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The Online Candidate Story
A friend of ours ran for office in 2003. She was an underdog in the campaign and needed all the help she could get.
We decided the best way to help was to build her a campaign website. This was back before having online presence was a large part of political campaigning.
The site was successful and had a large impact on the campaign. It helped raise issue awareness on local development and many of the back-room deals being made without public knowledge or input.
Our candidate’s website came up for web searches on our opponent’s name. There were also a number of unflattering articles that appeared. This was due to linking out to them from the site to influence rankings. (Today this would be called ‘Google Bombing’.)
The campaign promoted the website offline on signage and in local newspaper articles. This bad publicity spooked the opponent and led him to spend lots of money on a competing site to try to give his side of the story.
It didn’t work. The site was amateurish and hardly persuasive.
In the end, our candidate won the election.
That success gave us the idea of using our web skills to help other local candidates. We believed the web was going to be a powerful tool for organizing people. At the time, building any sort of website required a fair amount of technical skill.
That idea led to the creation of Online Candidate.
We put together a process to let people order a website package online. We would register the domain name and set up a content management system with pre-built pages and tools. The client could choose from pre-designed headers and color schemes to get the look they wanted.
Today the Online Candidate system is fully automated for domain registration and account setup, so a client can immediately register and start creating their website. The system has more built-in tools and produces sites that are fully mobile-responsive.
Additional services like social media setup help our clients build an online presence faster.
In 2017, we began offering campaign WordPress websites.
Online campaigning has evolved in the last two decades. We expect that evolution to continue going forward.