How You Could (Literally) Cost McCain the Election

I few weeks ago I read somewhere that the McCain campaign was spending far more on pay-per-click online advertising (where you pay only when someone clicks on your ad) than on banner ads (where you pay a set amount for a certain number of impressions).

pay-per-clickI thought at the time that if Obama supporters clicked on every McCain ad they saw online, it would cost the McCain campaign a lot of money.

But I didn’t post anything about this idea because:

  • It seemed to me to be too nefarious, and
  • I thought it might be illegal.

Recently, I noticed that someone at the Daily Kos posted the following:

“I was going to make McCain pay for every Google Ad he made me look at.  I simply clicked on the ad and waited for the page to load reviewed it to gain information. Once I reviewed the page that loaded I closed the page. I’m up to 8 clicks today alone just from looking at CNN and YouTube.”

“Now from what I’ve been able to research it cost McCain about $2.00 for my 8 clicks today.  And while that doesn’t seem like much if you multiply that by say 20,000 and by say 24 days until November 4th the costs could be substantial.  I mean 2 x 20,000 = $40,000 p/day, $40,000 x 24 = $960,000.  This is money that can’t be spent in other areas like TV, Radio or malers.”

“Now this is all theoretical and McCain could simply take down these ads.  Even if he does though we win. These ads are on popular pages all over the web that all of us go to.  They attack Obama’s character by placement in prime real estate on webpages with no fact checks.  I say if McCain wants to put up these ads we make him pay.  No free rides for low road politics.”

“So everyone tell your friends as crazy as it sounds to click on McCain/Palin sponsored Google Ads.  Each click takes $.25 cents away from McCain campaign fund that can’t be used on other things.”

I think the Daily Kos has seriously underestimated the amount of money that each click costs the McCain campaign. My guess is that each click costs the McCain campaign a few dollars, not a few cents.

I also think that the Daily Kos poster underestimated the impact that Obama supporters could have on the McCain campaign by failing to note that every pay-per-click Google ad campaign has a daily budget.  Once that limit is reached, the ads stop showing.  In other words, Obama supporters clicking on McCain ads could not only cost the McCain campaign money, it could also stop the McCain ads from running.

But I still think it’s nefarious, and I sill think it might be illegal (if anyone knows, please comment).

That’s why I am NOT recommending that if you’re an Obama supporter, you should click on every online McCain ad you see.

It might (literally) cost McCain the election.

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One response to “How You Could (Literally) Cost McCain the Election

  1. thepumpernickel

    You’ve probably already seen it, but http://www.wonkette.com is another great site for political goings-ons.

    Btw, you’ve officially been added to my “Blogworthies” section.

    May the shameless self-promotion continue!

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