Why are people so surprised about JohnKerry.com asking for emails to receive the VP announcement. This is the first Presidential campaign that finally got the power of the Internet when it comes to fundraising and money generation.
Twelve months ago, the Kerry Campaign had an email list of under 180,000 email addresses that could barely get a boost from any announcement - even the launch of the website in early September only generated 7,000 new email addresses.
Today, a petition to fire Rumsfeld acquired 250,000 emails into the campaign's coffiers - and in two days, the campaign generated on the order of $5M into their coffiers. What is not clearly comprehended by much of the people in politics today is that emails are golden - they are the low-cost, high-tech alternative to direct mail. And in this world, the owner of emails that generate the return - gets the gold.
In the dot.com era, we use to talk about the long-term value (LTV) of a customer. In this era, LTV is determined by the news cycle - and email and the ability to respond and communicate to a group of supporters - whether they are strongly tied to you or not - is the power the Kerry Campaign now has. And since the campaign is NOT the DNC and is not governed by all of the strictures that the DNC is governed by, it has been able to push the limits - the bounds - of what could happen. What Kerry has tapped into is similar to the subscriber model - once you give once, it is so much easier to give again - especially if you have only given something like $10, $20 or $50. Now, with McCain-Finegold, democratic politics and the connection that people have to the candidate is even stronger.
Why do I think Kerry will win? Simply, he has generated the most people who have "supported" him throughout the campaign. In this campaign, over a 250,000 people will have donated to the campaign online - and, when the numbers come out, over to 1M emails will have been captured. The question will be - how will the DNC and the campaign use this list of names and performance to get out the vote.