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Hillwatch E-services Announces Upcoming Benchmark of Canadian Political Party Election Web Sites

During the last Canadian Federal Election, Hillwatch E-Services benchmarked all the Canadian party election sites, comparing them to the Republican and Democratic Election sites.


Our findings are detailed in our study Political Web Sites: Strategic Assets or Virtual Lawn Signs?

We found that Canadian Party Web Sites were more like lawn signs than campaign assets and well behind the curve relative to their US counterparts. They failed to reach out and engage supporters and voters with the same impact and effectiveness.


Specifically we found that:

  • Canadian political websites lagged U.S. sites on most critical best practice indicators.
  • US sites were more than twice as content rich as Canadian sites.
  • Canadian party sites reflected a top-down command and control campaign model that offered no opportunity for true grassroots, volunteer to volunteer initiatives among key target communities.
  • Canadian sites resembled electronic lawn signs – they informed but didn’t engage.  They rarely reached out to create avenues for visitors and issue-based voters to become energized and more involved.
  • Canadian sites had yet to crack the online fundraising nut. 

During the current election we will again be benchmarking the Canadian political party sites. We have already noted some interesting changes and improvements since the last election and the results promise to be interesting.


In addition to measuring how Canadian parties’ sites have changed since the last election, we will include the results from our benchmarking of political party web sites from the UK election of this past spring.


Party web sites during UK election were quite sophisticated and demonstrated marked differences from Republican and Democrat web sites benchmarked during the 2004 US election.   We believe these differences largely reflect the different nature of the campaign process: strategies that work well in the extended US electoral process simply are not feasible in the short campaigns typical of a parliamentary system.  A more appropriate comparative analysis may therefore result from benchmarks of the UK Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties to the Canadian context, and provide a better yardstick for evaluating the online progress and acumen of Canadian political parties.


We will be performing an exhaustive benchmarking the Canadian sites over the next three weeks and releasing our results in early January.


For those who have questions about our earlier or current study or you would like to receive a copy of our upcoming study, please contact: Alex Langshur, Principal, E-Services, Hillwatch Inc., (781) 874-0250. e-mail: alangshur@hillwatch.com

Hillwatch Inc., 45 O’Connor St. Suite 1150, Ottawa ON K1P 1A4 tel: (613) 238-8700 fax: (866) 310-4955