If only presidential campaigning were as easy as setting up loyalty points programs.
Nat Goldhaber, former chairman/CEO at Cybergold.com, this week wrapped up a losing bid to become vice president of the United States, running under the Natural Law Party/Independent Party coalition.
From a marketing perspective, the “weirdest thing [about campaigning] was that this was the first time that I was the product,” Goldhaber said.
Goldhaber had been the driving force behind Cybergold, which was arguably the first online rewards currency. It served as the predecessor for companies such as MyPoints.com, which eventually acquired Cybergold through a tax-free, stock-for-stock, fixed-share transaction in August.
Goldhaber and presidential running mate John Hagelin were on the ballot in 40 states and amassed an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 votes.
Goldhaber said his days as a Silicon Valley CEO came in handy, since “running a campaign, especially for a third party, is very similar to running a start-up company. There was a constant shortage of capital. We were always underfunded for reaching the objectives we wanted to achieve.”
This was not to say that Goldhaber did not get help. David Lynch, creator of Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, volunteered to create a 28-minute clip about the candidates that can be viewed at Hagelin.org.
“He's a huge supporter of John Hagelin,” Goldhaber said of Lynch. “He likes what John has to say and believes John has a different approach to the world of politics than any other politician.”
Goldhaber explained the principles of the Natural Law Party: “We believe the nature of the Republican and Democratic parties has been typically to carry the banner of special interest groups and not to adhere to the needs of their constituencies. That's a highly backward way to run a railroad. Politicians need to be deeply responsive to their constituencies and not to anyone else.”
The party's platform revolved around campaign finance reform, among other issues.
When asked if voters could receive Cybergold for voting for the Natural Law Party, Goldhaber said, “It's not impossible to give Cybergold to people who vote. Why not? Sounds like a good idea. Rewarding them for voting could be a good thing. It used to be a grand old tradition in the West that you were able to get your free drink at the bar if you voted.”