Back in 2009, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign received some unfavorable attention for its unorthodox Internet strategy thanks to Ravi Singh.
The CEO of Election Mall had sold the campaign technology related to its promotional efforts with search engines. A reporter with the Austin-American Statesman found 2,200 hidden phrases on a Hutchison campaign site including "rick perry gay." That led to accusations that Hutchison's campaign was trying to artificially boost its rankings with search engines as well as trying to spread rumors about Perry.
Hutchison's campaign eventually fired Election Mall but Singh has continued to find work around the world. He found himself in the spotlight again this weekend, after Politico.com published a story looking at whether Singh's has been falsely claiming that he was key to Barack Obama's Internet strategy.
He has been called the man “responsible for the Internet campaign of Barack Obama,” in Poland, the “election guru” of Obama and Clinton” in India, “el guru tecnologico de Obama” in Colombia, and “homme qui a géré la campagne d’Obama sur Internet” in France.
There’s just one major thing wrong with this international portrait of Web wizardry — Singh never worked for Obama.
...Yet his appearances in a half-dozen countries have been accompanied by remarkably similar publicity campaigns announcing the arrival of “Obama’s guru,” even if Singh himself is not quoted directly in local media accounts claiming the role.
...After POLITICO began asking international reporters and politicians about Singh’s claims, Singh emailed to apologize for the confusion. He also removed the YouTube video from his public account, and blamed its misleading title on a staffer.
“Although our cutting-edge technology has been used by over 1,500 campaigns on a national, state, and local level, we have not consulted for the Obama presidential campaign and apologize for any misperception that would indicate otherwise,” he said in the email, adding that none of the company’s promotional material identifies him as an Obama adviser.
The full Politico.com piece is worth a read. You can check it out here.