I Knew I Should Have Cashed That Check From the GOP When I Had the Chance …
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama may lose the support of that all-important 13- to 17-year-old demographic at the polls next year if he’s not careful. Obama’s campaign is facing some pointed criticism today, after it reportedly commandeered a volunteer-run Obama MySpace page. Established in November 2004 by Los Angeles paralegal Joe Anthony, the page has grown from an unofficial fan site to a grassroots Internet movement, racking up some 160,000 “friends” at last count.
Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the Obama campaign caught wind of the site and began to feel a little uncomfortable about having an outsider control such a public outlet. It attempted to broker a deal with Anthony, but balked when he asked to be compensated for his continued work on the page. “I was accused of using this profile for commercial purposes,” Anthony explained in a post to his Web log. “I was threatened that I would be responsible if the profile was deleted (they even followed up via email to be sure I knew it was my fault!). The conversation really was about them taking control of the profile. There was no counteroffer, or anything to suggest that they had any intention of paying me anything at all.”
In the end, the Obama campaign approached MySpace directly and demanded the profile, arguing that Anthony was falsely representing himself as Obama and that the senator had the right to the URL containing his name. Its feet to the fire, MySpace conceded. “Finally … the campaign emailed me, indicating that MySpace needed my consent to give them access to the profile,” wrote Anthony. “I replied that MySpace did not have my consent to grant access to the profile to anyone. An hour or so later, I was blocked from the profile and the content was altered to redirect traffic to the new, ‘official’ profile.”
And that, as they say, is that. MySpace has promised to redirect Anthony’s network of 160,000 friends to his next unofficial Obama fan page–assuming he cares to create one.