SocraticGadfly: Obama riffing on Google with Big Brother-type cybercampaign

July 16, 2008

Obama riffing on Google with Big Brother-type cybercampaign

Like Google, which is playing Big Brother to you and I with your Google search parameters and Google ads, Barack Obama wants to run his presidential campaign by using selective advertising targeted on a developed profile of you.
You know, of course, that Obama has your e-mail address. You may not have realized that he probably also has your phone number and knows where you're registered to vote — including whether that's a house or an apartment building, and whether you rent or own. He's got a decent estimate of your household income and whether you opened a credit card recently. He knows how many kids you're likely to have and what you do for a living. He knows what magazines and catalogs you get and whether you're more apt to get your news from cable TV, the local newspaper or online. And he knows what time of day you tend to get around to plowing through your in box and responding to messages.

Fortunately, as of right now, at least, Obama’s cybercampaigning just appears to be targeted to people on his e-mail list.


What if Obama starts buying the e-mail lists of liberal activist organizations, such as the ACLU, Sierra Club, etc.?

For other reasons, I’ve not renewed my membership in either one of those. Given Obama’s FISA vote, it’s unlikely the ACLU would sell its list to him, anyway, beyond its privacy policies. But, Sierra? It’s got the stereotypical Volvo-driving, Brie-eating big money enviros that his campaign wants to cultivate.

In short, riffing to the “soccer mom” idea of four years ago, it appears the Obama campaign wants to target subgroups such as NOW- or NARAL-member soccer moms, Sierra soccer moms, hybrid-driving soccer moms, etc.

Not just that, but with geographic targeting down to the ZIP code level, or even voting precinct level, these days, voters on the Obama e-mail list, or purchased e-mail lists, are going to be targeted for their location.

Given that, I don’t doubt that, whether done by his campaign or some 527, Internet-based, or e-mail based, push polling, etc., is coming next.

For a laundry list of obvious reasons, Obama’s campaign didn’t really want to talk to Salon’s Mike Madden for the story.

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