Presidential Campaign Advertising on the Internet
The few ads that ran online between January and August 2004 mainly sought $25 and $50 campaign contributions. Although parts of the online world are a public “Wild West” where few standards of taste, civility, and accuracy prevail, political advertising on the internet has adhered to mass media standards of political discourse: a few remarks taken out of context, but no obscenity, graphic violence, or manifest smears and lies.
In sum, while presidential campaigns have stepped up their online fund-raising, voter-profiling, and insider communicating this year, they have not ventured aggressively into online advertising. This is somewhat surprising because online ads can reach new, undecided, and wavering voters in the demographic and geographic niches where they are thought to reside. Online ads would seem to provide a missing link between the campaigns' existing internet efforts and tens of millions of Americans.