Obama and Huckabee are Winning the All-Important CafePress Primary

Cross-posted on techPresident

John Hlinko with Grassroots Enterprises sent over this excellent find today: besides dominating Google and YouTube since the Iowa caucuses, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are now winning the all-important CafePress primary.

As noted in these pages a couple of weeks ago, CafePress, an online retailer that sells consumer-created t-shirts and other items, has has been pushing itself as a political promotion tool this season. They’ve also launched an Election Meter that displays sales by candidate, and it shows that sales for shirts for Huckabee and Obama have shot up dramatically in the last week. John notes in Daily Kos that t-shirt sales for the candidates may be an effective leading indicator for their popularity, since as supporters are getting excited, they may want to show it to the world. Conversely, as supporters waver, they may be less likely to take concrete actions on behalf of the candidate, in this case spending money for gear. Other interesting finds from the Election Meter: Ron Paul’s still relatively high but dropping, and Romney, Thompson and Rudy are waaaaay down in Biden-Richardson-Kucinich territory.

Genius! Let the CafePress primary take its place along the other metrics that online politics geeks use as a crystal ball.


Written by
Colin Delany
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  • I had received an e-mail from Kevin O’Neil at Grassroots.com in mid-December with the following message:

    “I do work for a big online marketplace called CafePress.com where anyone can set up an online store and create and sell t-shirts and other products.

    CafePress is not politics focused, but as it turns out, millions of people are using it to advocate for (or beat up on) candidates, and doing so entirely outside the traditional campaigns.

    I’m writing because you and your readers may be interested in knowing that Barack Obama-related products are now selling at a higher pace than ever before.

    Thus far in December, sales of Obama-related products have tripled compared to the same period in November. Sales of Hillary-related products increased in the same timeframe, but only twice as much.

    This isn’t scientific, but it’s curiously consistent with what polls are saying, and supports and adds color to the notion that Obama is gaining ground. The numbers could indicate an “Oprah effect,” though we have no way of knowing.

    Or they could just be anecdotally validating what the polls are saying. But most importantly, it’s an interesting new avenue of political expression.”

  • Kevin’s been doin’ some pimpin’!

    John acknowledges in his DKos post that Grassroots has done work for CafePress. Sounds like you got hit by a little blogger outreach — note that Kevin was clear about whom he was working for, so he wasn’t crossing any ethical lines. Still, pimpin’ iz pimpin’. Can’t hold it against a man, seein’ as I’ve done it more than once myself (you think a site like this one builds an audience on its own?).

    Note that this incident illustrates a constant danger involved in blogger outreach — anything you write to someone may well end up quoted verbatim and for an audience. Better watch your grammar, and your manners too.