Friday, August 19, 2011
Labels: american enterprise institute, engage, fake support, faux tea party, mitt romney, pyramid schemes, robocalls, shady, spam, tactics, Tea Party, Utah
Why would Mitt Romney's #1 fan and designer of his largest support network not want anyone to know who he is?
Perhaps, it is because Brian Armstrong of Eagle Mountain, Utah is a paid shill who is acting as an unofficial OPO (online political operative) for the Republican hopeful.
By now, I'm sure you've noticed that Mitt Romney has a website... or maybe you haven't because you wouldn't even want to visit it. That's a problem that many candidates, even the President have faced over the past few years: "How do we drive traffic to our website?" Another question then becomes, how do we get donations from that traffic once we've got them?
Well, back in 2004, the Republican Party expirimented with using OPO's to get the much coveted "youth vote" for George W. Bush. One of the "bad ideas" that most of the OPO's decided not to go for was an angle that's commonly called Associate Marketing? Why is it a bad idea? Because if you are found out and exposed, you show that your candidate only has support that they are paying for - not REAL support.
A key player in this process of bringing Republicans into the internet age was a girl who later went on to head up the internet-related side of many other campaigns including Mitt Romney's 2008 campaign. Her name is Mindy Finn and she most recently was known to have worked on Tim Pawlenty's "crash and burn" campaign... which is sooo not like her. Is she still REALLY working for Mitt Romney with Zach Moffatt? Who knows... There's afterall, no honor among thieves... or in this case, among associate marketers gone political.
So how does it work? There is a 2nd Mitt Romney website that more people enjoy visiting... it is supposed to be like a hub for "tea party-like" "grassroots" supporters that is supposedly NOT paid for by the Romney campaign. This is where the associate marketers mingle with the real supporters and solicit donations from them and "drive their traffic" to the places Mitt Romney (or whoever has hired them) want them to go. Here, it is important to note that Mitt Romney's official facebook page links to the supposedly disconnected "Mitt Romney Central" as though it is in fact, part of the official campaign.
Associate Marketing techniques are a few steps beyond the pale of what voters and people concerned with ethics are willing permit their candidates to get into... It creates a lot of spam, it's mostly anonymous and it just doesn't speak to the idea that the supporters are there for the right reasons.
Creating a political campaign based on paying per click and driving traffic this way and that might seem lucrative to people who never step away from their computers... But there is REAL life outside the matrix that one must eventually contend with. For Mitt Romney, it's going to be devastating to his REAL supporters that most of their "new friends" are being paid handsomely to get cozy with them.
According to one of Armstrong's many, many websites, he explains it this way: "Targeting social groups with your marketing message may be like tight-rope walking. It also may require some nice social engineering where you have an opportunity to talk about your product or service without it coming across as an advertisement or a “pitch”... the overall concept revolves a bit around SEO (search engine optimization 0r "making your site popular via keywords) being a “popularity contest” with backlinks being the votes. Monetizing that traffic [in this case, getting donations] is probably the topic of a different article."
Mr. Armstrong's mistake - the part that really uncovered this mess... was claiming that the "grassroots" site was designed by amateur volunteers and then not giving those people proper credit for their help... It smelled fishy, and boy was it ever... See the "official page" for the "volunteer" who set them up here. Notice anything strange?
Here, you can watch Brian's videos about Associate Marketing.
Here, you can see his obscure and kind of strange blog/webpage where he recruits business.
Now that you know this much, have fun sorting through the rubble... If you know more than I do about associate marketing techniques and political campaigns, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and don't hack me, bro...
If any of my facts are wrong here and I'm barking up the wrong tree, just let me know - I'm a reasonable guy who only wants politicians to be honest about who their support is coming from and under what motivation. I always welcome new information and correct my mistakes where I can. Don't have a cow and think I'm your biggest enemy just because I don't support being shady.