By now, anyone on the internet has at least been asked to participate in an online petition. WIth the various platforms on offer, anyone can create a petition page and start sharing it on social networks and email. Like anything with a low barrier to entry, it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of accomplishment. We work with our clients to help them think through the less obvious opportunities for any constituent-ask and ensure that long term as well as short-term objectives are being addressed.
Recently, Ginkgo Street was happy to lend a technical hand to the Battle for the Net. Hopefully you saw and participated in this online protest and day of coordinated action on September 10th, 2014.
From the folks who brought attention to the misguided anti-piracy measures of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and related Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) came the Battle for the Net, a mobilization of the public to participate in the FCC’s comment process on so called “internet fast lanes” which would put an end to the open nature of the internet that have made it such a huge economic innovation.
Demand Progress, one of the central organizers of the Battle for the Net approached Ginkgo Street for help with enabling their CRM with the Battle for the Net microsite as well as the primary feature of the site, to automatically forward participants comments to the FCC’s online feedback form.
The end of net neutrality?
The end of net neutrality—the “First Amendment of the Internet”—is a troubling prospect. The basic question at stake: should the internet continue to be accessible to anyone and everyone, or should Big Telecom be allowed to squelch websites by intentionally slowing down data speed? If the internet cable companies win, the internet as we know it, with all its innovation, knowledge sharing and free speech, will be a thing of the past.
A hallmark of Demand Progress and their coalition’s campaigns, is the participation of large and small sites all over the internet. The SOPA protest featured page and banner black-outs to bring attention to the censorial nature of the proposed IP regulations. As people went to common sites like Wikipedia, their routine visit was jarred by a blackout and brought home the message that sites they realy on could simply have the plug pulled on them.
Similarly, the Battle for the Net made their message personal by creating a website widget for participating websites to simulate internet slow downs imposed by ISP’s trying to create “fast lanes” for privileged paying content providers.
What you’ll see on some of your favorite (free) sites if the FCC lets net neutrality die
What makes a good Action Site?
The savvy organizers in the Battle for the Net had some great features to their microsite right from the get go. They had catchy graphics, a simple navigation flow that guided visitors to understand the issue, take action, and follow through with after action sharing with their social network.
1) We set up a form at the top of the page, with a clear ask of the viewer: Send the FCC a message to protect net neutrality.
2) The form collected basic information, and offered an editable form letter to send to the FCC. Each supporter response auto-submitted to the FCC comment page.
3) Supporter data was captured when the form was filled out. That data went back to their CRM for follow-up. Their participation in the action and zipcode were recorded for future reference.
4) Social Shares were prominently, but unobtrusively displayed in a floating block that would stay stationary while scrolling through the site. as well as additional urging after their FCC comment was submitted.
The results of the September 10th day of action were terrific—over two million people took action, leaving comments, making phone calls and emailing their members of Congress. (Check out the infographic) The data captured and stored in their CRM means Battle for the Net can continue to reach and engage defenders of the free internet.
Have you used a similar strategy to set up a campaign page? Let us know what you’ve done that’s been a success. If you missed the September 10th action, it’s not too late to lend your support. You can still visit battleforthenet.com to sign the letter to lawmakers and get updates for how you can stay involved.