Lots of people are linking to an article on observer.com noting that some fundraising emails from the Obama campaign are “deleting” mention of Sarah Jessica Parker. The piece on the New York Observer points in turn to a site set up by propublica that shows several variants of an email marketing campaign. So far they have collected 7 different variants.
This is nothing new. Marketers have been split testing email marketing messages since email’s inception. As much as I’d love to poke fun at Sarah Jessica Parker, there is simply nothing sinister going on – and the messages prominently featuring SJP may in fact be the best performing variants. In fact, if they are using a “
OneMulti Armed Bandit” approach to split testing the fact that the emails mentioning SJP have been spotted by propublica more frequently than the other variants *may* show her mails are performing better. Of course the sample size in this case is of extremely limited value.
Tonight I read Rusty Schackleford’s post in which he seemingly caught a PR firm connected to the Obama campaign astroturfing for Obama by posting and spreading inaccurate videos about Sarah Palin on Youtube. While this may not seem like anything new for people who have been using the major social media outlets, the question of who financed the videos that all strangely use the same voice over voice as recent Obama videos creates some campaign finance law issues.
Being a former digg “frequent submitter” I know of hundreds of now popular websites that employed this same technique to increase eyeballs and ultimately ad revenue with success. I have even called out Ron Paul supporters who took the technique to the next level. I had never heard of astroturfing, as I don’t run in political circles but according to Shackleford it is nothing Digg users should be unfamiliar with:
David Axelrod is also known as The master of “Astroturfing”, which is what PR industry insiders call the practice of “manufacturing grassroots support.”
Now being thoroughly familiar with the manipulations of Digg by political entities I ran a simple search for sarah palin on digg and lo and behold I came across plenty of sock puppet accounts that hit Digg’s equivalent of hitting Powerball – 1 story submitted, 1 story promoted to the front page.
- http://digg.com/users/linocut – joined Sep 10 2008
- http://digg.com/users/stevenrl – joined Sep 9 08
- http://digg.com/users/manucpa – joined Sep 7 2008
- http://digg.com/users/Bri345 – joined Aug 31st 2008 (From Wasilla Alaska no less!)
What do you want to bet these accounts only ‘digg’ dirt on McCain/Palin?
You see astroturfing has been going on at Digg.com since day one. Most stories are promoted to the front page through a very active digg community subset that is constantly harassing me on IM to digg their stories. Everyone knows it has been going on at Digg, Republicans have just been too slow and stupid to catch on.
Recently sighted on the road from Phoenix to Las Vegas.