Wednesday, February 28, 2007

He Should Know, He Invented the Dang Thing

Former Vice President Al Gore sees the Internet throwing a monkey wrench into political money raising.

Mr Gore says the Internet has changed the way information gets to voters and that could alter the need for raising money. But that won't likely change so long as the 30 second TV ad remains the most effective way to advertise a campaign.

Most campaign contributions go toward paying for media ads. Television is the most expensive -- and still most effective -- way of getting a candidate's message to voters.

A 30 second spot in the 2006 elections cost as much as $25,000 in Los Angeles.

But the Internet has revolutionized the way politicians reach voters. And it can cost practically nothing.

As a result, The Wall Street Journal (see chart) shows politicians doubled their spending on Internet ads between the 2004 and 2006 elections -- from $40 million to $80 million:

A standard-size weekly ad purchased through Blogads costs $2,900 on the progressive site DailyKos for example, or $250 at, a conservative video blog site. By comparison, a 30-second broadcast television spot could set back a candidate anywhere from $90,000 to $110,000 a week in a market like Des Moines, according to Evan Tracey of the TNS Media Intelligence's Campaign Media Analysis Group.
And Internet advertising is putting a dent in other forms of political ads.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project tells 15% of Americans got their political news from the Internet in the 2006 elections. That compares to just 7% in the 2002 midterm elections.

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