Ready for .gop?

If the political campaigns of the future will be waged online, the Republican Party hopes to keep the fight on its turf with .gop domain names.

As soon as next week, the GOP hopes to roll out the first ever partisan top-level domain name. And, if all goes according to plan, candidates and activists will be operating from websites ending in .gop by the midterm elections in November.

“We know that this going to be a major factor in helping Republicans organize online,” said Will Martinez, vice president for sales and marketing with the Republican State Leadership Committee’s effort.

Partly, the movement hopes to counterbalance the vastly superior technology focus that President Obama’s reelection team had in the 2012 election. The Republican Party’s so-called autopsy report after that election repeatedly noted the importance of web strategy and new media outreach for modern politics.

“It’s not by any means a silver bullet or something that closes a tech or data deficiency, but it does take a big step forward in terms of creating a culture where the latest digital trends are part of the conversation in the GOP,” Martinez said.

The autopsy report claimed that “one of the clearest lessons from 2012 is that Republicans must catch up on how we utilize technology in our campaigns” to reach and track potential voters and to maximize outreach efforts.

Democrats haven’t registered for a domain of their own, but they’re dismissing the notion that they’ll be at any disadvantage.

“This would be a solution to a problem if people couldn’t find Republicans’ website,” said Michael Czin, press secretary for the Democratic National Committee. “But I’m pretty sure that’s not a problem.”

“I think the Republicans’ problem is 2012 and coming out of 2012 wasn’t their technology,” he added. “Their message was their greater problem, then they had technological shortcomings.”

For Republicans, the new name is part of a massive branding effort that aims to unify the party online and help micro-target supporters.

“I think the organizing tools are also one of the most exciting benefits,” Martinez said. “You could do things like or really targeted, laser-focused organizing tools that would push people to automated solutions for basically organizing online.” …

Read the full  article at The Hill.

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