Earlier today the Financial Times published an article about Silicon Valley businesses being used by the 2012 political campaigns:
Four years ago, Dan Siroker sat behind a computer in Chicago at Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign headquarters, developing the first website testing system ever used in a presidential campaign.
He wanted to see if a picture of Mr Obama giving a speech on the front page of the website or one of Obama with his wife and children, would inspire more people to sign up for the campaign’s e-mail list. After testing three photos and three videos, randomly shown to different users who visited the website, the data showed that millions more people signed up after seeing the family portrait compared with anything else.
“We raised tens of millions of dollars, if not hundreds of millions, in donations by just optimising,” Mr Siroker says.
After the election, Mr Siroker, now 28, went to San Francisco to start his own company called Optimizely. The company sells similar A/B testing services to businesses, from Starbucks to the Guardian newspaper. Now his political customers are signing up too – six full time staff from Obama’s campaign are using Optimizely to increase their donors and volunteers.