How Much Is Newsmax Spending On PPC?

With all the pundits talking about how much money Barack Obama has raised and spent during the general election campaign, all the hubbub about his decision to opt out of public financing, etc. – I have wondered why so little talk about the right-wing money machine. You know, the organizations (including the Republican National Committee) that pumped untold millions into supporting George W. Bush against Al Gore and John Kerry.

Nobody mentions the little fact that if Obama had accepted public financing, he would have been outspent as badly as Kerry, or worse. That’s because although the candidates have equal public money to spend, social conservatives* and other interests behind the right wing will spend like crazy to keep their friends in power. Campaign finance “reforms,” championed by John McCain and others, didn’t reform the system – they just changed the game.

But we all know that. Right?

If you follow the campaign online, you’ve probably seen about 18 gazillion image ads run by “Newsmax.com,” asking questions like “Can Obama Win?” If you click one (I encourage you to do so, for research purposes), there’s a multi-question “poll,” followed by an email opt-in box. If you subscribe, you’ll begin receiving “news” updates via email. The “news” you’ll receive is slanted so far to the right that it makes FOX News look like, well, real news.

These ads have been running throughout the campaign. Any site with election news that carries Adsense or YPN ads is likely to be littered with them.

Is Newsmax’s spending on behalf of the McCain campaign subject to any sort of limits? Of course not – nor should it be – I don’t see how any spending limitation squares with the 1st amendment… but I do wonder how much cash Newsmax and others are pouring into this thing.

Whether you’re a pathetic tool of the vast right wing conspiracy, a pathetic tool of the vast left wing conspiracy, or just an ordinary citizen trying to make the best decision on election day, know this:

John McCain and his supporters are whining about Obama’s decision for one reason only. They’re upset about losing the huge money advantage they’ve had in previous election cycles. They can’t “Swift Boat” their way to victory. I don’t remember any of them complaining about the “unprecedented” money being spent on Bush’s behalf in 2004. The shoe was on the other foot back then.

Democrat or Republican, you can count on politicians to be outraged at the amount of money being spent, when they are at a disadvantage in a given race.

Sorry for the rant.

No, I’m not.

* Are there any fiscal conservatives left in the Republican Party? If so, why? They don’t even try to balance the budget – jeez, the Democrats managed to do that under Clinton. Isn’t it time we had a party of our own?

WordPress WYSIWYG Editor "Nofollow Links" Plug-In

Stompernet member Jim MacKay has come up with a neat little plug-in to allow nofollow on individual links in WordPress posts. In the WYSIWYG editor for posts, it adds a checkbox to the dialog box on the “insert link” button. There are other ways to do this, but Jim’s plug-in looks like a nice time saver for those who frequently link to sites that don’t deserve any link love.

Now that Semiologic is once again stable and great (serious credit to Denis & the new team for an excellent job), I’ll be testing Jim’s plugin a bit. If you try it out, I’d like to hear your comments here as well.

Google Local Listings – How Could They Screw This Up?

Podiatrist Todd Schafer reached out to me for help with a vexing problem today… although he has gone through all the steps, and jumped through all the hoops, to correct the physical address Google displays for his business, Google just can’t seem to get it together.

As you can see in his blog post for customers, Google shows an old address for his practice on search results. For example, if you search for Chino podiatrist, you get the old address displayed on the SERP, and an invitation to view that address on a map. If you click through a couple times to get to the map at maps.google.com, it still shows the wrong address.

Now, Google Maps has a feature (an Edit link with “NEW!” next to it) that’s supposed to let you correct a bad address… Funny thing is, when I clicked on that link, Google instantly showed the new, correct address. So clearly, Google has the correct address stored in a database *somewhere,* but in spite of this they show the old address on SERPs.

Google clearly has at least two separate databases with business addresses, and going through the whole “postcard in the mail, call in, punch in the secret code” trip only fixes one of them.

Are you kidding me? All those computer scientists, and not one of them says “hey guys, shouldn’t we have *one* record for local businesses?”

In researching this for Todd, I found that this and similar issues are affecting thousands of folks. I’m sorry Todd, I can’t help you solve this, because you’ve done the right thing.

Now, Google needs to do the right thing. It’s frickin’ obvious, and people have been fighting this for a long time. Get it right, Google.