DontBlowIt Aims E-Barrage at Clinton

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Online anti-apocalypse advocacy moves forward with the launch of Technology Project's www.DontBlowIt.org, a nuclear disarmament campaign which hopes to bombard the Clinton administration with 200,000 e-postcards over the next year.


DontBlowIt launched last week to coincide with President Bill Clinton's meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin to discuss arms control agreements.


The presidents were unable this week to find common ground on a national missile defense system the United States would like to build. Officials said Russia believes the project would undermine the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 and unleash a new arms race.


"Later on this summer, Clinton will decide whether or not a missile defense program will be deployed," and DontBlowIt will be working to make sure he hears from advocates before making his decision, said Laura Kriv, director at Technology Project.


The organization will use a variety of Internet marketing techniques to spread its message, including urging advocates to send e-postcards to the president in support of arms reduction and against a $60 billion, Star Wars-like defense system, Kriv said.


DontBlowIt will work with the Juno Advocacy Network to deliver full-screen pop-up banner ads to Juno subscribers, Kriv said.


Juno Online Services Inc., New York, offers the Juno Advocacy Network to facilitate online advertising campaigns for advocacy groups and trade associations. It serves ads based on profile surveys that members must complete before signing up for Juno's basic service, said Roger Stone, director at the Juno network.


Juno keeps individual members' profile information confidential, but delivers pop-up ads to subscribers whose demographics match what advertisers are seeking. Subscribers then choose whether or not they wish to participate.


Using estimates from another of Technology Project's Internet postcard campaigns, www.ourforest.org, Kriv said the DontBlowIt banner ads could reach 1.5 million Juno users.


Pop-ups normally get a mixed response from viewers, Kriv admitted, but 11.5 percent of those who saw the pop-ups for Technology Project's heritage forest preservation campaign responded and sent an e-postcard to Vice President Al Gore.


Kriv estimated 170,000 out of the 250,000 e-postcards sent to Gore about heritage forest preservation were in response to the pop-up banners.


Stone believes simplicity is the key to this high response rate.


"All the hurdles are eliminated. You don't have to look up your member of Congress; with one click of a button you can voice your opinion and get involved with the issues that affect you," he said.


DontBlowIt will also use advocate databases compiled by Back from the Brink, Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers, Council for a Livable World, Fourth Freedom Forum, Peace Action and Physicians for Social Responsibility.


Back from the Brink has a database of 13,000 advocates. Kriv did not know the total number of e-mail addresses in each of the other databases because they have not yet been cross-referenced. The Web sites for these organizations will feature DontBlowIt's banner. DontBlowIt hopes to expand the number of advocacy groups it works with to 15 in the next two years.


With the help of viral marketing, Kriv believed the e-mails DontBlowIt sends out to addresses in its databases could reach 200,000 people within the next few months, "but this doesn't necessarily mean they'll all respond," she said.
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