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AdWords As Political Weapon

By - March 15, 2006

BarragaThe Drum Major Institute, a local public policy group in New York, recently released a report grading New York state legislators’ voting records with regard to middle class issues. Pretty traditional stuff, save for the way the group has decided to market it. For the next 30 days, if you Google any one of the state legislator’s names, you will see a paid ad which shows that legislator’s grade. The next step, of course, will be those legislators who got terrible grades fighting back with their own AdWord campaigns. My guess is Thomas F. Barraga will be first in line.

(Thanks, Tom).

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7 thoughts on “AdWords As Political Weapon

  1. Google & Yahoo would be doing a great service to the nation and themselves if they encouraged individuals, PAC’s, politicians and others to use paid search to get out their ideas. I can’t resist using PPC to get my own viewpoints on certain issues out there:

  2. Wow.

    Will the “PPC Politicking” move from organizations to individuals? I wonder, should I give $500 to my party or should invest it myself, and express my views issues (i.e., keywords) that I value most?

    Interesting evolution.

  3. Elana says:

    Thanks for the mention! I’d say that grading legislators based on a swath of interconnected issues rather than a single issue is pretty unsual (most scorecards are from single issue groups).

    Michael’s idea is pretty radical and interesting.

  4. mrlove says:

    im lovin it =)

  5. I tried clicking on the ad, and these guys make mistake #1 in search-based user experience: they don’t have a dedicated landing page for the user’s interest.

    If you click on a link named Barraga Earns A “D+”, you definitely expect to arrive at a page showing why they rate Barraga that low. Instead, you get a completely generic page with an American flag. I bet their bounce rate is terrible. (“Bounce rate” = percent of arriving users who leave immediately without clicking through to other pages on the site.)

    (Adding insult to injury, the words “NY State Legislative Scorecard” are not even clickable, generic as they may be.)

  6. doug says:

    It will be interesting to see if Google starts censoring these ads under their editorial guidelines.

    “Ad text advocating against any organization or person (public, private, or protected) is not permitted.”

    They make the exception for political figures, but I know they’ve dumped ads that advocated against political figures in the past.

  7. LAM says:

    Any opinion on whether adwords or msn adcenter is a better option?

    At the moment we are looking at both for our campaign website,

    I like the idea of using adwords for getting out ideas, as opposed to advertising the site.