Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Ron Paul Digg's Surge

According to a press release today from Ron Paul's campaign, since the GOP presidential debate five days ago, the congressman has

1. Placed a close third (with 18% of the vote) in a post-debate poll on Drudge.

4. Became the third most-mentioned person in the blogosphere, beating out Paris Hilton, according to Technorati.

5. Produced a video that became the most-viewed political one and 8th most-popular on YouTube.

6. Been featured, by popular demand, on the front of Digg.

7. Generated so many bulletin posts on MySpace that site owner, News Corp., blocked all additional posts about Paul.

8. Became a "most searched" term on Google and Yahoo!.

9. Saw a quadrupling of daily visitors to RonPaul2008.com.

I confirmed the first three statements by hyperlinking them. Anyone care to confirm the other six?

Update: My techPresident colleague, Josh Levy, confirms #6—"Ron Paul is everywhere on Digg," he writes—and concludes, "Despite his lackluster official Web presence. . . . Paul is a good case study of how the Web can sweep up a candidate and make him their own, with or without his help."

Update: Todd Zeigler analyzes and applauds Paul's Digg surge, which he conjectures is a backlash against the MSM. I agree: UGC like Digg represents the nexus of grassroots mobilization and antiestablishmentarian democracy. For evidence, look no further than an editorial in Tuesday’s Post: "Voters trying to sort out their presidential choices aren’t helped by debates cluttered with the likes of . . . Ron Paul."

The other thing is, as Paul's online supporters are reaching a tipping point, why does his campaign Web site remain so bare-bones?

Previously, I laid into Ron Paul for his communications problem, and I scolded Jim Gilmore for his shoddy online operation. Both these guys are squarely in the third tier of candidates, but I'm convinced that if they gave their e-team the resources and money each needs, they'd be thankful for the increased press and their enhanced ability to influence issues.

Update (5/10): Dave Weigel points to another Paul-winning poll, this one from Pajamas Media (though we should note, as PM does, that more than 200 votes came from the same IP address within about an hour).

Also, the blog of U.S. News has picked up the story.


keystroke-ga said:

Pajamas Media is a hack site. I'm an IT director for a company. When I heard about the Ron Paul "shenanigans", I emailed them to tell them that networks, such as at colleges, can share IP addresses and it's possible that 200 legitimate voters could have shared the same IP (even more likely considering that St. Louis is a big college town and Ron Paul enjoys support among many college-age people). I sent two short sentences through the "contact us" form on their website.

I got back a rambling, hateful, personal email from the CEO himself, Roger Simon, saying that I needed to "grow up" and he has one of the best IT directors in the world, from some company I'd never heard of in Switzerland. He said that "you people" (as in, I guess, those who are Ron Paul supporters, even though I had not identified myself as such) need to stop voting in his poll or he'd take Ron Paul off. He has since done so, and I'm glad, because it shows what a lame site he runs in the first place.

Any IT person knows that NAT (network address translation) can give the same IP address to thousands of people, as well as proxies. It's not a stretch to imagine that some of Ron Paul's tech-savvy supporters were going through the same proxy. Also, the week that the 200 votes were alleged to be frauds, Ron Paul had something like 15,000 votes and was thousands ahead of the next competitor. PM was just mad that he was winning and wanted to make him look bad by making accusations that just don't hold up and wouldn't have mattered even if they were true.

So, basically, that site and its CEO are REALLY, REALLY lame.