Huffpost Media
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Andrew Cherwenka Headshot

Antisocial Web Marketing: Why McCain Is Losing

Posted: Updated:

The McCain campaign continues to drown in stunning negativity. A search on YouTube for the term "John McCain" yields a results page filled with McCain-bashing videos including:

McCain's YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare
David Letterman Reacts to John McCain Suspending Campaign
John McCain vs John McCain - Get off the double talk express

All 20 of the first 20 user-uploaded YouTube results are negative. In stark contrast, the top 20 YouTube results for the search term "Barack Obama" are all positive. The "Yes We Can" music video is still going strong, his speeches and interviews are in high demand, and his dancing moves on the Ellen Degeneres Show have attracted over 2 million views.

McCain's top 20 videos, all of them potentially damaging, have been viewed 21 million times. Obama's top 20 videos, all favorable and brand-building, have been viewed 47 million times.

So what's the McCain team doing wrong? As with the Clinton team's comparative marketing failures, the McCain web strategists are combining an outdated strategy of tight control with a woeful neglect of Web 2.0 tools. Their central campaign website has no external links to social networks like Facebook or MySpace. Photos aren't tagged for easy searching, are locked inside a Flash file with no deep links or tools for sharing, and cannot be commented on. The events page contains just four events inside an old-school calendar. Supporters looking to recruit friends are faced with an embarrassingly archaic email tool.

One click away, the Obama team continues to lead the most successful internet marketing campaign in history. Their strong foundation from 2007 continues to grow, based on an impressive central website and a brilliant social marketing campaign. The Obama Everywhere section links to over 3.2 million fans across Facebook, MySpace, BlackPlanet, and a dozen other social networking sites. All of these sites link to each other and back to the central hub, creating a powerful, viral, ever-growing web presence. They have the most-followed account on Twitter and 39,000 easily searchable tagged photos on Flickr. Events, blogs, fundraising pages, and an activities tracker all reside inside the custom-built social network. Comparing this network's thousands of locally-organized events to the McCain campaign's sparsely populated 1-way calendar is almost unfair.

The Obama campaign is embracing the web and fully leveraging the power of social networking. The McCain campaign is not, and they're paying the price.