Execs & Accounts for March 17, 2003

Members of Howard Dean’s Internet team launched a consulting firm that will cater to Democratic candidates and progressive political groups.

Called Blue State Digital, the firm will put to work the tools and expertise Dean used to raise upwards of $50 million and mobilize volunteers online on behalf of a new set of candidates and causes.

Founders include Jascha Franklin-Hodgem, the national systems administrator at Dean for America; Clay Johnson, lead programmer and architect of the Dean campaign’s grassroots organizing software, who also helped build ZeroDegrees.com; Joe Rospars, a strategist for Dean’s Internet communications and online fundraising; and data architect Ben Self.

“[Howard Dean] proved that the Internet can not only raise tremendous amounts of money; it can also empower and engage people. We are here to help candidates and organizations harness this power to win elections and create positive change,” said Johnson.

The Michigan International Speedway launched its racing season with an Internet-based instant win game designed by ePrize. The game drives consumers to the speedway’s Web site and collects demographic information that will be used for internal marketing and to recruit sponsors.

Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Prize created the campaign, which will distribute one million Web descrambler game pieces in Southern Michigan, using its proprietary eDecoder and Instant Win technology. ePrize is administering all aspects of the contest, including the data collection. The “Race To Win” contest will run from March 5 through August 1.

Fastclick.com promoted President and CFO Kurt Johnson to CEO. Johnson succeeds Fastclick co-founder Dave Gross, who will transition to president and chief operating officer. Before joining Fastclick, Johnson was CFO at ValueClick and served as an investment banker with Olympic Capital Partners in Seattle.

U.K. ISP Freeserve will use Accipiter’s AdManager product to serve targeted ad campaigns on its Smartgroups.com service for email and Web-based communities. Using AdManager, Freeserve will sell media packages based on user demographic data such as age, gender, and language, in addition to traditional content-based campaigns. The company has also integrated Accipiter’s product with its existing email application to deliver customized ads within newsletters and Smartgroup email announcements.

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