From each presidential election emerges at least one consultancy credited with gaming the system in a new way: Political operatives who made their bones trying to get their candidates elected include Roger Ailes (Nixon) James Carville (Clinton) and Joe Trippi (Howard Dean).
This time around, it looks as if the winner will be Blue State Digital, the firm behind Sen. Barack Obama’s ubiquity/dominance on the Web (1 million Facebook friends, $200 million raised online). Not surprisingly, there’s a direct connection between Blue State and one of the previous pioneers of presidential campaigns: All of its founders learned at the knee of former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi.
Among its achievements: Blue State built Obama his own social network, MyBO, which has 850,000 users and has organised 50,000 events. And they’ve done all this, BusinessWeek reports, while only billing the campaign $1.1 million.
This may or may not have much of an impact on the general election, but it sure will get Blue State a lot of really lucrative corporate work. The firm already orchestrated an astroturf campaign to get AT&T a licence to offer video service in Connecticut. One problem: In order to grow after November, the firm may have to change its name.
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