I’m old enough to remember when there was no such thing as a campaign website. Today, it’s all but mandatory.
The problem is, the cost of building and maintaining campaign websites, with all manner of unnecessary bells and whistles, puts a professionally-designed website out of reach for many local and other down-ballot races – such as school board.
Back in April, I attended a three-day conference on artificial intelligence (AI) and how it can be used in marketing, including websites. Indeed, I watched demonstrations on how AI can be used to create “template” websites that look great and are perfectly acceptable for campaigns.
And it appears that Democrats are all over it. Check out this report from Politico’s “Weekly Score” newsletter on Monday…
Campaign websites give voters some of the first impressions of a campaign. But creating one can be time-consuming and expensive — creating a barrier for smaller, down-ballot operations.
Two alums of Andrew Yang’s 2020 presidentia Hey Victor, a service that uses AI to help down-ballot Democratic campaigns create a website, the details of which were first shared with Score.
“I’d worked with venture capitalists and VCs and big tech companies for years, and so when I got into the political space, I was really surprised on how antiquated some of these tools really were,” Nelson said.
Building a site can cost campaigns thousands of dollars, says Nelson, but they plan on charging far less for their AI-powered sites. The beta version is available starting Monday, with a full launch slated for the “near future.”
Beyond the cost, Nelson said she wanted to ensure that smaller campaigns would be able to maintain and update the site themselves, without having to call a developer. To build a site using the program, the user fills out a series of forms that prompts them to upload their picture, fill in their campaign slogan and biography, and choose which pages they want to include on the site. The platform then automatically uploads the content and creates different versions of a site to choose from within minutes.
There are, of course, plenty of website creators out there. But Nelson said this product was made specifically with political campaigns in mind — including how the sites can be optimized for fundraising and can be integrated with programs like NGP VAN or ActBlue, both of which are critical pieces of infrastructure for running the day-to-day of most Democratic campaigns.
Around 50 sites have been created using the progral campaign think they can solve that. Patricia Nelson and Giovanna Salucci — who were the campaign’s creative and social media director and director of email, respectively — are launchingm so far, including for Democrats running for the Georgia state House, New York state Assembly and New York City Council.
Republicans are behind the curve…again. Let’s get in the game, guys.