Google Targeting Political Campaign: LA Times

Google has formed a political sales team that has held discussions with with political and advocacy group consultants to discuss ways Google can help these groups with their campaigns, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Among the tips the Google group has shares is tips on which videos resonate on YouTube and how to propel websites up the search engine rankings, the paper reported.

YouTube had already shown its effectiveness last summer, after it helped torpedo the reelection campaign of Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who was videotaped using a word perceived as a racial slur to refer to a man of Indian descent who worked for his opponent.

And last week YouTube demonstrated its power again when it set the political world buzzing with a spoof of a famous Apple ad featuring a Barack Obama supporter heaving a sledgehammer into a video image of Hillary Clinton.

Google isn't the only major Web company to reach that conclusion as the Internet continues to evolve as a political platform. News Corp.'s MySpace last week launched a channel featuring pages created by 10 presidential campaigns, the paper said. And Yahoo recently tied all its election content and services together at election.yahoo.com, and is even planning to give its instant-message users the ability to dress their online images in presidential campaign T-shirts, according to the report.

Google appears to be the most aggressive in reaching out to campaigns, suggesting that the Web giant thinks online politics may be approaching the point at which the company can make money from it. However, most of the Internet activity already generated by the slew of 2008 presidential contenders is at little cost.

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