Election advertising has been a key revenue driver for TV and radio stations, and newspapers, but hasn’t really moved over to the Web. Mostly, the Web is used by campaigns for organizing and fund-raising. But OhioElects, a site launched by The Columbus Dispatch’s parent company for the 2006 election, aims to change that.
Powered by Gannett’s Planet Discover, OhioElects performs targeted searches of state, local and national political Web sites as part of its broader political coverage. Hundreds of sites have been crawled and indexed in the site’s first go-round. The site itself hopes to serve as a portal for all types of contextual political advertising.
To date, it isn’t clear how well the site did although it did secure a sponsorship from The Annenberg Foundation. For the 2008 presidential election, however, it is contemplating selling political ads on a Google-like bid model, which would allow candidates and parties to bid for ad positioning and placement when search results yield targets like their own names, their opponents’ names, certain institutions, targeted cities or relevant keywords such as “smoking ordinance.”