Dirty digital tricks for campaigns and non-profits

Dirty digital tricks for campaigns and non-profits

CampaignTech Chicago is coming up fast, where I will be holding a panel to talk about the seamy underbelly of digital politics. How can you defend against dark arts by other campaigns — or launch your own attacks? Here’s a sneak peak, but you’ll need to attend to get all of our tricks!

What’s in a name?

Make sure you own your own domain names – and check to see whether your opponents have left some obvious ones on the market. This can happen to any level of campaign – Ted Cruz and many others learned it the hard way. You’d be surprised how many campaigns and IEs fail to cover their bases on this one. It’s not only embarrassing, and a potential news story, but there could be some seo effects as well.

Trolling on social media

We’re all aware of the horror stories of politicians + Twitter. Since many politicians handle their own Twitter accounts, this is a way you can get under your opponent’s skin and enable them to make a self-inflicted wound. Start a parody Twitter account and they may personally freak out and make it a story – or in Trump’s case, Gawker played right into his vanity. (Twitter policy on parody accounts here.)

Also you can get your own fan base to flood their mentions with a particular message or issue – annoying for them, entertaining for you. Trolling bonus points if you can enrage their supporters too.

Note that this is definitely happening already on the Presidential level.

Take over search

Google adwords can be a pretty inexpensive tool – be sure to run them on your opponent’s name as well as your own. Going back to domains, if you own a good domain with their name on it, this would be a good place to amplify the content via paid search & social as well as some search engine optimization so it shows up high in organic results too. The Santorum googlebomb was all organic, as far as I know.

These are just a few examples of ways your campaign can harness the power of the dark side, digitally speaking. Come to our session in Chicago to find out more, and be sure to contact PowerThru if you need help defending against some dark arts — or perhaps launching your own.

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