Update: The Schieffer campaign says that this site is temporary and that a new one is being constructed. It still doesn't excuse some of the problems (particularly the lack of disclosure that is required by law) but it is good to hear that a new site is in the works.
Just when Tom Schieffer's hiring of Clay Robison as communications director made me begin to take his campaign more seriously, they went and did something like this.
I have seen student government candidates with more professional websites than the new TomForTexas.com.
For starters, there is no way to contribute and no way to sign up for updates.
The website also violates Texas law because it does not have any disclosure.
From the Texas Ethics Commission website:
4. Political advertising includes communications that appear on an Internet website.
Here is the disclosure Scheiffer's website should have:
A disclosure statement must include the following:
1. the words “political advertising” or a recognizable abbreviation such as “pol. adv.”; and
2. the full name of one of the following: (a) the person who paid for the political advertising; (b) the political committee authorizing the political advertising; or (c) the candidate or specific-purpose committee supporting the candidate, if the political advertising is authorized by the candidate.
The disclosure statement must appear on the face of the political advertising.
The advertising should not be attributed to entities such as “Committee to Elect John Doe” unless a specific-purpose committee named “Committee to Elect John Doe” has filed a campaign treasurer appointment with the Ethics Commission or a local filing authority.
Schieffer's website has no disclosure at all.
In fact, the only place on the site where you can learn what office he is seeking is the text of his announcement speech.
In the year 2009, it is unbelievable for a campaign — any campaign, much less one for Governor of Texas — to launch a website without providing a method for supporters to contribute.
ActBlue has raised over $91 million for hundreds of Democratic candidates.
It is really easy to get your campaign started with ActBlue. I hope someone from the Scheiffer campaign will go and learn more. If you e-mail KT, I'm sure he would be glad to help you, too.
At this early point in the campaign, Schieffer should be trying to collect as many e-mail addresses as possible. But he's not. This is very worrisome.
Luckily, it is easy to fix. There are many easy solutions like Wufoo, Campaigner, Constant Contact, Vertical Response and others that allow you to have a e-mail sign up form on your site that goes directly into your e-mail distribution system.
While some Texans may be thrilled to read 606 words about Schieffer's time as Ambassador to Australia and Japan, it would be nice to some space given to the important issues facing our state.
Scheiffer has been impressive (though brief and vague) when talking about education. Where is the information about his views on education on the website? Its not there.
Barack Obama's campaign listed at least 16 different social networking tools on its website. I was not expecting that many, but other statewide candidates like Bill White have links to their campaign's pages at sites like Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr.
Failing to at least attempt to tap into the potential of social networking tools is nothing short of foolish. It costs next to nothing and there is a huge upside. A statewidecampaign without a presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter is a campaign stuck in the past.
A campaign website should help engage supporters, persuade undecideds, recruit volunteers, raise money and communicate the campaign's message on a daily basis.
As far as I can tell, TomForTexas.com does none of those things.