Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Like Many MySpace Pages, McCain's Reveals More Than It Means To

Embracing new technology in political campaigns can be tricky business. Howard Dean pulled it off seamlessly with in the 2004 primary season. John McCain in 2008? Not so much.

John McCain has a MySpace page. Great idea, right? All the politicians are doing it. But McCain is in the spotlight, and it's not because of anything he has done. It's because his web publishing crew sucks.

First, they ignored a basic rule of web etiquette (I refuuuuuuuse to say the "n" word today). Techcrunch explains:

Someone on Presidential hopeful John McCain’s staff is going to be in trouble today. They used a well known template to create his Myspace page. The template was designed by Newsvine Founder and CEO Mike Davidson (original template is here). Davidson gave the template code away to anyone who wanted to use it, but asked that he be given credit when it was used, and told users to host their own image files.

McCain’s staff used his template, but didn’t give Davidson credit. Worse, he says, they use images that are on his server, meaning he has to pay for the bandwidth used from page views on McCain’s site.

The result (image composite by Techcrunch):

The next day it was fixed - but a spelling error was introduced, along with an atrocious design:

The error was gleefully highlighted on Newsvine this morning. If the error is still up, you can see it here.

As Techcrunch points out, the most interesting thing about this sequence of gaffes is not that John McCain doesn't have a clue about the Internet. It's that he does not appear to be making intelligent hiring choices for his campaign.
The first time around this could be laughed off as a simple mistake, although it highlighted McCain’s flip-flopping positions on gay marriage. But now some people are going to question whether the guy can hire competent people to surround him. The original story will hit mainstream press this morning. Lots of people will be going to McCain’s MySpace page. And they’ll see a sloppy site.
Behold the power of incompetent spellers (and mishandlers of apostrophes).

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