's no voice to it, and you can't post replies."