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Obama still dominates in Web 2.0 world, Internet searches

With election imminent, Obama leads McCain in Facebook friends, Web traffic and Web searches

By Heather Havenstein
October 22, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Three days before the Iowa caucuses in January, the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) launched a new application on Facebook directing supporters to urge their friends in Iowa to help make Obama the Democratic nominee.

At the time of the Iowa Democratic caucus -- which Obama went on to win -- he led the entire presidential pack in the Web 2.0 world, with the most Facebook friends, MySpace friends and YouTube views.

On the Republican side, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee -- the Republican victor in the Iowa caucuses -- were the top Web 2.0 candidates, with 88,000 and 7,000 supporters, respectively, on MeetUp, an online site that helps supporters organize in-person activities for to rally for candidates.

In the current Web 2.0 race for the White House, Obama continues to dominate rival Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in several areas. On Oct. 21, for example, Obama raked in more than 84 million views for his YouTube videos while McCain posted 22 million, according to TechPresident, a site that charts Web 2.0 election statistics. Over the past six months, 13,702 Meetup members have used the site to organize offline groups and events to support Obama, while 1,472 members have used it to rally around McCain.

For the seven days ended Oct. 22, Obama was mentioned 10,291 times in the blogosphere, according to Technorati, which tracks blogs, compared with 3,924 mentions for McCain.

And Hitwise, which tracks Web traffic, noted that Obama was pulling in 67% of all Web traffic directed to presidential candidate sites while McCain was pulling in 32% of that traffic.

Obama has also continued to dominate on Facebook, with 2 million Facebook supporters on Oct. 9, compared with 564,000 for McCain. The Democratic candidate also leads on MySpace, with 749,000 supporters as of today compared with McCain's 190,000.

Both candidates have leaned heavily on the Internet during the run-up to election day. Recent moves include Obama's launch of an iPhone application and McCain's move to query users on LinkedIn Corp.'s professional social networking too and to overhaul his "McCainSpace" MySpace page.

In the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention in August, McCain had a strong online surge -- especially in the blogosphere that had long been Obama's stronghold.

As far as translating online supporters into votes, both candidates have built online tools designed to help volunteers easily identify supporters who can call or canvass voters to help drum up votes, including Obama's "Neighbor to Neighbor" tool and McCain's "Voter to Voter" software.

Micah Sifry, a blogger at TechPresident, noted that it is impossible to know which tool is used more. However, he did say the Obama tool is more "deeply embedded in the ecology of the Internet."



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