SAN FRANCISCO (02/08/2000) - HERE'S LOOKIN' AT YOUR SITE: The most frequent visitor to political Web sites just before the New Hampshire primary wasn't a voter. Or even a person. Busy cruising the campaign sites were computers owned by Keynote Systems, a Silicon Valley company that regards itself as "the J.D.
Power of the Internet."
Some of the campaigns contend that Keynote's decision to target candidate Web sites every 15 minutes from 66 different computers (that's 264 pageviews per hour) constitutes "an abuse." Keynote says it conducted the measurements as a "public service," the same way it tracked Web sites that advertised during the Super Bowl. "They should be making sure their sites work," says Keynote spokesman Dan Berkowitz. "There's no way this is going to slow down their sites."
Larry Purpurp, deputy chief of staff at the Republican National Committee, sneers that some measure of "juvenile delinquency" has come to be expected on the Web. "If they're trying to sell a product, they're going about it the wrong way," he snaps.
So how did everyone do? On the day before the first primary, Bill Bradley's Web site led Al Gore's by a small margin, loading in 4.46 seconds to Gore's 4.78 seconds. But George W. Bush's was the speediest, loading in just 3.36 seconds.
TARGETING THE STALKER MARKET: There's never been a shortage of material for political junkies, and C-Span's Web site now offers a way to overdose. Part of its Campaign 2000 page (www.cspan.org/campaign2000) offers possibly the most comprehensive political calendar ever available.
Need to know exactly when Alan Keyes was slated to be in Nashua, N.H., as opposed to Merrimack? Want McCain in Keene? This service, provided by eCal, a Philadelphia-based Internet calendar provider, is for you. It's customizable, and a given candidate's dates can be transferred to a PC or PalmPilot. Although the company wasn't able to say how many people have cluttered their own calendars with candidate minutiae, an eCal source noted the company's CEO dubbed it "a stalker's dream."
NO CHERRY BLOSSOMS YET: Virginia-based MicroStrategy sees itself as a bridge between the old Washington of politics and the new Washington of technology. To prove this point, it invited virtually everyone on Capitol Hill and along the Dulles technology corridor to FedEx Field (home of the Washington Redskins) for a giant Super Bowl party, complete with cheerleaders, football players and locker-room tours. Alas, an ice storm hit the East Coast on the day of the event. Only half of the 7,500 people who RSVP'd showed up. MicroStrategy founder Michael Saylor told the crowd that with the extra food they could party through the weekend. Instead, the leftovers went to area food banks.
GOP VENTURE PARTNERS? Look for the Republican National Committee to open a Silicon Valley office within the next month, both to raise the party's profile in the land of deep pockets and to learn more about how to use technology to better its chances of winning the White House.