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Left, Right, Whole Internet Agree: GOP.com Not Very Good

Screen shot 2009-10-14 at 12.24.52 AMYesterday, left-wing bloggers, right-wing bloggers, no-wing bloggers, social media junkies, and old media types all banded together for one purpose: to make fun of the GOP’s brand-new website. How did GOP.com, which RNC Chairman Michael Steele touted as a “new platform” for the party, go wrong? Let us count the ways:

  • First off: Michael Steele’s blog. Originally titled “What Up?” (not a typo), his first post began “The Internet has been around a while, now. But, I still find it an amazing platform for innovation, not just in technology, but in life.” Apparently, there is a form of rhetoric called “snark” that many directed at this. In response, the site changed the blog’s name to “Change the Game.”
  • Also in the Michael Steele file: an MS Word paperclip-like animated Michael Steele that invites you to the site. Wonkette, always into this sort of thing, had a field day with this.
  • As Politico’s Ben Smith discovered, the “future leaders” section of the site was blank for most of the day: “This is, a youngish Republican points out to me this morning, a bit of an unfortunate place for an empty page on the Republican National Committee’s nifty new website.”
  • The Washington Post Company’s Plumline turned this one up: the site lists Jackie Robinson, who campaigned for Nixon in 1960 and Rockefeller in 1964, as a prominent black Republican. He was an independent. And called the 1964 GOP convention “one of the most unforgettable and frightening experiences of my life.” Oops. (h/t Gawker)
  • Also, they accidentally posted administrative passwords and instructions on the New York State section of the site. According to the New York Daily News, these included Chairman Steele’s Gmail account login and password.
  • Traffic management problems are common enough the first day a new site launches, though one might hope that a major political party could overcome them. But in light of all of these design flaws, server troubles take on a nasty light: “”You know your web program is in trouble when your site can’t even handle the traffic bump from people making fun of your web program,” Joe Rospars of Blue State Digital told TPMDC.”

So there you have it: if you want a team of journalists from a host of publications to snap into action and make a concerted effort to dig deep into one story, launch a flawed site. Michael Steele’s response to the criticism? “It’s not even really a website.”

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