Tuesday, June 19, 2007

As Good a Place to Start as Any...

So the RNC goes out and gets itself a hot shot internet coordinator with some wicked web site bona fides: an original Slate veteran and current Yahoo! election guru. Not bad, especially considering the GOP has all but conceded Dem internet superiority in the last few years -- and if any one needs any proof of that statement I recommend them taking a look at Rep. Sensenbrenner's official (I'm not kidding) 2006 campaign web page, which is either on the vanguard of some imminent movement of internet retro-chic or was designed on the cheap by some kid who dropped his Intro to HTML class at MSOE before the professor could fail him.

So with all of the troubles the GOP seems to be having using the web to their advantage it would stand to reason that the dude they'd hire to be their cyber-Saviour would bring some aggressive, if not revolutionary, ideas to the table -- right?

Apparently Not.

Much-cited measures of online interest show the top Democratic candidates – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) -- outpacing the Republican front-runners. Their videos are more frequently watched on YouTube, and they have more "friends" on the social networking site MySpace.

Krohn, however, dismisses those measures as "fads."

"There's a lot of activity going on on the web that's not being fully harnessed now, largely because of the fad factor," he said in an interview from Yahoo's Santa Monica, Calif., office.

He argues that the underused political frontier isn't new social sites like YouTube and MySpace but the (relatively) old titans of the Web, presumably referring to firms such as AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN and their Latino cousins.

"I look at the universe of some of the sites that have fallen out of favor that still have audiences that anyone would be attracted to -- audiences in the hundreds of millions," Krohn said, adding that he would not "rely so much on the sites that are so much in the lexicon today.”

Fads? Am I missing something? I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for a moment and buy that some of the Web 1.0 sites aren't being as utilized as they could be, but do people like Rupert Murdoch buy "fads" for $580 million? I don't think anyone's going to accuse this hire of being incredibly forward thinking, but perhaps it may do something to improve Sensenbrenner's online product.

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