John Edwards Mobile Campaign

In my opinion as a 12 year practitioner of the art and science of epolitics, one of the great new frontiers is the mobile channel.  I’m reasonable about it’s potential, as I don’t think we’re all going to suddenly migrate from PCs to our phones for web surfing.  Instead the mobile channel is going to be an edge connector.  It’s going to connect us to the network in reduced ways that trade off the mobility of a phone against the lack of portability of a laptop/desktop for a reduced experience.

This is why we don’t care about not being able to read an attachment on our cellphones.  If we needed to really work on a file, we’d get ourselves to a computer.

To this end the Edwards campaign has been innovating "around the edges" with mobile.  They’ve recently sent two text messages to their phone list.  The latest capitalized on the feud between Ann Coulter and the Edwards family:

Elizabeth Edwards took on Ann Coulter on Hardball.  Hear it NOW!  Dial 202-350-9751.  Or hit Reply and txt the word ‘CALL’.  Hit Send & your phone will ring back!

I went ahead and called and recorded the call, you can hear it here.  This rings through to a very traditional phone bank.  This technique of sales through the phone runs against the very trendy technique of trying to actually pay through the phone, either through your cellphone bill or like Paypal Mobile, through a Paypal account tied to your phone.  These services have been plagued by various problems which have hampered their adoption.  The cell carriers take 40% of your funds raised and limit you to a maximum of $10, which has killed that as a marketplace.  The Paypal solution is clunky but good, but has been hampered by a small registered user base.

The Edwards solution is the future on cellphone fundraising because it relies on what cellphones do best: make phone calls.  It’s what I would call an incremental innovation, but will be quickly copied by all the campaigns in the future I am sure. 


  1. Chris H. on July 2, 2007 at 9:42 am

    You were right. This technique, used in conjunction with more traditional outreach, mobilized Edwards’ base. WSJ reports that, within 24 hours of the Elizabeth Edwards-Ann Coulter spat, the campaign raised $450,000 from 2300 donors.