Take Back Congress - New York

Thursday, February 09, 2006

24th District Democratic Candidates on the Web - Update

A while ago, I wrote about the problems of most Democratic candidates in the 24th congressional district getting their campaign web sites up online. The Les Roberts campaign did a great job of getting a campaign web site up quickly, and filling it with useful information for voters who want to evaluate what Congressman Roberts would look like. The other Democratic campaigns, I've reported, have been slower than molasses in getting campaign web sites up.

As of this update, the slow pace of the other Democratic candidates' web site development is still impeding their progress. However, there has been a little bit of progress. Bruce Tytler and Michael Arcuri have both registered domain names for their web sites. TytlerForCongress.com and TytlerForCongress.net were secured on January 27, and ArcurifForCongress.com was secured on February 3. No content yet appears on either site, and it appears that the Arcuri and Tytler campaigns have yet to redirect the nameservers for their domains away from Network Solutions, so at a bare minimum it will be a few days before these web sites are up and functioning. Of course it could be longer than that - weeks or months, even.

As for Leon Koziol, although he told me a couple weeks ago that his campaign was working on a web site, it seems that he has done nothing to actually move toward getting a campaign web site up online. This morning, I used the Network Solutions web site to search for every imaginable domain name that Koziol might use for a Koziol for Congress web site: Koziolforcongress.com , leonkoziol.com , koziol06.com , leonkoziol06.com , leonkoziol2006.com and so on. I found that every domain I could come up with was still available - even ones like Leon06.com. The .net and .org addresses were also unclaimed.

To be fair, Leon Koziol could have people working on a campaign web site offline. Still, even if that is the case, his failure to have a web site ready for the time of his official campaign announcement must be disturbing to Koziol's supporters. Other than a few short, not very descriptive, newspaper articles, there is no way for voters to find out about Leon Koziol, much less provide him with their support.

A web site is one of the first things any campaign should make available. A campaign site is extremely inexpensive (usually less than $50 necessary for initial set up costs), and has the potential to reach a large audience without restrictions of physical distance. These sites offer information, but also give the candidate a way to start collecting financial donations and information about potential supporters. Until Leon Koziol, Bruce Tytler, and Mike Arcuri get their web sites up, the only way that they'll be able to collect donations is from direct contact with potential donors. Their supporters in the 24th District wouldn't even know who to make a check out to right now, much less know where to send it.

In the meantime, the Les Roberts campaign web site has been collecting online donations and volunteer information for weeks. Les Roberts 2006 continues to expand. The blog there is now operational, and is supplemented by a blog written by Josh Lozman, the manager for the Les Roberts campaign.

This online head start could be narrowed quickly, but every week that these campaigns fail to establish an online presence is another week that they'll have to play catch up. It generally takes between one to two weeks for new web sites to get a foot in the door with search engines like Google - no matter how much they advertise and solicit links. In just three days from now, it will be a mere seven months until the Democratic primary. That's shorter than it seems. The filing deadline for petitions is just a little over five months away, and petitioning is a real test of organizational power.

Given that we won't know for months what kind of fundraising the Democratic candidates are doing right now, presence in the media, including the Internet, will be an important clue for those of us who are trying to assess the candidates' relative strength. It looks like the online field will soon get more crowded, but for now, we're still waiting.

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From Take Back New York's 24th

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