In what could be the first major stumble in Barack Obama’s path to the White House, a fan MySpace profile set up in his name has been taken from the man who created it without compensation.
Joe Anthony, a Silverlake man, set up an Obama MySpace page in November of 2004 after being impressed with the Chicago Senator’s keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. As the site gained popularity, the campaign team for Obama asked to become involved in the page, and Anthony agreed, even giving them the password to access the page to make changes as needed.
In March, the number of “friends” on the profile boomed from 100,000 to 140,000, and the maintainence of the page turned into a full time effort for Anthony, and as a result he asked for some sort of compensation, suggesting $49,000.
According to Anthony, there was no counter offer. And over the past few days MySpace cut off his access to the Obama page, turning it over to Obama’s campaign staff who plan to shut it down, and are trying to get people to sign up for a new “official” Barack Obama page. On Joe Anthony’s personal MySpace page are a number of blog postings reflecting his side of the story.
This is a shame on a two fronts: Mainly, the original Barack Obama page lists 159, 528 friends – higher than any other presidential candidate with a MySpace presence, while the new “official” page currently only has 19,107 friends. Getting everyone to learn about the new page is going to be a challenge – effectively starting from scratch. I’m a friend of the original page, and the only reason I heard there was a new page is because I read about this situation on Breitbart.com in a story headlined “Obama Takes Over MySpace Page”.
Which brings up the second reason: Most people who hear about the new page will hear the story of how the Obama campaign effectively ripped off one of it’s biggest supporters. In many people’s view, the Obama campaign could have created their own official profile, but instead they took advantage of a fan’s work.