Two voters and millions of downloads



San Luis Obispo businessman Cliff Branch was under the weather the day after the election and in no mood to claim much credit for what was clearly a landslide, historic presidential election of Barack Obama.

But at least the slightest tone of pride could be heard coming from his sore throat nonetheless.

Branch and his longtime friend and Cal Poly alumnus David Riordan led a unique online effort this campaign season to make videos and campaign paraphernalia available on behalf of Obama.

Branch and Riordan—who came up with the idea on the Fourth of July—led the production of dozens of short, YouTube-style videos that they posted on a website created for the effort,

The videos were designed to go viral and be freely available for re-posting on other web sites, or even to be used as stand-alone commercials. The site also distributed campaign materials.

Branch, a commercial property owner who has developed and sold businesses locally, backed up the effort with print ads in local and national magazines and newspapers.

In 2006 he self-funded the publication of an open letter in USA Today. It asked the question, “How many must die before we change course?”

Branch said there’s no way to know precisely how many times the videos were downloaded because they were posted to many other websites. But he does know they were all over the Web.

“I have no idea what impact we did have,” he said. “I do know that our videos were downloaded by millions of people so hopefully we made some impact. To what extent we did, I have no idea; there’s no way of knowing.”

More important, he said, was simply having a say.

“Whether it made any difference or not is almost irrelevant,” he said. “In a democracy, you get to state your opinion, and we did. A lot of people picked these videos up, and that was really gratifying.”

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