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Winning on the Web

So what should a presidential candidate web site look like?

All the candidates, from the front-runners to the long shots, are still figuring that out. Fred Thompson's site has already gone through a makeover -- and that's before even officially launching his candidacy. Sen. Barack Obama keeps making additions to his site. Ditto Mitt Romney. And after taking down his site during Labor Day weekend, Rudy Giuliani's revamped site made its debut earlier this morning. A campaign site is like a candidate's online headquarters: his or her face on the Internet. And, in general, campaigns are leaving much to be desired. "The sites as a whole remind me of American suburb: They are trendy, cookie-cutter designs," said K. Daniel Glover, who edits National Journal's Technology Daily. Added Jonah Seiger, who heads the Washington-based online strategy firm Connections Media, "They all look kind of boring to me."

The usual bells-and-whistles are on "Rudy's Story," which serves as his biography section complete with a video; an "On the Issues" section, highlighting his positions on various topics; a "Get Involved" section, which ask supporters to volunteer, call talk radio, buy campaign gear, etc.; a "Contribute" section, which ask supporters to donate to his campaign; a "Stay Connected" section, which features his presence on social networking sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Eons, Flickr, etc. Ted Jarrett, the campaign's online director, is particularly excited about "Running with Rudy," where Dan Meyers, a young staffer, serves as host to Giuliani's presence on social networking sites and acts a "behind-the-scenes" tour guide to the campaign.

Overall, the revamped site is not exactly a radical reinvention, online strategists say, but it's definitely an improvement. That's already saying a lot. When Joshua Levy, who writes for, first saw Hizzoner's original site, he said,"I literally thought it was broken."

-- Jose Antonio Vargas

By Washington Post editors  |  September 4, 2007; 5:26 PM ET
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