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Political Party Election Sites: Strategic Assets or Virtual Lawn Signs? Canadian Politics has a ways to go!


"Canadian political web sites are more like lawn signs than campaign assets.  Canadian political parties and candidates have an awful lot to do in the future if they hope to use technology to electoral advantage and catch up to the Americans in the process." says Hillwatch e-services Principal Alex Langshur.

Over the past 4 weeks, Hillwatch did an exhaustive comparative benchmarking of the five main political party sites in Canada, as well as the George Bush and John Kerry sites. The conclusions are clear:

  • Canadian political websites lag U.S. sites on most critical best practice indicators.
  • US sites are more than twice as content-rich as Canadian sites.
  • Canadian party sites reflect a top-down command and control campaign model that gives little scope to organize the grassroots and target core communities.
  • Canadian sites resemble electronic lawn signs – they inform but don’t engage. 
  • They rarely take the next step of providing multiple, clear and quick ‘calls to action’ that turn visitors into supporters.
  • Canadian sites have yet to crack the online fundraising nutAligning of issues and content areas with interest groups is commonplace in the US, almost non-existent in Canada.
  • Aligning of issues and content areas with interest groups is commonplace in the US, almost non-existent in Canada.

"It is ironic Canadian political parties talk about the importance of grassroots and yet don't give their organizers modern tools to organize and engage supporters. In the midst of a tightly contested federal elections, our political parties are overlooking opportunities to make themselves more competitive”, stated Mr. Langshur.

Despite Canada's poor showing, Hillwatch’s Mr. Langshur is optimistic significant progress will be made in the months and years ahead.

"Canadians are highly wired and increasingly go online for government and political information. Young people get it. The youth of today are the voters of tomorrow and the youth are enormous consumers of campaign-driven political action. It is inevitable that political parties will embrace these changes or risk continued erosion in support at the polls."

The Hillwatch E-Impact Benchmark  is part of the Hillwatch Web Performance Framework , a proprietary data-driven methodology that assesses the performance of web sites in relation to organizational goals and objectives. The Hillwatch Benchmark evaluates websites against global best practices, issue peers or competitors; Hillwatch Visitor Pattern Analytics tracks stakeholder engagement with the website and maps this engagement to goals and objectives.

Full report available at www.hillwatch.com or http://www.hillwatch.com/Publications/Research/Virtuallawnsigns.aspx


Contact: Alex Langshur, Hillwatch Inc., (781) 874-0250 or Scott Proudfoot,(613) 238-8700 x 1001, e-mail: admin@hillwatch.com


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