The Value of BlogPAC and ActBlue

Personally, I've experienced the value of both BlogPAC and ActBlue and would like to encourage those that may wonder what's up with the project to check it out and donate.

I used to be the primary editor of the Burnt Orange Report in Texas, one of today's announced recipients of BlogPAC money to pay our hosting for the year. Actions like that help to reduce our overhead costs, allowing us to help fund our direct e-mail campaign (which raised thousands last year for local directed Student GOTV projects). That's a direct benefit and for just a couple hundred dollars that could be directed to other projects for instance, we were able to make the difference in putting one more Democrat into the statehouse and pick up a seat on a Circuit Court of Appeals in Austin.

Funding ActBlue allows for some great things as well. With the tips, direct donations, and recurring donations like those from this page, it not only helps to activate more states for down-ballot contributions (Virgina is on and Mississippi is coming next) but add talented forward thinking folks to the staff. One of those happens to be me and having just graduated, I couldn't be more excited. Also brought on board this month was Nate Thames another recent grad, activist, and blogger from Kansas. Together we're helping to make new projects happen and get way ahead for the 07-08 cycle.

This fundraising project isn't about me or ActBlue or BlogPAC though. It's about you- we just get to work to make things possible to empower any and every Democrat possible.

So Donate to the BlogPAC/ActBlue page and become a recurring contributor. It's a new generation of ideas and activism that you can make possible.

There's more...

Grants For Local Bloggers

I touched on this in my post earlier today, but I wanted to dedicate some time specifically toward looking for more local blogs to support. If you have one, contact me at chris@mydd.com--Chris

There is a total market failure for local news in this country, caused in large part by corporate media consolidation. Local newspapers are laying off staff and relying more heavily than ever on news wires. Most alternative local weeklies have either shut down, or been purchased by larger media conglomerates. "Local" TV stations, such as those owned by Sinclair, have much of their content produced from a single, centralized news studio. Local voices are being shut down, which invariably means that progressive voices are being shut down as well.

Fortunately, local progressive blogging is filling this void in states and cities around the nation. However, even as local bloggers help to revitalize local and progressive media nationwide, and even as they help build local progressive, activist communities, they receive virtually no compensation for doing so. That is where BlogPac's local blogger grants come in. As Laura Packard wrote earlier today:BlogPac will be offering a series of grants to community blogs to help cover those fees (one year of hosting, ie. $180, will be the standard amount).

We are pleased to announce our first round of grants. BlogPac will be supporting: These websites are not only local progressive media outlets--they are also hubs for local progressive activist communities. Also, because they are independent websites not tied to any existing institution, they offer the sort of raw, unfiltered content you can trust. Further, by focusing on politics from a statewide level, they are local, but can still impact the national scene. These are exactly the sort of blogs that will sustain the progressive movement in the months and years to come, and we want to give out grants to at least another 38 of them. Here are our complete eligibility requirements:
  • Must have a lefty political orientation
  • Must have mostly state-based content, not just city or region
  • Must be mostly political content
  • Must allow diaries as well as comments
  • Must be independent - not a part of an existing political group ie. candidate or official campaign, state party, union, caucus, College Dem chapter etc.
If you have, or know of, a local blog in your state that meets the requirements and could use a website hosting grant, contact me at chris@mydd.com. Don't be bashful. I want to start sending out money ASAP.

Turning The Tide For The Progressive Movement

BlogPac has made some big announcements recently. This past weekend, we brought on Mike Stark as our new director of activism. Last week, Lane Hudson was the recipient of our first Citizen's Hero award, and quite a few more of those are to come. Over the past three weeks, we have told you that BlogPac is working on a project to bring community blogging to every state in the country (see here, here and here). Specifically, one of the things that meant was paying for the website hosting costs of 50 local, community blogs, which would help alleviate the burden on some of most our essential, local, progressive activists. Today, I am happy to announce that you have put together the resources to make it happen, and we can announce the first group of bloggers who about to receive your support: That is a pretty impressive list of some of the best local blogs in the country. They all are a vital part of the emerging progressive media landscape, and help to build local activist scenes. Thanks to you, all of them will now find it a little easier to keep operating in the future. You can see the criteria for the blogs we are giving grants to at the BlogPac website, and we are going to keep going until we have funded at least one blog in every state.

Your support is essential, and so is another ingredient: ActBlue, a shining example of new infrastructure for the emerging progressive movement. ActBlue has brought visibility and credibility to the fundraising might of blogs like Daily Kos, MyDD, Swing State Project, Firedoglake, Crooks & Liars, Down with Tyranny, and America Blog, who together raised $2.2 million in 2005-06. Even more importantly for the movement, ActBlue has enabled local bloggers to fundraise for below-the-radar candidates, building buzz and starting the snowball effect candidates like Paul Hackett need to compete. And with their efforts and our support, last year ActBlue expanded down ballot, so we can now bring online support to every Democratic candidate for state legislative and executive office in 22 states, regardless of the candidates' insider backing or technical savvy.

ActBlue and BlogPac are working together to strengthen local blogging, and so we've teamed up in an ambitious infrastructure-building effort. We've created a joint ActBlue-BlogPac fundraising page where you can support both groups. Our goal by February 28: 1,000 supporters who will contribute monthly to each group for the next two years

A sustained movement takes sustained commitment from its members. Join up today by committing to $10/month, $25/month, or $50/month.

I am starting to sense a turning of the tide. Very soon from now, a future awaits where, unlike my lament from last week, progressive movement money no longer flows in only one direction. Progressive movement money will be used not only to win elections, but to make sure that the ideas and people behind the movement are more self-sustaining.

Over time, as per your suggestions, we can use the infrastructure page to add more progressive movement organizations, and build this movement from the ground up. We will also continue to listen to your suggestions on new projects to support, as well as progressive activists who need help and recognition. Because BlogPac can't support any person, idea, or organization without your efforts, we won't engage in any project that does not have your backing. As we promised when we re-launched BlogPac back in June, we will be for the progressive movement, by the progressive movement. We can only change this country if we do it together.

Build progressive infrastructure. Join the movement today.

The End Of Googlebombs?

Over the weekend, I received quite a bit of mail about this:We wanted to give a quick update about "Googlebombs." By improving our analysis of the link structure of the web, Google has begun minimizing the impact of many Googlebombs. Now we will typically return commentary, discussions, and articles about the Googlebombs instead. The actual scale of this change is pretty small (there are under a hundred well-known Googlebombs), but if you'd like to get more details about this topic, read on.

First off, let's back up and give some background. Unless you read all about search engines all day, you might wonder "What is a Googlebomb?" Technically, a "Googlebomb" (sometimes called a "linkbomb" since they're not specific to Google) refers to a prank where people attempt to cause someone else's site to rank for an obscure or meaningless query. Googlebombs very rarely happen for common queries, because the lack of any relevant results for that phrase is part of why a Googlebomb can work. One of the earliest Googlebombs was for the phrase "talentless hack," for example. I do not know how much of this is a response to my past actions in 2006, and / or my current actions srrounding John McCain. It appears that the search engine optimization techniques that I employed in those actions do actually fit the definition of a Googlebomb, so perhpas there is no connection at all. Also, the currnet "Googlebomb" I am employing against John McCain still ranks #9 on searches, so the impact of Google's new formula might be minimal. Then again, considering the amount of R & D Google has, if they are trying to change their formula to stop this specific type of action, eventually they will figure out how to do so.

What is eqaully certain, however, is that there will always be ways to manipulate search engine rankings, even if the days of the googlebomb are numbered. Given that Internet searches for candidate information remain the most common form of political action taken online, it will remain crucially important for campaigns and activists alike to continuously be developing new strategies that will allow them to take advantage of online searches. Rest assured that I will do whatever I can to constantly be developing new techniques in this area myself.

So, long story short, I am going to look into this, and into developing a more comprehensive search optimization strategy before going forward with the next phase of the John McCain googlebomb campaign. This campaign does not end here. If anything, this new development will simply result in a more sophisticated and intelligent strategy. and yes, BlogPac will continue to be essential to these efforts.

Anyway, just thought I needed to make a public statement about this, considering the large maount of queries I was receiving.

Ending the Progressive Starvation Diet

Chris and I write about money in progressive politics quite a bit because money is a statement of our priorities, and priorities and not voting records or rhetoric are the basis of political power.  One of the main reasons, in fact perhaps the reason, that the Progressive Caucus in the House (which is the largest single caucus) has almost no power, and the Blue Dogs have a fair amount, is that the Blue Dogs are funded.  This goes for progressive activists as well - the response to Chris's discussion was remarkable, both here and on Daily Kos. We need to end this starvation diet.  It's very basic - Hillary Clinton's strategy is to cut off money to parts of the party she doesn't like, and that means the progressive wing.

Blogpac is almost at 10K raised for Blogpac's 50 state blog network.  Laura Packard is defining the criteria for the blogs who qualify, and Blogpac is going to pay for their hosting for a year.  The idea is to support community forums in each state, where activists can congregate.  After this network is put together, we'll hopefully be able to find additional ways of serving these local blogs, through training, additional money, or networking with other organizations (like unions that are really keen on figuring out alliances with the netroots).  

Blogpac also channeled $2k and a citizen hero award to Lane Hudson, who pushed the Mark Foley scandal into the news.  We want to keep giving small but critical amounts to progressive heros so they can get back on their feet.  This is going to be an open process, one you will own.  Eventually we're looking to get up to 200 recurring donors of $10 each, so we can give out one prize a month and change the culture of progressive politics away from single-issue nonsense and towards rewarding people who make change.

Chris and I are opening up Blogpac to make it a vehicle for the progressive activist world to take care of those making change.  We're going to try to be as transparent as possible, and push as many decisions to you as possible.  It's also not a one-stop-shop, since Blogpac ought to fit in with what other organizations are doing.  It's not about ownership and control, it's about generating a consistent stream of revenue and institutional security for those making progressive change.  And it's certainly not a total solution - there needs to be a lot more than Blogpac changing the one-way flow of progressive money.

Anyway, Actblue has implemented recurring donations.  If you'd like to make it a priority to increase progressive power on the internet, and if you'd like a place to give money that you know will be used well (and with your input), sign up to give $10/month until November, 2008.  We're going to continue this conversation about money and priorities.  Blogpac will be pushing money to progressive activists that no one else will fund, and it will begin working to support the local blogs that provide a platform for change all over the country.

You can join here, or if you don't have cash right now, you can sign up to get email at the Blogpac site. 

Oh, and there's one more thing.  We're kicking the crap out of the right on the internet right now, but don't underestimate what a well-funded infrastructure combined with a starvation diet for progressives can do to kill our advantage.

There's more...

Diaries

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