Hillary supporters: hope you are fans of [insert group here]

by Matthew Dybwad on Jan.12, 2009, under Posts

Hillary Clinton is renting out her list (Ben Smith’s Blog: Renting out the list –, hoping to cash in on other “aligned” groups who will pay to solicit to people who gave Clinton their email addresses when they supported her political campaign.

How many of those people do you think anticipated getting hit to participate in completely disparate organizations? How effective do you think that list is going to be the 5th time they rent it? The 10th time? I wouldn’t want to be the poor liberal cause that gets stuck at the tail end of that list’s usefulness. Nor would I want to be on that list, even if I were a supporter, since my reason for opting in clearly no longer exists.

This is one more reason why: a) rented email is at the very end of the list of outreach opportunities I suggest to campaigns and, b) amassing large lists for strategic campaign use is ultimately futile, once the specific issue that galvanized people to support the cause has become irrelevant.

This is a theme I’ve been discussing with great frequency of late in relation to the Right’s need to scramble toward a model they are familiar with: listing building and rented email. My thought here: focusing on building mammoth lists for use by the entire online Right is a waste of time.

As a means for groups to try to build up their own base and/or identify online activists, a contact cultivation program that utilizes online advertising to bring users to simple online engagement devices is far more cost effective, scalable, target-able, optimize-able, (insert your favorite “able” here) and ultimately brings the organization more qualified contacts.

Not to mention the list churn issue, which will only get worse as a lists get larger, older, and more diverse.

I agree that email is the killer app, but I take issue with the idea that building and holding huge lists that can be messaged by different smaller groups will ultimately prove nearly as valuable as enabling groups to easily access and leverage the kind of tools they need to cultivate their own contact base. After all, no contact is more valuable than the contact that actually opts into your organization specifically.

If what we’re trying to do is shoot fish in a barrel, instead of trying to just make one fish barrel bigger, why not give everyone their own barrel along with all the tools they need to fill it with their own fish? Then we can focus on making it easy for barrel owners to let their fish interact smartly with one another so that all the players gain the maximum amount of benefit from the community of fish.

In other words, we give organizations the tools that they need to identify and cultivate their own supporters while at the same time ensuring that those tools also facilitate the process of leveraging those supporters across the spectrum.

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File Under: All good ideas have already been thought up

by Matthew Dybwad on Jan.08, 2009, under Posts

While discussing the ramifications of social networking pages that have been vacated due to the death of their progenitors, it dawned on me that there could be a social network for dead people. Not an online cemetary (which has been done to death) but an actual network, ostensibly kept up by the living, perhaps on behalf of the dead. But, why bother when the dead people can do all of the networking themselves:
Social Networking for Dead People: An idea refined – The Bing Blog

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Bill Clinton: Who's to blame for Bailout?

by Matthew Dybwad on Oct.01, 2008, under Posts


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How does new media make money?

by Matthew Dybwad on Sep.24, 2008, under Posts

Media Future Now‘s event: How does the new media make money?

The overall points I took away from this event were that businesses in the new media space are better off specializing in their core competency and concentrating their business model on it, rather than trying to be generalists. Starting a new business, it is important to reach out to the current networks that either speak to your niche or contain your targets (workplace giving at corporations, Hollywood). Plan for scale and think about the long term from day one — this will benefit your own employees and make your business more attractive to investors.

Notes: How does new media make money?

Pete Synder, New Media Strategies

Mari Kuraishi, Global Giving Foundation


  • $250 Billion in philanthropy per year just from US]
  • Global Giving a project of The World Bank
  • Getting started
    • 2000 – end of .com boom
    • Turned down angel money from IFC and HP
  • Business model
    • Take 10% of donations
  • Tapping into existing networks that focused on giving
    • Employee giving through work\
  • Driving traffic
    • Traditional media mentions
    • Paid search
    • Viral
    • Partnerships with aligned sites: business development
  • Contributions: bundled – batches are better for developing country distributions
    • Average varies
    • $130 – $150/trans
  • Use multi-channel media to encourage offline givers to move online
  • Uses online A/B testing within projects showing suggested donation amounts
  • Many small donors online, few big check writers = 2/3rds money coming in online
  • Target 90% of total funds online
  • Competition: focuses on small international projects, provides only online presence for charitable projects. Doesn’t mind competing with larger interests where they provide better value added for donors.
  • Most “competitors” are collaborative with more specific foci (works with Kiva)
  • Planning
    • Daily standup meetings
    • Stats are projected on a “board” for quick look status
  • Viral promotion
    • Giving competition
    • Winners recruited over 1,500 donors in their own networks
    • What is the urgency
    • Make the process easy
    • Make the process rewarding
  • Future
    • Real-time feedback using mobile and video
    • Tapping into people’s online identities
      • Plug-in the giving opportunity into pre-existing social networks
      • How does the giving process fulfill donors and complete their identity?


  • Started NMS from his apartment in 1999
  • Got money from 3 Fs
  • Turned down VCs
  • Profitable in the 3rd month
  • Started with 1 employee, had 3 in first year
  • Now has 96
  • Investors forced Pete to plan for scale and end game from day 1
  • Research clients before you pitch: Monitoring online communication about clients
  • Hollywood was where the “progressive” marketing people were for initial market penetration with high dollar word of mouth online intelligence campaigns
  • Competing clients
    • No competing clients in the same space: different services for players in the same market
    • Takes on D’s and R’s but not when they are fighting each other
  • Competitors
    • NMS is one of the few that actually combines the online monitoring and research with the action side of WOM and buzz marketing
    • Many others do one or the other
  • Smaller focus is a better business plan
  • Planning
    • 3 year plan
    • Annual plan
    • Quarterly plan
    • 3 times a week, all managers gather for “huddle meetings”
      • 7 minutes
      • Standing up
      • What’s going on
      • What people need help with
      • Gets everyone on same page
  • Retention
    • Not focused on eternal retention
    • How to make NMS the best 3 years of an employee’s career?
  • “We sell fear and opportunity”
    • Something is being said about your brand, or
    • You have something that needs attention/buzz
    • Start with background on what people are saying online about target brand or person
  • Viral
    • Influence the influencers to generate buzz
    • Facilitated 250,000 online conversations about Ironman movie
  • Future
    • Change the way brands communicate
    • 35% of corps and brands are buy into the concept
    • Refining the corporate culture
      • Grow
      • Keep small company feel
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Have we become complacent?

by Matthew Dybwad on Sep.11, 2008, under Posts

An article in Politico today lays out some interesting facts in light of the seventh anniversary of 9/11. The kicker in the story:

In 2002 and 2004, roughly 25 percent of all Americans considered terrorism and national security the country’s top problem. Today: Four percent do.
Facts worth remembering today – Jim VandeHei –

There hasn’t been a domestic terrorist attack since then, and evidently people aren’t too worried that one will happen in the future. To say this is foolhardy is a ridiculous understatement.

Some may feel that replaying the news coverage from that day and indulging in remembrances is theater of the macabre, but if that’s what it takes to get people to wake up to the reality that this nation needs to protect itself, so be it.

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Twitter is actually useful

by Matthew Dybwad on Aug.22, 2008, under Posts

Real world of examples of the business use of Twitter are becoming more common (@comcastcares) and with that, Chris Brogan offers a great list of things that Twitter is useful for, how to answer critics of the medium, and what not to do:

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business

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Freedom of electricity is here! Almost…

by Matthew Dybwad on Aug.21, 2008, under Posts

This is a happy update to my post way back about how electricity constrains us, especially in public spaces. Now new technology will allow electrical power sources to be wireless and have effective ranges up to a few meters. The immediate practical applications are wirelessly charged laptops and computer monitors that would be powered by the desk they were sitting on.

Now all they need to do is apply this technology to all of the stationary seating at airports and we’re home free!

Intel Moves to Free Gadgets of Their Recharging Cords –

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Obama's Wide Web

by Matthew Dybwad on Aug.20, 2008, under Posts

WaPo story on the Obama online operation pulls the curtain back just a bit. The thing that jumps out of this article beyond the obligatory “video is good” and “listen to people and communicate with them” is the fact that Obama as 5 times as many people working on his online presence than McCain.

The next time someone on the Right complains about how we’re all behind on the net, ask them if their opponent is outstaffing them 5 to 1 in their online operation.

Not only is the size of the staff indicative of the level of commitment, but I also think it’s telling that they are in-house. Outsourcing custom development and tool building is smart, but if you don’t have true believers interacting with supporters through your web presence every day, no amount of money paid to a K Street firm is going to help you.

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'The Right' to Accountable America: Bring it On!

by Matthew Dybwad on Aug.08, 2008, under Posts

Tom Matzzie, mastermind of the failed Progressive Media USA, has put together a group to threaten potential conservative donors with exposure, lawsuits, and general harassment, called Accountable America.

Of course, as you’d expect, the Right is utterly unafraid: Group Plans Campaign Against G.O.P. Donors –

Chris LaCivita, proudly speaking as usual on behalf of the infamous Swift Boat Vets movement, has a great quote at the end of the article,

“They’re not going to be intimidated by some pipsqueak on the kooky left.”

From my experience at DCI, I’d liken Chris to the political equivalent of Venture Bros. Brock Samson, always willing and able to do whatever is necessary to win. I whole-heartedly agree with his assertion, but fundamentally I think it misses the real point at hand: if a donor believes enough in the political speech of a group to give their hard earned money to finance it, why wouldn’t they proudly identify with that group?

If anything, I hope Accountable America does bring more transparency to political speech. I think discerning voters are well served by knowing who is behind the issue messaging they consume.

If shining the light on where messaging money comes from keeps the disingenuous away or prevents wealthy donors from pouring gas on a political fire they know to be bogus, so be it. But to think that true believers are going to cower in the face of accountability is absurd.

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You know it's a movement when they have their own t-shirt

by Matthew Dybwad on Aug.06, 2008, under Posts

Patrick Ruffini explains how the so called “Phantom Session” of House Republicans, continuing the debate on energy after Pelosi turned out the lights, has turned into a full fledged movement: #dontgo. For the uninitiated, #dontgo is a “hashtag,” a way to tag and track conversations across the user base of micro-blogging utilities like Twitter. The #dontgo meme has also spawned several sites of its own, including, which showcases the Twitter traffic on the subject, the Call Congress Back petition site, and now #dontgomovement, which is more of a full fledged site offering additional background, commentary, and news on the movement.

But Patrick still has the best t-shirt… #dontgo: A Turning Point for the Right The Next Right

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