TechPresident features a few posts from Micah Sifry on the recent Obama MySpace snafu. The short of it is this: volunteer makes a Barak Obama MySpace profile in 2004. Over time that profile grows to 160k friends. The volunteer gives freely of his time doing it (by his account 5 to 10 hours a day since the beginning of the year). The Obama campaign decides they want control, ask the volunteer how much he’d like to be compensated. He quotes a number around $50k, they say no way and go to MySpace to reclaim the myspace.com/barakobama url and loose the 160k friends and alot of good will in the process.
The whole affair raises some interesting questions, perhaps most importantly, who over at the Obama campaign decided that 160k self identified and actively networked supporters weren’t worth $50k? And how will this episode affect Obama’s support on MySpace over time? Will his paid online organizing staff be able to rebuild the 160k friend network?
It will be interesting to see how this shakes out in the next few weeks. In my eyes the reluctance to compensate the volunteer for the network, or the decision to not just outright hire him and bring him into the fold seems to be a tremendous mistake and perhaps signal the political consulting establishment’s skepticism or contempt for online volunteer organizing.