The Battle to Control Obama's Myspace
May 2, 2007 12:52 PM   Subscribe


 
The Barocket Takes Off

...and that's where I stopped reading.
posted by odinsdream at 12:54 PM on May 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


via slashdot
posted by chunking express at 12:55 PM on May 2, 2007


39k for a fucking myspace profile is bullshit regardless of how many people were signed up, plain and simple.
posted by slapshot57 at 1:03 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Obama is so 2006. How's Mike Gravel's myspace look?
posted by jtron at 1:05 PM on May 2, 2007


ditto, odinstream
posted by buriednexttoyou at 1:08 PM on May 2, 2007


Hate to admit it, but that phrasing made me stop reading too. Amazing the damage that misplaced cheesiness can do to a story.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:12 PM on May 2, 2007


This is Joe Anthony.

This is not blackmail and I'm not a "squatter".

They wanted the profile and asked me to propose a fee, and indicated that Myspace was ok with this. I have no experience making such proposals and had no idea what to ask for.

I proposed a fee, and now they're accusing me of looking for a "big payday".

This is not blackmail. This is not me cashing in on the profile.

I do not believe that one person on that profile, who has personally witnessed the close personal attention I've dedicated to this community since 2004 would disagree with this.

posted by Burhanistan at 1:16 PM on May 2, 2007


I found it strange that they are basically swimming in money, and decided to give the guy nothing for his work. Covering the MySpace fees at the very least would be the nice thing to do.
posted by chunking express at 1:19 PM on May 2, 2007


That will teach him to not get blown away by some blowhard's personality.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:21 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fascinating stuff. Why didn't they hire him as a consultant on the condition that he give over control of the page? He did all the hard work in the early days, seems that should be worth something to the Obama campaign.
posted by Joe Invisible at 1:25 PM on May 2, 2007


Covering the MySpace fees at the very least would be the nice thing to do.

I thought it was saying he wanted a cut of any fees the campaign paid to MySpace.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:26 PM on May 2, 2007



I'm trying to figure out what the problem is exactly. It seems he set a price, and the Obama campaign balked at paying it.

I don't see how the Obama campaign was obligated to pay for what he had done - there was no contract beforehand, and they aren't trying to otherwise take it from him.

Frankly, 50 grand for a myspace profile is moronic.

Not to mention this whole discussion is kind of stupid. This amounts to an ad buy that went south - it happens with some frequency, I imagine. I'm just not feeling the outrage.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:27 PM on May 2, 2007


On second thought, now that they have the page, why not cut the guy a check for 10 grand as an after-the-fact "consulting fee"? As it stands, the campaign looks like a bully, paying him something might improve that image.
posted by Joe Invisible at 1:28 PM on May 2, 2007


Seems a bit Rupert Pupkin to me:
I know, Barack, that you are as human as the rest of us, if not more so.

I think RickRussellTX nailed it (his quote follows):
“(1) Campaign staffers had become concerned about the currency and accuracy of information on the site.
(2) Anthony was overworked and suggested that they should make him a consultant.
(3) They said they would rather have a one-time transfer, and he should name a price.
(4) He picked a number. They said no and went to MySpace management for resolution.
(5) MySpace came up with an eminently equitable solution. Mr. Anthony has been given the opportunity to build the site again with a different URL and full transfer of his friends list.”

/My fav. is from AZDEM though: “I guess white people shouldn’t vote for you since you are so ashamed of that part of bloodline.”
That’s totally going to blow Obama’s mind when he reads that.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:31 PM on May 2, 2007


50 grand for that myspace profile is not only a bargain, it's a drop in the bucket for the campaign to pay for. But why pay for something you can steal?
posted by banished at 1:33 PM on May 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


Obama is so 2006. How's Mike Gravel's myspace look?
posted by jtron at 3:05 PM on May 2


according to this page he only has two friends...and Tom is one of them.
posted by birdherder at 1:35 PM on May 2, 2007


I should also add, people that think that fee is outrageous are either too old to understand myspace, or do not understand the strategic advantage of that profile in terms of the campaign's entire online advertising strategy.
posted by banished at 1:35 PM on May 2, 2007


The fact that the campaign chose not to make a counter-offer reduces their credibility somewhat.

That is - $39k plus a fee percentage may be unreasonable, but 0 is also unreasonable.

Then again, I prefer politics be honest with itself; Obama is a candidate, nothing more. Not the personification of an ideal, not the savior of a party. Just some guy who wants the power and surrounds himself with folks who will help him get it.
posted by abulafa at 1:35 PM on May 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


So, just so we're clear: everything on the internet should be free, except MySpace pages, which go for fifty grand?

I don't understand computers at all.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:38 PM on May 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think the rub comes in the fact that the Obama camp (not Obama personally, it's ridiculous to make assertions that he made this decision and I hate when people pull that tactic) saw the profile as a commodity, with the URL having the value. I don't see that as accurate at all -- they could have made another profile, had official materials point to it, and had Joe Anthony point to that one while having him trim the official info from his own.

It was Anthony's daily work and maintenance that had the value, in that would be buying a service, not a product. When a business is sold, it's not for the amount of the physical assets, it's for an estimation of what the earning potential is worth combined with those assets. A regulated, well-connected community was sacrificed for the sake of owning a URL.
posted by mikeh at 1:40 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


50 grand for that myspace profile is not only a bargain, it's a drop in the bucket for the campaign to pay for. But why pay for something you can steal?

He didn't do anything that the Obama campaign couldn't do themselves. Worse, he did it without deciding ahead of time what his time would cost.

I don't know what sort of calculus they did that they didn't counteroffer - but it doesn't really matter. They were not under any obligation to give this guy what he asked for if they didn't want to.

I want to feel bad for this guy, I really do - but the time to have the discussion about what his time was worth was well before he invested so much of it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:44 PM on May 2, 2007


(5) MySpace came up with an eminently equitable solution. Mr. Anthony has been given the opportunity to build the site again with a different URL and full transfer of his friends list.”

So they didn't "steal" his Myspace account and all the friends he built up. They simply requested that myspace.com/barackobama be given to Barack Obama. I understand why they wouldn't feel obligated to send the guy 50 grand either. And if they can get volunteers to do the same work Anthony did I understand why they didn't just "hire him as a consultant." Raising a lot of money doesn't mean you should waste it when you don't need to.

And no offense to the MySpace page creator, but while I understand he did a shitload of work too, lots of people do a shitload of work for a campaign for free. Obama has hundreds of volunteers; so do every candidate, many who stand in the rain and knock on thousands of doors and make thousands of phone calls and do shit that's likely just as grueling as running a MySpace page. That's why you volunteer for a campaign; because you want it to succeed, not because of the paycheck.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:49 PM on May 2, 2007


XQUZYPHYR, what's up with you lately? That's a rather illogical presentation of the issue.

The page is worth what someone will pay for it. In this case, the owner named a price, and the purchasers said "fuck you" and went directly to MySpace, instead of counter-offering.

People pay for things all the time. They also give things away for free. Doing one does not make the other impossible.
posted by odinsdream at 1:50 PM on May 2, 2007


In which we discover that the principles of domain squatting don't just apply to domains. That's hardly news.

And clearly it's not stealing -- Anthony didn't have rights to it in the first place. Myspace had rights to it, Anthony had permission to use it, and then they revoked that permission. Accounts on a company's web application are simply not commodities, and Anthony decided to invest his time on something that had a high risk of little to no returns.
posted by mendel at 1:52 PM on May 2, 2007


odinsdream, I think a lot of people are rationalizing the value of a MySpace page a bit ex post facto. If they saw someone owned barackobama.com, and they asked for it, and the guy said "sure, give me forty grand," I don't think there'd be as much an argument that this was a drop in the bucket and a lot more people would understand if they just went to the proper authorities to get it back.

All this is speculative, of course, since we have one person's side of the story and the Obama campaign people likely have a much different perspective on how Anthony "offered" them the account.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:57 PM on May 2, 2007


(Speaking of which, did Kerry Edwards even manage to sell his domain name?)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:58 PM on May 2, 2007


I should also add, people that think that fee is outrageous are either too old to understand myspace, or do not understand the strategic advantage of that profile in terms of the campaign's entire online advertising strategy.

I'm 21, and I think I'm too old to understand MySpace. I guess it's a good way to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:06 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Frankly, I don't see what the big deal is. People set up fake MySpace profiles for celebrities all the time, and if the real celebrity comes along, MySpace turns the address over to them, which is how it should be. A person's MySpace page is supposed to represent that person, not some random fan of that person.

If MySpace's standard policy is to give the URL to Obama's campaign for free, why on Earth would they pay $39,000 for it? Does anyone honestly think Barack Obama wouldn't be able to get friends on MySpace now if this random dude hadn't set up a fan page two years ago? He managed to snag 66,660 supporters on Facebook without Joe Anthony's help, and Facebook has a fraction of the members of MySpace.

Yesterday, the profile had just over 160,000 friends. Today, that url has only about 12,000. And it's under new ownership.

Somehow, in one day, even without the awesome star power of Joe Anthony, this Obama guy was able to attract over 13% of the friends that the Anthony's fan site had attracted over two years.

This guy wasn't providing any more of a service than the guy who registered myspace.com/weirdal before "Weird Al" Yankovic showed up.

If he did volunteer work to promote Obama's campaign, that's a separate issue, which can be resolved quite simply by looking up the word "volunteer" in the dictionary.
posted by designbot at 2:17 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


I should also add, people that think that fee is outrageous are either too old to understand myspace, or do not understand the strategic advantage of that profile in terms of the campaign's entire online advertising strategy.

Another possibility: the people are too naive to understand how much money campaigns pay in fees to "campaign consultants." $40k for control of a prebuilt online community with 140,000 names on a mailing list? That's a steal! Find me a lobbyist or campaign advertising consultant who can give you the same for less.
posted by deanc at 2:18 PM on May 2, 2007


Oh, fuck that, I'm voting for Dick Cheney now.
posted by breezeway at 2:20 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


The funniest part, for me, is the tenor of this "scandal" — how even most of the people who are criticizing the Obama campaign are tempering their responses with something like, "I think what the campaign is doing really sucks!! ...But I'll bet Obama doesn't even really know about this. It's not his fault."

You'd see a markedly different response if the identical circumstance arose with Romney or Clinton. But the Internet gets wet for Obama, so you get this.
posted by cribcage at 2:31 PM on May 2, 2007


I totally agree it's a drop in the proverbial bucket. Hell, $50,000 can barely get you 8 hours of banner space on MySpace. You're talking about a guy who has a network of 160,000 friends being asked to fuck off? Tragic. I hope Tony turns on him.
posted by phaedon at 2:32 PM on May 2, 2007


I bet they could have hired Anthony to continue doing the job for $2000/mo. That's a tenth what they pay the pros who do far less. 160,000 names of supporters and potential donators and growing by thousands every week? That's valuable. But the problem wasn't money, it was control. The professional polticos don't understand this stuff, therefore can't control it, therefore are afraid of it. And, the pros are jealous of their turf. The battle between the DLC and the DNC over whether to use pros or grassroots organizers is another flavor of this story. The Dems are having a hard time moving into the 21st Century. Someone else will have to show them how. It was the Right and the Christian Coalition that first mobilized mass mailings and similar practices that are now the norm for the pros.
posted by CCBC at 2:34 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


The funniest part, for me, is the tenor of this "scandal" — how even most of the people who are criticizing the Obama campaign are tempering their responses with something like, "I think what the campaign is doing really sucks!! ...But I'll bet Obama doesn't even really know about this. It's not his fault."

I think that's totally believable. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the 2008 candidates didn't even know what MySpace was. John Edwards had never even met the two bloggers for his website who were the cause of that whole jihad on them by Bill Donahue a few months ago.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:37 PM on May 2, 2007


And clearly it's not stealing -- Anthony didn't have rights to it in the first place. Myspace had rights to it, Anthony had permission to use it, and then they revoked that permission. Accounts on a company's web application are simply not commodities, and Anthony decided to invest his time on something that had a high risk of little to no returns.

Of course they are commodities. Of huge import to some people. There is a certain threshold of occurences that the web-world will tolerate, however, when it comes to big business slapping them on the wrist.

But, trust me, if myspace were marketed as anything else but "this is your little corner on the internet, do anything you want with it and maybe one day millions of people will see it", they be fucked.
posted by phaedon at 2:38 PM on May 2, 2007


deanc writes 'Another possibility: the people are too naive to understand how much money campaigns pay in fees to "campaign consultants." $40k for control of a prebuilt online community with 140,000 names on a mailing list? That's a steal! Find me a lobbyist or campaign advertising consultant who can give you the same for less.'

You're assuming here that this guy had some specialized skills or expertise that he used to build that constituency. He didn't. He just registered the Myspace page, and Obama's pull was what brought the people along.

All he did was sat there and clicked the 'add friends' button. A task that any lowly intern could do. And for this he wants $40k? Give me a break.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:38 PM on May 2, 2007


You're talking about a guy who has a network of 160,000 friends being asked to fuck off? Tragic.

Think of all the chain letters and exclusive private webcam pics he won't be allowed to see now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:40 PM on May 2, 2007


I think that's totally believable.

Of course it's believable. I'm sure it's true — just like I'm sure you're right about Edwards never having met Marcotte and McEwan. But that's exactly my point: Edwards took the heat, in that case. This time, a lot of people seem to be bending over backward to stress Obama's distance and insulation from "campaign decisions."
posted by cribcage at 2:42 PM on May 2, 2007


Here's his page now.
posted by konolia at 2:42 PM on May 2, 2007


I will say, I would be looking for a payday myself. Payday is a pretty delicious candybar. It’s got nuts on the outside and nougat and such. Pretty tasty.

Not sure how this incident is supposed to alter my perspective on Obama though.

Clinton wants to assert her morality on me to prevent me from playing GTA.
But now I’ll vote for her because the Obama campaign didn’t play ball with some obsessive volunteer.
...hmmm, yea, solid reasoning to predicate one’s vote upon.

Although because Obama has - and perhaps has cultivated - this cult of personality, this might be the result.
And that’d be valid criticism.
Still doesn’t change what I think of his policies though.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:45 PM on May 2, 2007


You're assuming here that this guy had some specialized skills or expertise that he used to build that constituency.

I don't see that assumption made anywhere. "Special skills" are irrelevant, as is the method by which Anthony compiled the list. The point is that, by campaign funding standards, $40,000 is a relative bargain for what was being offered.
posted by cribcage at 2:45 PM on May 2, 2007


Why should some random idiot get to keep the profile for any reason? Hehad no right to the name in the first place.

I don't see that assumption made anywhere. "Special skills" are irrelevant, as is the method by which Anthony compiled the list. The point is that, by campaign funding standards, $40,000 is a relative bargain for what was being offered.

So what? The guy just clicked "accept" 140,000 times, and he could have fobbed off that work to someone in the obama campaign if he'd wanted too (Can you auto accept people on myspace anyway)?

The reason he got the links was because he squated on the name, nothing more. He didn't do anything to deserve the list beyond getting lucky.
posted by delmoi at 2:52 PM on May 2, 2007


PeterMcDermott: He just registered the Myspace page, and Obama's pull was what brought the people along.

First, it's my understanding that he put quite a bit more work into the myspace page than that. Clearly it was something that people wanted to keep visiting. Next, you might not think that his skills were deserving of payment for what he did and what he built, but he did do it and created something of value. Heck, people were getting paid $50/hr to do HTML in 1995-1996, not because it was very difficult but because it was something that no one else was doing at the time. He got their first, and I'll be shocked if the Obama campaign is able to build something similar for less money, particularly given their time constraints. Plus, if they had written him a check (or even made a counter-offer that was accepted), we wouldn't even be talking about this right now, saving Obama a heck of a lot of trouble. In terms of campaign expenses, this was asking for a pittance for work that no one else had done in an industry where a "netroots relations consultant" would have been a lot more expensive.

Hilarity from the linked article:
Indeed, it appears the Obama internet team was shocked by the size of Anthony's proposal and argued to themselves that it was proof that he was just in it for the money

"OMG! Money! He asked for Money! Horrors! A so-called liberal campaign supporter wants money! This just goes to show that he's really a traitor!" Which is, unfortunately, how a lot of liberal organizations think. As I said, the guy built something that the Obama campaign wanted and could have used. They could have even hired the guy to "consult." I suspect that part of the problem was that the people in charge of negotiating a deal over the myspace page were way too low on the totem pole.
posted by deanc at 2:55 PM on May 2, 2007


I don't know what the site previously looked like, delmoi, but it sounds like he was very active, which makes this a case of more than "squatting". And where does it say Barack Obama has a right to http://www.myspace.com/barackobama?
posted by phaedon at 2:55 PM on May 2, 2007


I never did understand the problem with "cyber squatting" If somebody owned a URL they would have bought the URL. squatting is when you move onto somebody elses abandoned property, when somebody hasnt bothered to set up a myspace page, or a website why is somehow "squatting" to do so.
posted by Megafly at 2:56 PM on May 2, 2007


The point is that, by campaign funding standards, $40,000 is a relative bargain for what was being offered.

What exactly was being offered? As some have already noticed, Obama started up again from scratch last night and is already pushing 20,000 friends. He will likely break 100,000 again by summer, and I imagine there are volunteers or at most a staffer being paid far less than $39,000 willing to do everything Anthony did.

Furthermore, the comparisons to mailing lists or ads aren't totally fair. You can't mass e-mail your MySpace friends; only post a small bulletin. You don't have a comprehensive database of constituent information. Hell, many of the friends aren't even old enough to vote. The DNC and RNC outreach databases are worth their weight in uranium enrichment blueprints; MySpace friends that can be recouped in a few months, not so much.

If his story is completely accurate (again, we have no idea what actually transpired save Anthony's version of the story) then while what happened to him still sucks and I understand why he's upset, I also don't see where his leverage was in this.

And where does it say Barack Obama has a right to http://www.myspace.com/barackobama?

Right here.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:58 PM on May 2, 2007


I should also add, people that think that fee is outrageous are either too old to understand myspace, or do not understand the strategic advantage of that profile in terms of the campaign's entire online advertising strategy.

Yeah but come on. If this guy was getting a lot of traffic on barackobama.com, he'd lose the domain in any dispute for sure. Why should a myspace profile be any different? Obviously it gets lots of "eyeballs" but if Obama had setup his own page he would have gotten that user list himself. If anything he was simply too polite.

And clearly it's not stealing -- Anthony didn't have rights to it in the first place. Myspace had rights to it, Anthony had permission to use it, and then they revoked that permission. Accounts on a company's web application are simply not commodities, and Anthony decided to invest his time on something that had a high risk of little to no returns.

Exactly. A myspace profile isn't like a domain name, or a copyright, or a piece of land. Unless you have a contract giving you the account, you don't own it. Otherwise all the banned trolls and self-linkers would be suing matt.
posted by delmoi at 3:00 PM on May 2, 2007


Very stupid move on the campaigns part. Lot of value pissed away. They would have done much much better by giving the guy money to move on. Everybody would have won. The cost of what this guy did at the retail level is substantially higher than 50k. Pity.
posted by filchyboy at 3:04 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Right here.

Well I wasn't expecting that. But to be clear, Joe Anthony wasn't pretending to Barack Obama, was he?
posted by phaedon at 3:08 PM on May 2, 2007


Yeah but come on. If this guy was getting a lot of traffic on barackobama.com, he'd lose the domain in any dispute for sure. Why should a myspace profile be any different? Obviously it gets lots of "eyeballs" but if Obama had setup his own page he would have gotten that user list himself. If anything he was simply too polite.

The value is the network not the address. Putting this guy out the door puts them 2 years behind in building a network. Very stupid move. Did you see what has happened at digg? Similar thing.
posted by filchyboy at 3:09 PM on May 2, 2007


the comparisons to mailing lists or ads aren't totally fair.

That's true. On the other hand, MySpace profiles offer a lot more information than a mailing list; so while it's less immediately useful than its analogs, it's potentially far more informative. Moreover, it carries the added value of a commercial. What percentage of users who subscribed to the original profiles had it in their "Top 8"? How many friends and visitors click on a user's "Top 8" profiles, and how frequently? That's projected traffic.

I also don't see where his leverage was in this.

He had none, obviously. And that's the point — because he had no leverage, Obama was able to roll right over him. If you're going to paint a politician as being a "friend to the little guy," it would be nice if he didn't do things like that just because he can.
posted by cribcage at 3:11 PM on May 2, 2007


Well I wasn't expecting that. But to be clear, Joe Anthony wasn't pretending to Barack Obama, was he?

It's hard to say without seeing what the page used to look like, but I imagine the name on the page was probably Barack Obama. I don't think 100,000+ people were lining up to have Joe Anthony in their friends list.
posted by designbot at 3:12 PM on May 2, 2007


I wonder if XQUZYPHYR has picked a candidate yet? If only he would resort to illogical and absurd justifications any time his candidate of choice were criticized, then we'd know for sure!

I'd believe the Obama campaign people if they'd counter-offered. Anthony's number seems a bit steep; if I were him I'd have asked for money to cover his time from the time he started coordinating with the Obama campaign until the time of the offer to buy him out; that seems more fair, but, here's the thing: why didn't any of the Ivy-Leaguers who work for Obama think of that?

I'd rather have Obama in the Oval Office than Clinton, but that's like saying I'd rather have Caligula over Nero. Anyone who honestly thinks that the front-runing Democrats are any less craven servants to industry and corporations than the front-runing Republicans is fooling themselves.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:17 PM on May 2, 2007


delmoi says: If this guy was getting a lot of traffic on barackobama.com, he'd lose the domain in any dispute for sure. Why should a myspace profile be any different?

Followed by (in the same comment, no less):

A myspace profile isn't like a domain name...

No offense, but it's often difficult to take you seriously.
posted by cribcage at 3:17 PM on May 2, 2007


You're talking about a guy who has a network of 160,000 friends being asked to fuck off?

And therein lies the problem. These 160k people weren't Joe Anthony's friends. They were, and are, Barack's friends. Anthony was trying to sell them to Barack's camp as his own, and the camp rightly called him on it.

As for those lamenting the fact that Anthony wasn't hired as a consultant, or paid for this site (thereby becoming a contractor and formalizing a relationship with Obama's camp), well, perhaps Obama's camp have their reasons for keeping this guy at arm's length.
posted by william_boot at 3:25 PM on May 2, 2007


perhaps Obama's camp have their reasons for keeping this guy at arm's length.

The fact that he lives in Silver Lake?
posted by phaedon at 3:27 PM on May 2, 2007


Clinton wants to assert her morality on me to prevent me from playing GTA.
But now I’ll vote for her because the Obama campaign didn’t play ball with some obsessive volunteer.
...hmmm, yea, solid reasoning to predicate one’s vote upon.


You know, there are more than two choices for the Dem nomination, right?

Having done both contract work and campaign volunteering, I would have to say that although it might have been worth it for the campaign to pay him off if this story does really get legs. However, the campaign owes him nothing in a concrete sense. Myspace's ToS and precedent make it pretty clear that you do not "own" your URL there.

Yes, he did do a ton of work. A campaign volunteer does tons of work without receipt or expectation of any monetary compensation. A contract worker agrees upon the amount of monetary compensation before beginning said work. Either way, it's hard for me to be outraged in this situation.
posted by rollbiz at 3:29 PM on May 2, 2007


Wow. I need some rest...Sorry about the mess that my comment is.
posted by rollbiz at 3:33 PM on May 2, 2007


rollbiz: That's a valid distinction between campaign volunteer versus contract worker, but I'd submit that Obama's campaign muddied the distinction when they approached Anthony and offered to pay him.
posted by cribcage at 3:34 PM on May 2, 2007


And therein lies the problem. These 160k people weren't Joe Anthony's friends. They were, and are, Barack's friends. Anthony was trying to sell them to Barack's camp as his own, and the camp rightly called him on it


Have you ever added someone to your MySpace friends list? Do you know how long it takes? I have a three-month old computer and a blazing fast broadband connection and it takes me 3-5 minutes to approve a friend request. Going with the lower time, that's about 8000 hours of work, just clicking to approve the friend requests, never mind posting notices, blog entries, and maintainting the space.
But if we just go on the hours spent approving friends, it turns out the dude was asking to be paid $5.50 an hour. That's $0.35 an hour more than minimum wage. Meanwhile, what does a TV ad cost? What do those consultants cost? Bet they bill out at much higher than minimum wage. What happened to the $26 million Obama raised? $44,000 is nothing from that perspective.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:36 PM on May 2, 2007


I think we're all forgetting here that his father was a goat herder.
posted by Peter H at 3:49 PM on May 2, 2007


Have you ever added someone to your MySpace friends list? Do you know how long it takes? I have a three-month old computer and a blazing fast broadband connection and it takes me 3-5 minutes to approve a friend request.

Okay now you've just veered off into complete parody of anything remotely sounding like an argument.

1) I'm pretty sure you can click a "select all" button for those daily friend adds, so 10, 50 or one add takes just as long, right?

and 2) claiming this was a burdon - you honestly don't think this guy got a rock hard ego boner from adding people? He probably read "Barack Obama" after, and not before [my myspace page has] this many friends!
posted by Peter H at 3:56 PM on May 2, 2007


perhaps Obama's camp have their reasons for keeping this guy at arm's length.

The fact that he lives in Silver Lake?


Maybe he's affiliated with Dr. Bad Vibes.
posted by homunculus at 3:57 PM on May 2, 2007


So... do they go after http://www.myspace.com/barakobama next?
posted by hangashore at 4:04 PM on May 2, 2007


I wonder if XQUZYPHYR has picked a candidate yet?

I haven't, as if that matters, since the candidate I want to run isn't running, but thanks for pulling a twofer by carrying a petty grudge over from another thread and embodying the quintessential loony-online-left stereotype of assuming anyone who disagrees with you is in the tank for a different person. Didn't we have the thread on being big boys about this, like, yesterday?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:06 PM on May 2, 2007


you honestly don't think this guy got a rock hard ego boner from adding people?

I'm a gonna go register Barack O'boner right now.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:09 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Maybe he's affiliated with Dr. Bad Vibes.

I was thinking more of another silver lake blogo-type trouble-maker guy. Obviously fighting the power with yoga doesn't work too well.
posted by phaedon at 4:12 PM on May 2, 2007


I'm a gonna go register Barack O'boner right now.

Waiting...

taps foot impatiently
posted by voltairemodern at 4:17 PM on May 2, 2007


A five minute schmooze phone call from the candidate himself early on and I imagine they could have had the thing for nothing.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:01 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Obama's campaign has responded. As sentient protozoa on the far moon of Neptune would have guessed, their story isn't exactly the same as Anthony's.
For a time, both the campaign and Joe had mutual access. Soon after, MySpace launched a promotional campaign to direct traffic to the official candidate pages. The campaign allowed MySpace to promote this unofficial profile because, strictly speaking, there was no official presence. And so MySpace began featuring the profile in candidate promotions -- and the friends and workload grew.

We knew Joe had a full-time job already, and, early on, we floated the idea of moving to Chicago to work for us full-time (potential staffers were moving to Chicago and join the team at that time, and there were openings). I totally agree when Chris Bowers says that the New Media/online outreach efforts of campaigns should be a priority -- and we have built an operation here in Chicago and in the early states that reflects that posture.

But Joe seemed to prefer to volunteer part-time from the outside with the campaign to continue building the community. He said he was honored to help out, and we were honored to work with him. We worked through the complications that arose: letting Joe know that he shouldn't work on the site from work, educated him about the rules governing campaign promotion of official Senate material, etc. Joe was right with us, and things continued down the path towards making this unofficial community into an official space run with help from volunteers.

As we progressed, we began to work-up paperwork that would codify this arrangement -- ensuring that the campaign would have full access (what if someone put up an obscene comment during the day while Joe was at work?), and assuming the liability burden (legally, ethically, and politically) for what happened on the site.

At the same time, though, the community had skyrocketed. Nobody expected the grassroots to respond this campaign in such large numbers the way they have, and the rapid growth of the MySpace profile once the MySpace Impact Channel began promoting the various candidates is yet another example of the appeal of Barack. We were well over 100,000 friends, and the burden of administering such a profile became immense.

Unfortunately, at that point, Joe changed the password on the profile, and didn't give us the new one, like he had done in the past. This changed the previous dynamic, and we could no longer access the profile at a moment's notice if need be. We asked Joe what was needed to restore access, and subsequently we received the list of itemized financial requests that have been discussed elsewhere.

This made us uncomfortable. Every day, MySpace was driving tens of thousands of people to the page on the premise that this was more or less our "official" presence -- yet we had no access to the content on the page, and no ability to be responsive to the thousands of messages coming in from supporters seeking information or action from the campaign.

We talked to Joe and made clear that we truly wanted to incorporate the community into the campaign's official presence, but that if these financial demands were a precursor to the campaign having access at all, that we would need to start with an official profile separately and have MySpace promote that instead.

And so it became clear that we needed to have MySpace point people at something we had at least basic access to -- immediately. In MySpace, politicians, musicians, and other public figures have the right to their own name (www.myspace.com/barackobama, www.myspace.com/hillaryclinton, etc.), and so we asked MySpace for use of that URL and to ensure that any promotion of "official" profiles for candidates be directed to the new profile our team created.

The community of the 160,000 still exists, and we've made sure that MySpace will let Joe have access to the community he helped build. And we hope we can continue to work with him to make that as effective as it can be.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:05 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


The community of the 160,000 still exists, and we've made sure that MySpace will let Joe have access to the community he helped build. And we hope we can continue to work with him to make that as effective as it can be.

I would've closed with "But now that we retained that network, who gives a shit?"
posted by phaedon at 5:13 PM on May 2, 2007


How many of those 160,000 myspace friends were going to put some pants on, get out of mom's basement and vote on election day anyway?
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:34 PM on May 2, 2007




1) I'm pretty sure you can click a "select all" button for those daily friend adds, so 10, 50 or one add takes just as long, right?

That only works if you're not filtering the friends, which, maybe Joe was accepting camgirls and spammers as Obama's friends, which, if he was, then he deserves nothing.

Your point 2 assumes you have some inside knowledge of Joe's motives for running the site, which is doubtful.

but thanks for pulling a twofer by carrying a petty grudge over from another thread and embodying the quintessential loony-online-left stereotype of assuming anyone who disagrees with you is in the tank for a different person.

A petty grudge? I didn't think about that other thread til I came here and saw you behaving in the same strange way, putting up flimsy arguments to support Obama, when normally your arguments are stronger and backed up by more evidence.

Like, Obama's staff's statement doesn't really contradict Joe's account; it just leaves out some of the financial offer details, and adds in that Joe changed the password, which, I'd been wondering why he hadn't done that. Of course, Obama's people don't go into why Joe might've done that -- the way they relate it, they just woke up one morning and the password was changed. Not likely. But if you put the two accounts together -- They tell Joe to name a price, Joe names it, they balk, Joe changes the password, then it makes a whole lot of sense. Doesn't make Obama's people look much better though, because, again, they're the professionals; they could've handled it a lot better.

And I haven't picked any of the candidates myself, because I'm not inspired by any of them, so the attempt at a tu quoque falls flat -- I'm not rooting for any of them so the idea that I'd be upset that you were rooting for someone else is silly.

No, it just boils down to that I've been reading your comments for years, and for some reason, when Obama gets criticized on MeFi, you've been jumping to his defense with less-than-impressive arguments. Surprising, and disappointing.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:33 PM on May 2, 2007


I've been reading your comments for years, and for some reason, when Obama gets criticized on MeFi, you've been jumping to his defense with less-than-impressive arguments. Surprising, and disappointing.

I'm sorry the baseless conclusion you've made about me has surprised and disappointed you. Christ, this is going to be a fun 18 months.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:05 PM on May 2, 2007


They tell Joe to name a price, Joe names it, they balk, Joe changes the password

No ... he changed the password, they asked for access again, he asked for money.

Unfortunately, at that point, Joe changed the password on the profile, and didn't give us the new one, like he had done in the past. This changed the previous dynamic, and we could no longer access the profile at a moment's notice if need be. We asked Joe what was needed to restore access, and subsequently we received the list of itemized financial requests that have been discussed elsewhere.
posted by Orb at 7:11 PM on May 2, 2007


A five minute schmooze phone call from the candidate himself early on and I imagine they could have had the thing for nothing.

Turns out he just called him tonight. It seems that Obama was standing by his campaign, admitting it could have gone better, but no direct apology for what happened.

This story may not be in the news cycle for long, and by Monday we'll have moved on to more bullshit from the political arena. But clearly the Obama campaign screwed the pooch in not either getting the profile as soon as the contact was made, or at least offering some sort of compensation. The guy wasn't in it for the money, but was clearly hurt that he was no longer wanted as part of the campaign. The call from Obama tonight was either done to try and clear this up asap or it was a tactic of the campaign to clear Obama of even being aware of this problem.

On the other hand, he didn't have any rights to the name and they didn't have to pay him squat for any of the work he did since there was no contract and he was doing this in his free time.

So in the end, who do we root for, the big money campaign, or the little guy?
posted by Derek at 7:27 PM on May 2, 2007


In the fall of 1970, Rove used a false identity to enter the campaign office of Democrat Alan J. Dixon, who was running for Illinois State Treasurer, and stole 1000 sheets of paper with campaign letterhead. Rove then printed fake campaign rally fliers promising "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing", and distributed them at rock concerts and homeless shelters, with the effect of disrupting Dixon's rally (Dixon eventually won the election). Rove's role would not become publicly known until August 1973. Rove told the Dallas Morning News in 1999, "It was a youthful prank at the age of 19 and I regret it."
posted by phaedon at 7:28 PM on May 2, 2007


First kissing Sharpton's anus, now web manhandling.

He's going down fast.

Hey Obama, Time to GO PLAY HOOP!
posted by HTuttle at 8:13 PM on May 2, 2007


Obama's script for support was leaked as well--fascinating

and myspace apparently isn't allowing users to be openly gay anymore either--what is wrong with them? (or should i not ask, since Murdoch owns it?)
posted by amberglow at 9:20 PM on May 2, 2007


But clearly the Obama campaign screwed the pooch in not either getting the profile as soon as the contact was made, or at least offering some sort of compensation. The guy wasn't in it for the money, but was clearly hurt that he was no longer wanted as part of the campaign. The call from Obama tonight was either done to try and clear this up asap or it was a tactic of the campaign to clear Obama of even being aware of this problem.

I'm starting to believe all the talk of "rookie mistakes". Obama himself should have personally contacted this guy to seriously thank him for all his work and support right from the start--the second they knew of the page's existence.
posted by amberglow at 9:25 PM on May 2, 2007


from the campaign's response: But the ultimate purpose is building a community around the idea that ordinary people can come together and affect change in this country. Barack Obama is the candidate I believe can transform the process and make that change happen.
Unless you're Joe, that is--a motivated volunteer who spent enormous time and energy on something he had believed in, only to see it grabbed by us so that we have full control.
posted by amberglow at 9:34 PM on May 2, 2007


If Obama's making his own bad press and problems, what happens when Hillary's people really get going against him? (they're going to be savage--they have to destroy him before that Superduper Tues)
posted by amberglow at 9:36 PM on May 2, 2007


A more interesting story here is how Jerome Armstrong at MyDD and Markos at Dailykos are trying to play kingmaker with John Edwards; by tearing down HRC and Barack Obama. Rather than gather the complete facts on the story, or contact the Obama campaign for the other side of the story, Kos just posts a quick note that is slightly above a troll. Kos isn't some little anonymous blogger anymore, I'm sure if he called the campaign and asked them anything he'd get ssomeone very senior talking to him at length about the issue. Kos has gone over to the dark side.
posted by humanfont at 9:38 PM on May 2, 2007


Amberglow: Tom has already stated it was a code problem and will be fixed shortly. Though being owned by Fox News Corp now, I wouldn't be surprised to see more "code problems" in the future.
posted by Derek at 10:03 PM on May 2, 2007


Something i don't get about this whole thing--from the campaign's Kos diary, the guy says that the campaign first talked of making the arrangement professional and monetizing it--not the myspace guy himself. Then that they wanted him to move to Chicago and work fulltime, but that the guy didn't want to.

Meanwhile, the guy had provided full access and worked closely with the campaign staff from the moment they asked for it, no? From the point he started working with the campaign, he should have been paid, i think. We're missing some middle pieces of this whole story. It's not extortion if the campaign asked him to name some price or salary or figure or had already mentioned work. I see this as totally about having 100% message control, and about shouldering the volunteer aside to get that control.
posted by amberglow at 10:07 PM on May 2, 2007


thanks, Derek (i put "apparently" there because i hadn't seen an official account)

human, Obama's web guy has his own massive diary there and at myDD (and probably elsewhere, too)--damage control. Kos seems to me to be on the campaign's side against the guy, actually, which is bad for all sorts of other reasons.
posted by amberglow at 10:10 PM on May 2, 2007


And no offense to the MySpace page creator, but while I understand he did a shitload of work too, lots of people do a shitload of work for a campaign for free. Obama has hundreds of volunteers; ... That's why you volunteer for a campaign; because you want it to succeed, not because of the paycheck.

The campaign is the one who first made it about work and money--not the guy. They're the ones who tried to bring him inside officially.
posted by amberglow at 10:15 PM on May 2, 2007


slapshot57 writes "39k for a fucking myspace profile is bullshit regardless of how many people were signed up, plain and simple."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. It's a fraction of what media consultants get for TV media buys. (Media buyers get a percentage of the costs of the TV ads -- this quickly adds up to serious money.)

And to my mind, 160,000 people who have already made the effort to contact a campaign outlet like the MySpace page, who thus have a personal investment in the campaign, and who then get the thrill of a "personalized" response -- being added as a friend -- are worth 10 times that number who just see (and quickly dismiss and forget) a TV ad. And these are people -- unlike ad viewers -- who probably visit the page weekly or daily, coming back for more, feeling personaly involved, etc -- thee are people who are "buying into" the campaign.

Properly leveraged, that's GOLD to a campaign. Properly managed, you do get these people on mailing lists. You get them talking about the candidate, generating buzz. And even if they're younger and poorer, some will eventually end up donating money or time.

It's imbecilic to risk losing that good will by anything that looks heavy-handed, anti-little-guy, what people will call "typical of politicians" and "business as usual".

Campaign should have cut the check, just cut the check, just cut the check. Anything else is just STUPID. Cut the check, and scheduled a thank-you call from the candidate, and worked hard to not leave a bad taste. Obama has 26 MILLION dollars on hand. The asking price was 1/10th of one percent of that, and far less than what consultants who deliver far less get.

DUMB DUMB DUMB.
posted by orthogonality at 10:30 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Er, "DUMB DUMB DUMB" is to the Obama campaign, not to the commenter I was replying to.)
posted by orthogonality at 10:31 PM on May 2, 2007


It's imbecilic to risk losing that good will by anything that looks heavy-handed, anti-little-guy, what people will call "typical of politicians" and "business as usual".

Campaign should have cut the check, just cut the check, just cut the check. Anything else is just STUPID. Cut the check, and scheduled a thank-you call from the candidate, and worked hard to not leave a bad taste.


Totally.
posted by amberglow at 10:37 PM on May 2, 2007


I was going to touch on other things, but humanfront makes a very good point. If Kos wants Edwards to win, to change the site to DailyEdwardsKos, etc., so be it, but it feels something like disingenuous to be, as humanfront says, tearing down HRC and Obama in Drudge-esque fashion while ostensibly running a for-profit site to get Democrats elected--not a site to get Democrats Kos likes elected via things bordering on smears.

Oh, by the way, can you guess which candidate has paid advertising on DailyKos? Uh, that'd be John Edwards. Kos has said straight out that he doesn't want to be blogging in five years and he has a family to feed so it's only cynicism at his level to wonder if he's angling for a job in an Edwards administration or in something Edwards does if not elected.

But anyway, changing the password and wanting to talk money would reasonably make someone concerned about motive and cast things in a questionable light. As people have noted, most of what we've heard has been the views from one side.

In any case, if someone wants to volunteer to do something, great. If it turns into something that consumes too much time and energy and someone wants to suggest that it shift to a paying job, great. If they start talking about pay for the volunteer work done to that point, not great.

As an aside, I do some volunteer work for a site and I can see it getting to a point where I feel like some compensation is in order. My raising that issue would be reasonable. Suggesting I get paid for everything I've done to that point would be unreasonable. Suggesting I get paid for everything I've done to that point after cutting off access to the site would be grossly unreasonable.
posted by ambient2 at 10:38 PM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


ugh--it's hitting the papers-- and by Nedra Pickler of AP (she's very GOP)
posted by amberglow at 11:02 PM on May 2, 2007


i just love how money in politics is doing wonders for our nation's health
posted by pyramid termite at 12:48 AM on May 3, 2007


Campaign should have cut the check, just cut the check, just cut the check. Anything else is just STUPID. Cut the check, and scheduled a thank-you call from the candidate, and worked hard to not leave a bad taste. Obama has 26 MILLION dollars on hand. The asking price was 1/10th of one percent of that, and far less than what consultants who deliver far less get.

Look, as the AP story (you just KNEW they'd get Pickles to go after this one) has indicated, the media doesn't know a lot about MySpace either. The reality is that if Obama simply DID pay the guy off for the profile, then the story on the feed today would be, in shocking tones, about how Obama paid "some kid on the internet" forty thousand dollars for his MySpace profile, and pundits would ask about in the same breath as Edwards' $600 haircut.

The campaign's major fuckup here wasn't refusing to pay the guy to prevent him from bitching, it was not taking over the profile with their own control a year earlier. We learned this in 2000 with website URLS; this will likely be the techno-lesson for 2008 and beyond: if you're going to announce you're running for president, be in control of all your online presences first.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:33 AM on May 3, 2007


If I add him as a friend can I get like $10?
posted by The Straightener at 6:15 AM on May 3, 2007


Latest from the guy's Myspace:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The old profile is back in my control.

Myspace has returned access to the profile to me.

This doesn't make up for what happened, and I'm unsure of how I'll proceed from here with this blank profile of 150,000 people. I hope you'll all help me decide.

At this point, maybe it would be best to delete it and move on.

posted by konolia at 6:29 AM on May 3, 2007


I just made a super cool Metafilter fan site sorta by impersonating Mathowie MATHOWIE OWES ME AT LEAST SEVERAL GIFT CARDS IMHO
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:35 AM on May 3, 2007


I saw that, konolia. I wonder what happened.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:40 AM on May 3, 2007


CBS says that the campaign got the rights to the webpage from MySpace itself.
posted by cass at 7:14 AM on May 3, 2007


This whole thing annoys me for reasons you wouldn't suspect. I could really give a rat's ass about Barack Obama, or Joe Anthony, or John Edwards, or Amanda Marcotte et al, though I do regularly read Pandagon (Marcotte's site), and enjoy it.

What pisses me off is that the candidates -- and their advisers -- don't GET it about so many things, especially when it comes to technology and -- gag, I hate this word -- the "netroots."

If I can't trust a candidate's stance on technological issues, how can I trust them on even more important ones such as my right to control my own body? (I swear to you if anyone makes the "right to control one's own name on MySpace" comparison to that, I will scream so loudly the entire internet will hear me through the tubes).

This wasn't just a PR gaffe. How's his stance on internet radio? On the RIAA? On other technological quality-of-life issues? Tech moves fast and I want my candidate to be able to keep up.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:35 AM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


“...that's like saying I'd rather have Caligula over Nero.”posted by eustacescrubb

Whoa, whoa, hey. Guy negotiated peace with the Parthians and made friends with with Greece. Let’s not badmouth a guy just because he likes a little burnin’ music here, ok?


“You know, there are more than two choices for the Dem nomination, right?”

You know, there are morethan two choices for political parties, right?

I typically vote third party where it’s reasonable (Although David Cobb already sed he doesn’t plan to run, so...). I wouldn’t vote for a LaRouche say. But all things being equal I want as much diversity of opinion in government as possible.
That aside, I like a lot of what Obama has said on policy. I don’t like what Clinton has said on policy. I disagree with Kucinich on some key issues (gun control being one) as well as some of the other candidates. If any candidate did or did not do something like this it wouldn’t make a bit of difference in how I consider their policy decisions.
Moot point for me though because I’m not choosing anyone to be the dem candidate.
I find it silly to base a voting opinion on something like this rather than a candidates policies.
I similarly found it silly to castigate Bill Clinton for his private sexual life.
And the reverse is true - Idi Amin might have been Mr.Wonderful in person and kind to puppies and children and never the sort to allow his campaign to pull something like this on MySpace. Doesn’t mean I’d vote the bastard into office.

And I’m still surprised no one’s picked up on the “King of Comedy” angle here.
(Better to be king for a day than schmuck for a lifetime)
Although not a lot of people have seen that film I s’pose.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:40 AM on May 3, 2007


Myspace has returned access to the profile to me.

This doesn't make up for what happened, and I'm unsure of how I'll proceed from here with this blank profile of 150,000 people. I hope you'll all help me decide.


How about you give it to the guy whose name you commandeered for it?
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:46 AM on May 3, 2007


Oh, I understand that thing about returning control. Joe gets to keep the profile with its 150k friends, he just loses the /barackobama shortcut name thingy! MySpace isn't so mystifying!
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:53 AM on May 3, 2007


I find it silly to base a voting opinion on something like this rather than a candidates policies.

Don't you, Smedleyman, think that a potential president should at least have a little bit of attention paid to the kind of staff he's choosing, even at this stage? And on the same note, the attitude he's taking towards issues that would, on the presidential level, play out on a much larger scale?

Today it's a PR-riffic gaffe over MySpace thanks to incompetent advisors who made a stupid power grab, tomorrow it's letting the RIAA sue 3-year-olds over their music downloads because your advisors tell you all the hip 3-year-olds have iPods and their own internet connections these days. Or choosing a gynecologist who anally raped his wife for years to head up your sex ed stuff, like Bush did with Hager.

It *is* a policy issue when viewed with a wider lens. Someone who hires inept staffers or who doesn't grasp the larger meaning of their actions is worrisome.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:52 AM on May 3, 2007


i'm glad to hear they gave it back, but the damage is done already--it's too late--they mishandled this totally, and it belied all his "not politics as usual" rhetoric.
posted by amberglow at 11:59 AM on May 3, 2007


bitter-girl is absolutely right--it's a policy thing. Will Obama run roughshod over other countries or Congress the way he did with this guy? Are all his advisors/staff this heavyhanded to little guys? Because Obama has very little leadership experience, most of us are only seeing how he operates for the first time--this is not a good sign, esp given Bush.
posted by amberglow at 12:03 PM on May 3, 2007


Don't they understand that this guy can badmouth them to 150,000 people who supported their campaign?

avoiding that is worth 100,000 dollars!!!
posted by Megafly at 12:27 PM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's true, Mega--and i bet many of them were young, first-time voters too. They're worth gold.
posted by amberglow at 12:37 PM on May 3, 2007


interesting, and related: In 1999, fans of Bill Bradley set up a webring for him, linking their sites. A Bush campaign lawyer told the Federal Elections Commission that, if the Bradley campaign communicated with any site in the ring, the work of that ring should be a campaign expense counting against legal caps. (This was not entirely illogical. Bush was badly hurt by a GWbush.org slam site run by Zack Exley, now a campaign consultant.) The Bradley people backed off.

The official staffers worked on it, and they were being paid.

There's a great comment in the techpresident thread about how campaigns have to be either 100% in control or not at all in control at all--it's true. This 1/2 and 1/2 thing is wrong and misleading and can even mislead people.
posted by amberglow at 12:40 PM on May 3, 2007


oop---wrong and misleading and can even make people think something is purely fanbased and out of belief/love/etc when it's actually pro and a campaign "asset".
posted by amberglow at 12:41 PM on May 3, 2007


oo--they're trying to kill Obama already (unrelated to this dustup)--he's now under SS protection, CNN just said on-air.
posted by amberglow at 12:43 PM on May 3, 2007


While I mostly side with Obama's campaign on this, their lack of experience is evident in how they handled it all. They should have foreseen how much of an issue this might be. Avoiding that kind of bad press is worth far more than $40,000.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 12:51 PM on May 3, 2007


Thank you, amberglow. That's the light I've seen this entire debacle in since I first read about it. If this is what he does now, what will he do when the issues are more serious?

But on the "ohmygodit'sonlyMySpace" front, you know what? I'm tired of all the "well, it's not even any good for fundraising because you don't have their real emails and names," blah blah blah-ing. The ability to send a message to all your "friends" in MySpace at once is pretty damn cool, even if only 10% of the 160,000 read the damn thing. Getting younger voters psyched is a good thing, too -- though I've read the average age on MySpace is more like 35.

Megafly's point, too -- it's PR 101, people. Avoiding bad press is just as important as getting good press!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:41 PM on May 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


“Don't you, Smedleyman, think that a potential president should at least have a little bit of attention paid to the kind of staff he's choosing, even at this stage?”

Yep. Generally speaking.

“And on the same note, the attitude he's taking towards issues that would, on the presidential level, play out on a much larger scale?”

You’d think. But having a good idea of his attitude in general, this is an aberration. I have a data set larger than, y’know, some guys blog and this particular story.
Indeed, he’s often been maligned for being too cautious and careful. He plays poker like he’s playing with his rent money. And I like his style, he’s very pragmatic and deliberate if nothing else.
In this case looks like they asked this guy to put a price on his work, he said 39 grand and they said “too high” and he locked the page up.
39 grand is 39 grand.
It doesn’t matter how nice a guy someone is or how much work they’ve done for you. If I’m buying a home and someone wants me to kick in an extra 39 thousand all of a sudden, I’m going to have a real problem with that.
Ok. So they go to myspace for arbitration. And the guy didn’t like what he heard, so he goes out and damages Obama’s rep. Yeah, I’m sure he was all about Obama’s policy on - whatever, not hung up on celebrity.
Yeah, Obama’s rep was trashed - did that just “happen.” Oh, it was the campaign folks or Obama himself that screwed up and “made” this guy go to the press with the story...yeah, that’s how it works in the real world. *derision aimed at him not anyone on mefi*
Meanwhile the guy is elated that Obama called him. But he still isn’t sure he’d vote for him.
What crap. He’s Rupert Pupkin, man.

But however we look at it - even if he’s the greatest guy in the world and the Obama campaign is all wrong - those aren’t things to place too much emphasis on when it comes to voting.

I didn’t vote for Bush because he’d be a guy I’d like to have a beer with (indeed, I didn’t vote for Bush at all).
I similarly wouldn’t not vote for another candidate just because he was a dick to me personally.Obama has criticized - for example - Bush’s (et.al) foreign policy and said improvements in stability and living conditions in poor nations would reduce the appeal of terrorism abroad and bolster security at home.
Well that resonates with me. I think he’s right about that. He thinks the UN augments U.S. power abroad more than it constrains it and I have to agree.
He wants to withdraw the troops from Iraq but wants to beef up U.S. ground forces, something I also agree with for a number of reasons (not only retention, but to prevent fatiguing your entire force if we do find a war that’s absolutely necessary to fight - and with Pakistan being the way it is, that’s a possibility).
Most other candidates have talked about taking the troops out of Iraq, yes, but also scaling back our forces. I think that’s foolish. Less use of the military most definately, but less forces, I think, is a mistake.

I’ve got some issues with his voting on abortion issues, but it’s pretty clear where he stands from lobbying et.al. so that’s not a very large thing with me (he’s pro-choice + got a 100% rating from planned parenthood, so...). I like his position on unions out here, I liked his ethics bill, I liked the clean up act, I liked the climate change bill, I like most of the legislation he’s done.

I don’t know Obama’s position on the Digital Content Protection Act, but as far as I know he supports the COPE Act (the net neutrality bill) (which I think Bobby Rush is pushing).

I don’t think a senator, or anyone in the legislative - or indeed as you’ve alluded to - anyone in the executive branch has any control over “letting” the RIAA sue anyone over anything.

“If this is what he does now, what will he do when the issues are more serious?”

One fluffy news peice doesn’t totally invalidate all the information we have on his voting pattern

Y’know, I like Obama’s policies. If you don’t, great. Vote accordingly.

And maybe I’m all wrong about this particular incident and you’re completely right. In either case, that argument really doesn’t matter.

Because voting for some guy for reasons other than his policies and policy decisions is pretty much why the country is in the shape it is in today.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:06 PM on May 3, 2007


By the way - I heard the EXACT SAME form of argument I’m seeing here from neo-conservatives over the Clinton blowjob crap.
“Well, if he’ll lie to his wife, he could lie to congress”
“It’s all about character”
“If he’ll exploit a young girl, maybe he’ll exploit other countries like in Boznia and Somalia”
And blah blah blah.
Same kind of argument extrapolation.
I’d say I didn’t like Clinton lifting the laws on privacy for bank records and transactions or I didn’t like the administrations handling of Waco or the search and seizure laws and all I’d get back was plo-chop this and plo-chops that.
Unfreaking believable what some folks think reality is.
“Say y’know there’s men dying in the field trying to bring food, water and medical supplies to refugees in the -”
“HE GOT A BLOW JOB! THAT’S WHY WE’RE FIGHTING!!!!”
Yeah, thanks for that keen insight and narrowing down the otherwise complex world of foreign affairs there buddy.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:19 PM on May 3, 2007


but we're not calling for an impeachment or conviction. This guy wants to be president--we're looking and watching, and not liking his actions in this. Obama doesn't have accomplishments anywhere to point to, so these things count more. He's never passed a bill, or anything even, yet.
posted by amberglow at 6:34 PM on May 3, 2007


you'd be in your rights to not vote Clinton for whatever reason you chose, and we're in our rights to not vote Obama over this stuff. Again, please enlighten us as to what we should be looking at--his words alone, or his actions too? What is there to point to with Obama except what he does now?
posted by amberglow at 6:35 PM on May 3, 2007


honestly, Smedley--what should we look at?
posted by amberglow at 6:36 PM on May 3, 2007


this is about his campaign's policies, by the way, and the way they treat people. The way people in power treat others is vitally important.
posted by amberglow at 6:37 PM on May 3, 2007


The way people in power treat others is vitally important.

i think they've been remarkably tolerant towards someone who tried to stick them for 39k for a website he had no real right to have to start with

what kind of person volunteers his time and then asks to be paid for it?

the only mistake the campaign made was to offer to pay him in the first place ... it appealed too much to his greed
posted by pyramid termite at 8:37 PM on May 3, 2007


But on the "ohmygodit'sonlyMySpace" front, you know what? I'm tired of all the "well, it's not even any good for fundraising because you don't have their real emails and names," blah blah blah-ing. The ability to send a message to all your "friends" in MySpace at once is pretty damn cool, even if only 10% of the 160,000 read the damn thing. Getting younger voters psyched is a good thing, too -- though I've read the average age on MySpace is more like 35.

I agree. The non-profit I work for just set up a MySpace profile, and it's been showing to be a startlingly effective way of mobilizing all sorts of volunteers and potential contributors.
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:11 AM on May 4, 2007


What amberglow and bitter-girl said.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:49 AM on May 4, 2007


That's interesting, ShawnStruck -- are you including direct fundraising ability on the profile, like say via PayPal or Chipin or whatever? I wonder, if Obama's people included a donation section on their profile with something really silly/inexpensive in exchange (say, "get this cool "I donated to Obama!" button for your MySpace profile), how many dollars they'd raise and how quickly. It would shut up the "it's only MySpace" people pretty quick if a million bucks came in overnight, yeah?

I know, from the knitting community, that appeals for smaller amounts can have a startling snowball effect. One knitting site raised a quarter of a million dollars for Doctors Without Borders so fast the charity experts were just SHOCKED. All this from "just a knitting site..."
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:54 AM on May 4, 2007


Key points from my POV (if anyone cares):

When they asked what he would need to turn it over to them, he quoted a very substantial compensatory sum, which is totally at odds with the concept of 'volunteering'. When they demurred, he changed the password.

If I were Obama's campaign manager, this would scare the crap out of me: all of a sudden someone who has technical control of the message for at least 160,000 people (and that's only the 'friended' ones) has just shown bad faith and unpredictability.

I would have done exactly what they did.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:14 AM on May 4, 2007


what kind of person volunteers his time and then asks to be paid for it?

He didn't ask. They offered. A couple of times, apparently.

What kind of person turns down an offer of payment for already-completed work from a presidential campaign that just raised $26 million? An idiot, that's what kind.

he quoted a very substantial compensatory sum, which is totally at odds with the concept of 'volunteering'.

You know what else is totally at odds with the concept of volunteering? When the candidate pulls you aside and says, "Hey, you've done a lot of work and I've got a lot of money. I'll give you some."

If you don't mind what Obama did, that's cool. But y'all keep misrepresenting the facts in an attempt to make him look better. It's kinda early in the campaign to be tossing integrity overboard, no?
posted by cribcage at 12:03 PM on May 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


He didn't ask. They offered. A couple of times, apparently.

apparently ... has obama's campaign confirmed this?

If you don't mind what Obama did, that's cool.

you mean "what people who represent obama allegedly did"

But y'all keep misrepresenting the facts

what facts? ... all we have are claims and three questions that can be answered "yes" or "no"

1. did anthony have the legal or moral right to own a myspace page with obama's name?

plainly, no

2. did anthony volunteer his time and energy to promote this page and then state a sum of 39k for his services?

yes

all "obama did" was to claim the right to use HIS name on myspace without having to pay some guy off ... that's not "doing someting to someone", that's self-defense of one's right ...

3. if someone had a myspace page with YOUR real name and photo and other personal info on it, would YOU pay money to get control of it?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:06 PM on May 4, 2007


Obama's campaign did confirm it--it's in Joe's official response. The campaign made it about money first and first brought up him working for pay.

Are you seriously saying that all celeb fan pages should be taken over by the celebs too? ??
posted by amberglow at 1:25 PM on May 5, 2007


if they're registered as celeb'sname.com or my space/celeb'sname, hell, yes

don't you think people have the right to their own names?

if someone had a myspace page with YOUR real name and photo and other personal info on it, would YOU pay money to get control of it?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:41 PM on May 5, 2007


if it's a fan page? i would never take it over. Myspace is all about fan pages--imagine if a musician tried to take over 2000 pages about his group.

nor would i do as Obama did--try to fold it within the official campaign--that was his first mistake. His second, and biggest, was to offer the guy money/salary. Their third mistake was using this unofficial fan page as their official page in myspace. There were more mistakes too...

This is not a url with their name--this is a community fan page within myspace.
posted by amberglow at 3:19 PM on May 5, 2007


He set his page up in 04, way before there even was a Campaign. This is not a cybersquatter or anything even related. This was a fan. ("was" is now the operative word)
posted by amberglow at 3:22 PM on May 5, 2007


This is not a url with their name

myspace.com/barackobama

that's an url, it's got his name in it

this is the very definition of cybersquatting

You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the MySpace Services or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth in this section, and (ii) the posting of your Content on or through the MySpace Services does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person.

there's one tos condition the guy broke with his page right there

also the tos prohibits

displaying an advertisement on your profile, or accepting payment or anything of value from a third person in exchange for your performing any commercial activity on or through the MySpace Services on behalf of that person

the fact is that offering 39k for the myspace website was a direct violation of the tos

the one criticism i could make of the obama campaign is not understanding their legal rights or the tos violations that this guy had committed ... they had every legal right to demand the site and the url immediately, without having to pay any compensation ... which is why myspace quickly gave it to them when they demanded it

the guy was in the wrong, period ... he cannot use another person's name as an url without their permission and myspace's terms of service prohibited him from making any money from the obama campaign

those are the FACTS ... your opinions contradict them and therefore, don't really matter

like anyone's going to even think about it a month from now, anyway ...
posted by pyramid termite at 4:35 PM on May 5, 2007


he didn't violate anyone's rights--fans have first amendment rights too. You can use any free name on myspace--obamasucks would be allowed, for instance. What you're advocating for would be the total elimination of all fan sites and critical sites as well concerning anyone in the public eye.

He set up a fan page in 04. The campaign contacted him. The campaign made an arrangement with him. The campaign made it commercial first by offering him salary/job. The campaign instructed myspace to make this fan page their official link there. The campaign told myspace that this was their official page for that community's purposes.

It's not about the guy but about the campaign's actions.
posted by amberglow at 5:03 PM on May 5, 2007


Myspace had no violation at all of their terms--The guy never took money from anyone. The campaign asked for shared access. The campaign offered money and a job which was turned down.The guy's site and site name did not violate any term nor law. The guy ran that fan page for 2 years without any problems from myspace or the campaign. It was when the campaign got themselves involved that problems started.

You keep ignoring that it was the campaign's action thruout this whole thing that was the violation, not the guy's. He didn't go to them--they came to him. He didn't monetize it--they did. He didn't make it the official Obama page there--they did. ...
posted by amberglow at 5:08 PM on May 5, 2007


The campaign also asked him to make an offer. It wasn't the guy's offer, but in fact his response to their request.
posted by amberglow at 5:09 PM on May 5, 2007


If they were sharing access and both running that page, it's clearly them who violated myspace's tos, not the guy.

If a celeb sends a little note to someone who runs a myspace fanpage, with the hope that their publicity and public image will go up when the fan posts it, does that violate the tos? If a celeb has a new movie coming out? If a celeb is running for president? If they have a new album and send the link for the first video? ...

When and who is violating what?
posted by amberglow at 5:12 PM on May 5, 2007


he didn't violate anyone's rights--fans have first amendment rights too.

1st amendment rights are not absolute ... and DO NOT APPLY on a private company's server

their server, their rules ... the 1st amendment says that "congress shall make no law" ... myspace can make all the laws they want

You can use any free name on myspace--obamasucks would be allowed, for instance.

it says barackobama on his driver's license not obamasucks ... barackobama is the man's name and he has a right to it

why do you deny obama the right to register a myspace under his own legal name? ... what kind of justice is that?

look here, follow some links and educate yourself about this

You keep ignoring that it was the campaign's action thruout this whole thing that was the violation, not the guy's.

impossible ... they were not myspace members at that time

also, it says NOTHING about PAYING someone else to do something ... the violation says "accepting payment" not "paying someone"

If they were sharing access and both running that page, it's clearly them who violated myspace's tos, not the guy.

they weren't registered as a member at that time, only he was, no matter what access he gave them

you're arguing against well established internet law and practice ... and calling it a fan page, invoking non-applicable 1st amendment rights on someone else's private property, and weeping about the fate of the "little guy" is just sentimental rhetoric

it has nothing to do with the actual facts
posted by pyramid termite at 6:58 PM on May 5, 2007


p_t: You're skipping a key point and obscuring the question.

Scenario 1: "Hey, Joe. Thanks for building this great site to support my campaign. But we've noticed that you haven't been updating frequently, and we think your URL might lead people to believe that it's an official site. Would you mind turning it over to us, please?"

Scenario 2: "Hey, Joe. Thanks for building this great site to support my campaign. We'd like to buy it from you. How much do you think is fair?"

That's a big difference.

What should Joe have said? You're pedaling the word "volunteer." Do you think Joe should have refused to accept payment? (From a candidate who just raised $26 million to purchase precisely the type of service that Joe just provided?) Do you think Joe's price was too high — in which case, why, and what price would be fair?
posted by cribcage at 7:23 PM on May 5, 2007


What should Joe have said?

"what do you have in mind?" or "i would like a job" or "nothing"

You're pedaling the word "volunteer."

whether you or him or anyone else wants to admit it, without a signed contract, that's what he was

Do you think Joe should have refused to accept payment?

i think it would have been the most consistent and classiest thing to do ... especially if he thinks obama should be president

(From a candidate who just raised $26 million to purchase precisely the type of service that Joe just provided?)

not everyone who works for him will be paid

Do you think Joe's price was too high — in which case, why, and what price would be fair?

yes ... why? ... because legally, morally, and under myspace's tos, he was not entitled to that site, period ... (and the fact that myspace handed the site over to obama's campaign is proof that myspace felt their rules obligated them to hand it over)

what price would be fair? ... any price they were actually willing to pay

39k wasn't it ...

he was bargaining from a position of weakness ... he'd already done the work, he wasn't entitled to the site and when bargaining didn't go well, he tried shutting them out

the smart thing was to let them name the price ... my guess is that the campaign's inexperienced with the internet and didn't know how strong their hand really was until they consulted with a lawyer, who told them "don't pay the guy, you have a right to a site with obama's name on it"
posted by pyramid termite at 7:45 PM on May 5, 2007


Then they should have just grabbed what you consider their rightful property from the beginning and not played (and played with) the guy like that. What they did was wrong.
posted by amberglow at 11:58 AM on May 6, 2007


Then they should have just grabbed what you consider their rightful property

and what myspace considers their rightful property ... you keep ignorning that

and not played (and played with) the guy like that.

as i've already speculated, they probably didn't realize at first what their rights actually were

but you keep on spinning it into an a scenario where an evil politician is screwing the little guy, because it's what you want to believe and you probably have an ulterior motive for doing so
posted by pyramid termite at 12:29 PM on May 6, 2007


in no way do i say or thing it's evil--it's sleazy and wrong, and politics as usual--something totally in opposition to Obama's own rhetoric every day. It's about control and about how they hurt their own cause by acting this way, and turn off supporters and potential supporters.

evil is lying us into war and turning the executive branch into a branch of the GOP, and letting new orleans die, etc--this is just dumb and sleazy.
posted by amberglow at 3:09 PM on May 6, 2007


“but we're not calling for an impeachment or conviction.”

Ah, the old: ‘Our argument isn’t similar in form - because the particulars are different, spiel.’
Hmm...you probably even think I’m defending Obama on this issue.

“This guy wants to be president--we're looking and watching, and not liking his actions in this.”

Fine by me. I don’t think it’s something to base a vote on though. Most importantly - analogous to policy decisions. That’s my only point. I have an opinon on the other stuff, but it’s only as solid as the facts I’m aware of - and that’s pretty flimsy here. So *shrug*

“He's never passed a bill, or anything even, yet.”

Yeah, those 150-odd bills he sponsored? Practice.
(Of course the over 400 bills he co-sponsored don’t count.)

“we're in our rights to not vote Obama over this stuff.”

Again, fair enough. I think it’s in the same vein of some folks voting for Bush because they’d like to have a beer with him, but hell, you can vote for someone if you like their clothes.

“Again, please enlighten us as to what we should be looking at--his words alone, or his actions too?”

Again - voting record. Legislation he’s passed/been involved with (oh, wait....) Causes he’s put money and time behind. Bush lost my vote (the first time) when I looked at all that he did as governor - he’s clearly pro-death penalty. I oppose that strongly. End of story.
Bush’s cocaine use didn’t do it for me though. Nor would his drunk driving or other behavior. Who a man is professionally is often quite different than who he is personally. Someone might be a swell individual personally. I’ve met more than a few high powered individuals who were very charismatic and easy to talk to that I wouldn’t vote for. In fact Jack Ryan (ex-husband of 7 of 9) was a pretty smooth guy. Nice enough. I don’t really care what he does/did in private. But his positions didn’t jibe with mine.

“this is about his campaign's policies, by the way, and the way they treat people”

Yeah, well, you really haven’t brought up any legislation he’s been party to. Oh, wait...you think he’s done nothing. That’s right. Well, who’s fault is that? Mine? I POSTED HIS VOTING RECORD in this thread.
For you it’s about how someone treats people. For me it’s about his legislative policies. What happens in a campaign is not passed into law. There is no legal policy now on screwing this guy from myspace.
You don’t like what the Obama campaign did, great. Don’t vote for him. I think that’s silly and that you should look at a candidate’s voting record and what they’ve been active in legislatively. But apparently this personal stuff is important to some folks.
Well, then we’re going to keep getting candidates kissing babies in public and pandering to everyone and then putting forward policies through back doors that hose the electorate and the very people that voted for them.
Again - I point to Bush. He doesn’t walk what he talks. That’s obvious from what he did as governor and as president.
But people didn’t look at what issues he supported as Governor - people looked at how ‘folksy’ he was and how he said nice things like “compassionate conservativism” - which meant nothing.
This is the same kind of thing but in reverse. Ok, Obama might be a dick. But this incident has nothing to do with the legislative policy decisions Obama has made. Nothing.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:49 AM on May 7, 2007


Yeah, those 150-odd bills he sponsored? Practice.
(Of course the over 400 bills he co-sponsored don’t count.)


You're obviously not talking about his record in the US Senate. We have fabulous city councilmembers and state senators too--they're not qualified to be president either.

For you it’s about how someone treats people. For me it’s about his legislative policies.
For me it's about both. Obama has no national record, so who he hires and how they treat people carry more weight, obviously.

I POSTED HIS VOTING RECORD in this thread.
No. You haven't, unless you mean his local Illinois record of sponsoring bills.

Even JFK had over a dozen years in the US Senate before running for Pres. Obama isn't even close.
posted by amberglow at 1:18 PM on May 7, 2007


Here's his Senate page

Show me accomplishments. Show me leadership. ...
posted by amberglow at 1:20 PM on May 7, 2007


Obama has no national record, so who he hires and how they treat people carry more weight, obviously.

that's just a rationalization on your part ... it seems that you're looking at this incident in the worst possible light because you want a better reason than "he's not that experienced"

which is strange to me, because "he's not that experienced" is a perfectly legitimate reason to be hesitant about him ... i feel like it's a strike against him, anyway ...
posted by pyramid termite at 12:29 AM on May 8, 2007


No, i already have been thinking he's not experienced enough, and incidents like this make me think he's also not good at working with others, nor is he good at treating supporters well.

Lack of experience is enough of a reason, and this adds to it and reinforces it.

I'm against Hillary, and hesitant about Obama, and happier with Edwards as of now. I'd like not to be so hesitant about Obama, but i don't see reasons not to be--i'm actually looking for them seriously and paying more attention to him and his actions because i see others loving him and don't get why.
posted by amberglow at 12:28 PM on May 8, 2007


No, i already have been thinking he's not experienced enough, and incidents like this make me think he's also not good at working with others, nor is he good at treating supporters well.

i think though that it's a fact in public life that anyone who deals with enough people is going to have some who are going to say that they weren't treated right or have some kind of grievance to air ... so until i see a pattern, i don't think it's significant

it's way too early for all of this ... it feels weird
posted by pyramid termite at 9:21 PM on May 8, 2007


the whole process is accelerated this time, and with early primaries now this year is it.
posted by amberglow at 1:10 PM on May 9, 2007


very related: about Mark Penn, Hillary's main staffer
posted by amberglow at 1:41 PM on May 9, 2007


also related: Harpers: Barack Obama Inc.
posted by amberglow at 12:56 PM on May 10, 2007


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