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Cross Posted On Open Left

Searching for John McCain is a massive, online activism campaign designed to make at least ten million non-partisan, poll-tested, on-message voter contacts that reveal the damning truth about John McCain entirely through mainstream news reports and McCain’s own words. Through mass blogger participation and the use of embedded hyperlinks, Searching for John McCain will connect millions of curious, low-information swing voters to negative, mainstream news articles about John McCain without 99% of those voters even knowing that Searching for John McCain exists.

To learn how to participate, and to learn how it will work, read on into the extended entry.

Searching for John McCain is the more sophisticated, and hopefully more effective, 2.0 version of the Googlebomb the Elections campaign which, with only $1,500 and three days of work, reached 6% of the electorate in 47 swing congressional districts during the final two weeks of the 2006 mid-term elections. You can participate if you have a website of your own, if you make comments on other websites, or even if you are a registered user on a community website. It is quick. It is easy. It is free. And it is very, very effective. If it is done correctly, and if enough people participate, this campaign alone should cost John McCain 1% of the vote in November.

What
The utilization of simultaneous, widespread embedded hyperlinks in order to connect voters looking for information on John McCain to nine revealing, important news articles on John McCain.

Why
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the number one way that voters use the Internet for political action is to search for information on candidates. In 2004, 34 million Americans used the Internet for this purpose. In 2008, that number will increase significantly, possibly to 50 million or more, with tens of millions looking for information on John McCain. As these voters are looking for information on John McCain, our actions will direct them toward nine articles in particular. Voters are looking for information on John McCain, and we are giving it to them.

These nine articles were not chosen lightly. Analyzing and interpreting polling has long been one of the specialties as a blogger, and I have spent the last three months culling through mountains of available polling on John McCain in order to find the top attacks. All nine of these articles directly correspond to messaging on John McCain that, according to my research, effectively raises doubts about McCain among more than 60% of swing voters.

Additionally, six of these nine articles are from news organizations that already boast top twenty-five Google search rankings for either "John McCain" or "McCain." As such, in order for those six articles to appear in the top twenty Google searches on either John McCain or McCain, we only have to optimize each of those articles relative to other articles from that news organization. That is a very simple, low-hanging fruit sort of task that can be accomplished in only a matter of days.

Further, this messaging is presented by either John McCain himself, or by a non-partisan news organization (or, in most cases, both). As such, the messaging will not be, or be seen as, a partisan attack, making it all the more effective. Personally, I also like that when the inevitable media and conservative outcry against this action kicks in, we can just say that these are all McCain’s own words, and all articles produced by national news organizations. Considering that Michelle Malkin claimed Google should sue me over the Googlebomb campaign two years ago, that her readers issued dozens of death threats against me, and that every single TV news organization contacted me about the campaign two years ago, I really like this aspect of the campaign.

Finally, all of these articles have "McCain" in the title of the article, and most have "McCain" in the URL for the article, making them easier to optimize on Google.

The Articles
Here are the nine articles:

1--John McCain Votes to Filibuster Minimum Wage Hike
AOL News is highly ranked on John McCain, and the minimum wage increase was incredibly popular.

2--McCain housing policy shaped by lobbyist
This article emphasizes how corporate special interests have formed McCain’s economic policy. If it becomes the top ranked MSNBC article, it will appear in the top ten searches for McCain nationwide.

3--Bush, McCain plug Social Security
Seniors are going to be the key swing vote in this election, and they hate Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security. This is the best polling message against McCain of all, which isn’t surprising since our victory on Social Security is how began to turn the tide against Republicans and conservatives three years ago. The headline alone ties McCain to Bush, and this article already ranks very high on searches for McCain Social Security.

4--McCain blasts Obama’s and Clinton’s attacks on NAFTA
This is a great article because it not only ties McCain to NAFTA, which is quite unpopular, but it also draws a contrast between McCain and Democrats on the issue. The LA Times is also in the top twenty searches for John McCain.

5--McCain in NH: Would Be "Fine" To Keep Troops in Iraq for "A Hundred Years"
McCain’s "100 years" statement ha damaged him already, and this article has already been significantly optimized on Google. While Mother Jones is not an ideal news source, it is the top article for this quote, and appears in the top thirty searches for John McCain already.

6--McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion
This is my personal favorite. The headline just makes McCain look like an asshole, and ties him to Bush. Who is opposed to health insurance for kids? CNN also is in the top ten searches for McCain and John McCain A lot of people will see this one.

7--Senate passes expanded GI bill despite Bush, McCain opposition
While I am not thrilled about using Salon, since it isn’t as well known, and since there is an advertising wall that hides the story, the title is damaging enough. McCain’s opposition to the GI Bill really hurts him, and tying him to Bush is just as bad. This title does both in a clear, straightforward manner.

8--McCain says overturn the law that legalized abortion
Pretty straightforward, and extremely important. More than half of all women voters think that McCain is pro-choice. This will quickly change their minds.

9--McCain Defends Bush's Iraq Strategy
The classic McCain SEO, that still appears in top thirty searches for McCain and John McCain. It is also proof positive that this campaign will work, because it appears as the second CBS news article, but still on the front page in Google searches just below the CBS election center information on John McCain. That is all we need to do to get it on the front page of searches about McCain--optimize it against other CBS articles. Also, even though this SEO campaign was abandoned fifteen months ago, it still ranks in the top forty in McCain searches. If a fifteen month old campaign is still that effective, imagine what we can do with enough participation in this campaign.

Even if people searching for information on McCain don’t click through to read each of these articles, the titles alone collectively paint a pretty terrifying picture of McCain. Further, their wide subject range will create a trickle down effect for all kinds of searches on McCain. When people look for specific information on McCain’s issue positions, these articles will appear in the top ten for many, if not most, of those searches.

Action
And now the important part. Here is how you can participate in the campaign:

1. Blogroll John McCain: If you have a website of your own, create a blogroll link for either McCain or John McCain, that links to one of these nine articles.

2. Sign John McCain: Put an embedded John McCain link to one of these nine article in your signature line on all community websites where you are registered. Choose any one of the nine that you like.

3. Comment on John McCain: Whenever you write the words John McCain or McCain online, makes sure to do so with an embedded link to one of these nine article. Choose any of the nine that you link.

And that is all you have to do. If we can get only a few hundred bloggers to participate, we should be able to put six of these nine articles in the top twenty search results for John McCain and McCain before the end of next week. Over time, all nine should appear in the top twenty, and three or four will appear in the top ten. In the end, this should result in several million voter contacts that provide important information on John McCain. The contacts will all be effective, poll tested, non-partisan, and in line with progressive messaging in this election. They will also be educational, as the people who find these articles might forward them to friends and co-workers, or bring them up in conversations. The ripple effect should be quite powerful.

So, please, optimize John McCain today. Put John McCain in your blogroll. Put John McCain in your signature line. Link to John McCain whenever you type his name on a website. This is a quick and powerful action you can take, and it will help us win this election. There isn’t another action you can take this election that will have anywhere near as a high a return for the amount of effort it takes to execute. Millions of truly effective voter contacts just by creating embedded hyperlinks on John McCain or McCain. Let’s do this. Let’s make a difference. Let’s win this election. Let’s search for John McCain.

UPDATE: The first article about the recession being "psychological" has been replaced due to an oversight on my part. It now optimizes John McCain on the minimum wage. Really, I think this is an improvement. Please update your links if you used the first one originally.

Originally posted to Chris Bowers on Thu May 29, 2008 at 11:04 AM PDT.

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