The Candidates’ Webbiness, Quantified

Barack Obama has a huge lead over Hillary Rodham Clinton, and John Edwards appears to be drifting in the direction of Dennis Kucinich. Over on the GOP side, Ron Paul is way out in front of Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani is fighting for turf in the middle of the pack.

This horserace is not about voter preference, of course. It’s about the battle for Internet marketshare. The tally comes from a Lansing, Mich.-based Internet consulting firm called Spartan Internet, which has developed the Spartan Internet Political Performance (SIPP) Index.

My guess is if you’re a geek of either the political or web persuasion, you’ll spend quite a bit of time with the SIPP Index. If you’re unlucky enough to be a political and web geek, you may want to pack a toothbrush.

The company describes the SIPP as the “first quantitative metric to measure the Internet-wide performance of each Presidential candidate for the 2008 election.” The index comprises 650-some factors, many of them related to social networks, that measure levels of public connection via the Internet.

The score takes into account such factors as number of FaceBook wallposts, MySpace firends, candidate rankings on search engine results for issues, YouTube channel subscriptions, and Technorati blog posts, along with more conventional measures such as mentions on CNN and Yahoo news. The total score represents what Spartan calls “overall Internet market share.”

Now I am no quant geek, and the specific formula is proprietary. So I’m in no position to validate the results. But in a web sector where armies of political supporters are trying to game the system of social networking to create the appearance of popularity, it strikes me that SIPP could be a way of gathering enough different kinds of data to provide a spin reality check.

[I surveyed the candidates’ use of web 2.0 technologies in “Hillary Needs a Widget.”]

[And I discovered some oddly off-message stuff happening in Ann Romney’s blog. But I digress.]

View scores by individual candidate, and you create some curious Internet horseraces. Ron Paul edges Hillary by a hair. Mike Huckabee nearly caught Rudy G in the digital derby around the week of 9/11, but now the New Yorker has pulled comforably ahead of the Arkansan. The largest gap in Internet performance is between the two African American candidates, Barack Obama (SIPP 21.24) vs. Alan Keys (0.82).

Of course, all you have to do to remind yourself that Internet popularity does not translate into votes is click your heels together twice and say “Howard Dean.” Which may be a good thing. The prospect of a November ’08 face off between Barack Obama and Ron Paul is enough to make you swear off social networks for good.

Explore posts in the same categories: Hillary Clinton, media, metrics, Mitt Romney, politics, social networks, Web 2.0

3 Comments on “The Candidates’ Webbiness, Quantified”


  1. […] Obama and Ron Paul is enough to make you swear off social networks for good…. source: The Candidates Webbiness, Quantified, Web 2.Oh. . […]

  2. Doug Says:

    Is this information current? I was just curious at what you guys think of the changes on the SIPP index scores as Huckabee sureges and Paul gains tremendous popularity. Here is the link if anyone is interested: http://spartaninternet.com/2008

  3. Craig Stoltz Says:

    Hi Doug,
    I hadn’t checked back on the SIPP in a while, so I went and looked at it. Three thoughts:

    The SIPP is a complex metric of web activities–more complex, by all evidence, than most other techniques others are using to quantify webbiness. I’m assuming that its different results are due to the fact that it captures and weighs different factors.

    Having said all that: The SIPP does indeed capture Paul’s continuing rise (the blimp bounce?) and Huck’s more modest one.

    The big, interesting question: When primary returns start to come in, will such measures of web activity bear any relation to votes?

    For more on this, visit one of my favorite ’08 sites–TechPresident, which reports on all sorts of digital mischief across all candidates (www.techpresident.com).


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