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Your "Cyber Image" and Search Engine Optimization

An individual or organization’s "cyber image" can have a huge impact on its first impression.  An article in today’s Post reaffirmed that importance and revealed that many are finding a cyber image is becoming increasingly difficult to manage, creating a new niche PR market – virtual reputation management. 

Our New Politics Institute has already addressed the important (and fairly untapped) political tool of search engine optimization.  In a May 2006 report, NPI delineated how search engines operate, how they calculate which websites appear on top of search queries, and 15 ways political organizations and campaigns can optimize their search engine results.  NPI then followed up with a report in October detailing how ads on the leading search engine, Google, specifically work and their applicability to politics. 

Post on mobile use in politics

In today's Post Jose Vargas takes a deep look at how folks in politics are using mobile telephony and media this cycle.  The story features NPI Fellow Tim Chambers, and our his recent report for NPI.  You can find Tim's report at

The iPhone effect

When Apple announced the iPhone, which goes on sale this Friday, there was little doubt that its entry would change the face of the mobile market, forcing consumers to re-think the cell phone. The New York Times, however, adds Hollywood to those attempting to accommodate the new possibilities that the iPhone (and other products that are likely to come after it) offers. From the lede:

The iPhone doesn’t go on sale until Friday, but Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, is already changing the perception of the mobile phone, from a quick way to call a friend to a hip, media-friendly device. In doing so, he has forced mobile phone and Hollywood executives to react by chasing hungrily after the newest thing or face being left behind. 

Mobile phone makers are scurrying to offer new products to compete with the iPhone’s touch screen. Wireless carriers also seem more willing to listen to their partners’ advice. And in Hollywood, where Mr. Jobs’s convention-defying tactics are all too familiar, media executives are eagerly preparing for a new era as they hope to position more content where consumers want it: in their hands.

Sign of the Times: iTunes is now the 3rd Largest Music Store in US

As NDN has been charting the trend of media moving to become more networked and digital, here is another sign of this change this week.

As reported by NPD research... For the first quarter of 07, Apple's iTunes store is now the 3rd largest music retailer of any kind - those selling physical CD's or digital downloads - for the US. They now have a 9.8 market share.

"Wal-Mart currently holds 15.8% and Best Buy has 13.8% ( has 1.1% market share) to place ahead of Apple's iTunes Store. Inc. dropped to fourth with 6.7%."

New NPI report: The Progressive Politics of the Millennial Generation

Peter Leyden, the Director of our New Politics Institute just announced our new NPI paper on The Progressive Politics of the Millennial Generation. Check out the text (and links to the paper) below:

One of the most underappreciated assets for progressives in the early 21st century is the rise of the young Millennial Generation, the biggest generation in American history, and one that is clearly trending progressive and voting Democratic in large numbers.

The New Politics Institute released a new report that is a comprehensive look at almost all available surveys and polls that have tried to figure out the politics of this important new generation of young people born in the 1980s and 1990s. The cumulative evidence shows that this generation is overwhelmingly progressive and unusually engaged in politics.

The Millennial Generation has the potential to become a core constituency of the progressive movement and could help sustain political majorities for a long time. By the 2008 election nearly 50 million of them will be eligible to vote, and by the 2016 election, the entire generation of 82 million people will be of age.

No one in politics can afford to ignore this emerging generation born between the years of 1978 and 1996. And they are not just passive political consumers, but actors who are adept with the powerful new participatory tools that NPI has long championed.

The report was released at an event in Washington DC this past Thursday, June 21st. Video from the event will be posted on the New Politics Institute website shortly for those who were unable to make it. Check out the full report as either a "pdf" or "web version" both with live links to all the reports we cite.

Feel free to pass the report around – especially to those in the Millennial Generation who are only now coming to understand the importance they will play in American politics for a long time to come.

Political Ads Beginning to Shift Online

The Wall Street Journal does a good job overviewing how the presidential candidates are increasingly embracing online ads, particularly search ads, though they seem to spend more time focusing on the Republicans. The New Politics Institute has been hammering on this theme for the past year, encouraging progressives to shift ad spend to these new ad forums that have been proven by the private sector to be highly effective. Don’t take our word for it, take it from the WSJ. Here are a few passages to give you a flavor:

Look at the rate of rate of return on the spending:

In the first quarter, the presidential candidates spent collectively an estimated $1.7 million on Internet sites and fund raising -- including $100,000 on blog ads -- and collected about $22 million online, campaign-finance reports show.

Or here shows more directly McCain’s success with it:

It is also considered effective. Republican John McCain's presidential campaign raises about $4 for every $1 it spends to raise money online, according to Rebecca Donatelli, a consultant directing the online fund-raising strategy for the Arizona senator.

This puts the costs of it in context with the enormous costs of broadcast TV:

One reason for the increased Internet advertising spending: It is relatively cheap compared with radio and television. A one-week television-ad buy in Des Moines, Iowa, would cost about $90,000 to $110,000, according to TNS Media Intelligence, a political-advertising tracking firm. By comparison, one week of blog ads on 102 conservative blogs costs just $7,500. It costs about $24,000 to advertise for a week on 121 liberal blogs.

So the shift has begun. Look at Obama’s spend in the first quarter compared to all the spending on these ads in 2004 combined:

Sen. Barack Obama's campaign for the Democratic nomination has also aggressively moved onto Google as an advertising platform, spending more than $72,000 on Google search ads during the first quarter, according to financial records compiled by By comparison, the Democratic presidential candidates in the 2004 presidential race spent about $87,000, records show.

More evidence to keep making the case….

Peter Leyden  

Mobile continues to evolve - AT&T offers live mobile to mobile video

The change in mobile telephony and media is accelerating:

AT&T Inc. on Tuesday launched what it said is the first service letting callers share live video between cell phones.

The new AT&T Video Share service won't apply to the iPhone, which uses an older network. AT&T has an exclusive deal to offer service for much-anticipated Apple Inc. device.

But the launch of the video service adds to the company's momentum as it gears up for the June 29 introduction of the iPhone, which it called a ''game-changer'' for the telecommunications industry.

Video Share was introduced in three markets -- Atlanta, Dallas and San Antonio -- to start with and will be available elsewhere in late July.

It works only on the company's 3G, or third-generation, wireless network and requires a Video Share-capable phone, AT&T said. The company said it will offer Video Share service packs for $4.99 and $9.99 a month, depending on included minutes. Without a plan, the service costs 35 cents a minute.

New AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson told a telecommunications industry trade show in Chicago that the new service has the potential to expand rapidly beyond wireless-to-wireless.

''You should expect this to quickly reach the other two screens, and that's the PC and the television,'' he said at NXTcomm...

Obama launched his first major foray into mobile today. 

Experimenting with mobile media

Our affiliate, the New Politics Institute, has been arguing that this is the cycle progressives will need to do a great deal of experimentation with mobile telephony and media.  The Times has a worthwhile read today, one that takes an indepth look at ESPN's forays into the mobile arena.  My favorite quote, and one, if it proves to be true, will be very important for the future of advocacy:

“People talk about it being the third screen (mobile phones),” says John Zehr, senior vice president for digital video and mobile products at ESPN. “I talk about it being the first screen because it’s the closest to you.”

Ron Paul surging on the internet

In one of the more interesting stories about the new politics of our day, Jose Vargas of the Post writes about the huge audience Ron Paul is gathering on line.

WaPo:"Traditional 30-second TV Spot May Be Fading Out"

The Post has a fascinating look at one of our favorite subjects - the very rapid way media and advertising are changing.  This story today looks is provocatively titled: "Gone in 30 Seconds," and tracks the migration of commercial adspend from broadcast tv to the internet.  Two key graphs:

"I believe that search[-based] and other online advertising is taking away from the off-line [or traditional] budgets of marketers, and one reason is it's more accountable," said Karl Siebrecht, president of Atlas Enterprise Solutions, which aQuantive also owns. "You can send your message out there and understand if people click on it downstream, and if they click, do they purchase? If you're selling Toyotas, you can see if they asked for a specific dealer location."


In April, Nike pulled its running-shoe campaign from longtime ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, which had developed the iconic "Just Do It" tagline and many memorable television commercials. Wieden+Kennedy lost the account because Nike did not believe the agency had the necessary digital expertise to promote Nike shoes online.

Nike caught a whiff of the future from its Nike+ interactive online campaign, dreamed up last year by the leading-edge agency R/GA Associates of New York. The Web site, meant to sell Nike running shoes that interface with an iPod to record a runner's mileage, claims a community of thousands of runners who share workout music available for purchase on Apple's iTunes. The site is more than traditional advertising -- it attempts to be a utility for Nike runners.

"Technologists are pretty foreign to the traditional agency model, but they're an important part of the future," said Bob Greenberg, chairman and chief executive of R/GA, which began life 30 years ago as a Hollywood animation house. "Traditional creative is becoming less and less important."

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