News 4 Nerds: Virtual Phone Banks, Electronic Voting Standards and Some Seriously Tweaked Landing Pages

A quick update from the technical side of online politics:

  • Grassroots Enterprises has put out a new virtual phone-banking tool they’re calling PhoneTheVote. Virtual phone banks replace a roomful of volunteer callers with a distributed network of activists calling on their own cell phones or VOIP connections and coordinated online. Other applications like this are already around, often as custom-builds; look for virtual phone banks to become more and more common as the software becomes cheaper and easier to implement.
  • The federal Election Assistance Commission has put out standards for electronic voting equipment and is asking for comments from the public. The topic is a yawner for a lot of people, but considering that we’re talking about the technology behind the most fundamental act of democracy, it’s something to pay attention to. At the very least, you can start thinking about how YOU’D corrupt the system if given the chance. Vote early! Vote often!
  • For every online ad, there is a landing page — or at least, there probably ought to be. Landing pages are where people go when they click a Google ad, follow a link from an email action alert, type in an address from a TV ad, etc., and they might just be more pivotal in the process of converting curious visitors into supporters than most of us think. The folks at Marketing Sherpa have spent years studying how to set up landing pages to maximize the customer/supporter conversion rate; the second edition of their Landing Page Handbook is the result (only, um, $497). Warning: the process of tweaking landing pages may bring out the obsessive and experimental sides of people otherwise quite mild and reasonable of manner.

That’s it for today’s News 4 Nerds; if you require an antidote, try this.


Written by
Colin Delany
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  • Hey Colin,

    Check your Grassroots/PhonetheVote link… it didn’t work for me…

    Anyway, virtual phone banking is definitely a cool idea. I hope that practioners who deploy a system like that will write in about their experience. A system that we built in 2005 was more for managing call loads for volunteers who were actually in an office.


  • Hmmmm, looks as though I can’t type “http” correctly. I should hand in my Web Guy Magic Decoder Ring.