At the cost of losing 160,000 friends, Democrat Barack Obama's presidential campaign has taken over control of the MySpace page listed under his name on the popular social networking site.
For the past two and a half years, the page has been run by an Obama supporter from Los Angeles named Joe Anthony. At first, that arrangement was fine with the Obama team, which worked with Anthony on the content and even had the password to make changes themselves.
But as the site exploded in popularity in recent months, the campaign became concerned about an outsider having control of the content and responses going out under Obama's name and told Anthony they wanted him to turn it over.
In this new frontier of online campaigning, it's hard to determine the value of 160,000 MySpace friends—about four times what any other official campaign MySpace page has amassed. But the Obama campaign decided they wouldn't pay $39,000, which is what Anthony said he proposed for his extensive work on the site, plus some additional fees up to $10,000.
MySpace reluctantly stepped in to settle the dispute and decided that Obama should have the rights to control http://www.myspace.com/barackobama as of Monday night, while Anthony had the right to take the contact information for all the friends who signed up while he was in control. That includes the right to tell them exactly how he feels about the Obama campaign.
Anthony referred The Associated Press to his MySpace blog, where he has written that he is heartbroken that the Obama campaign was "bullying" him out of the page he built. He said the candidate has lost his vote.
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is trying to rebuild his friends network from scratch and was up to more than 17,000 by midday Wednesday. "We support the MySpace community, and look forward to building our relationship," said campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
The Battle for Obama's Space
Memo to prospective political candidates: Don't let this happen to you. Sign up for accounts on Myspace or Facebook as part of your preparations.