July 7, 2008

Udall Plasters Internet With Ads

By Lynn Bartels

Go to Fandango.com to buy a movie ticket and there he is, Democratic Senate candidate Mark Udall.

Same with YouTube and other Web sites.

Udall's campaign has turned to the Internet for an advertising blitz that puts the candidate's face on more than 250 Web sites. Browsers who click on Udall's ads are sent to his campaign Web site, which recently received rave reviews from a blog that grades such sites.

"We hear people say they see Mark's ad in lots of places," said Taylor West, Udall's campaign spokesperson.

"It's a way to reach out to people in places where they get their information."

The ads are another example of how the Internet is changing political campaigns. The vast majority of contact to voters still will be through TV ads, but campaigns are buying more ads on the Internet than they once did.

Udall's opponent, Republican Bob Schaffer, intends to post ads on the Internet also, although campaign manager Dick Wadhams declined to say when.

"Ads on the Internet are not cheap, by the way," he said.

West said she did not know the cost of Udall's buy.

Udall's ads have been running since June 6. They appear on about 250 Web sites that are part of the Google Web network. In addition, West said, ads have been running on Colorado Web sites, including media outlets.

She said the campaign gets reports showing which sites people were visiting.

"There's a lot of innovative stuff going on out there, and we're trying to take advantage of it and reach out and touch as many people as possible," West said.

Udall and Schaffer are vying for the seat held by Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Loveland, who will retire at the end of the year.

Udall, from Eldorado Springs, has served in Congress for 10 years, representing the 2nd District. Schaffer, from Fort Collins, served three terms in Congress representing the 4th District, before he stepped down in 2002 to honor his term-limits pledge.


Rating the sites

The blog Political Realm grades campaign Web sites. Here's what it had to say about efforts by Colorado's two U.S. Senate candidates, Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Bob Schaffer:

* markudall.com

Grade: A

"The Udall site is one of the more impressive we've come across, and it should be an asset to the campaign moving forward."

* bobschaffer forsenate.com

Grade: C

"The Schaffer site is decidedly average, with a bland look and dated feel that can't compete with its Democratic counterpart."

Originally published by Lynn Bartels, Rocky Mountain News.

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