News & Announcements

ARCOS Technology Platform Quickly Becoming Industry Standard for Nonprofits, Advocacy Organizations

Posted on 02/21/2008 @ 10:07 AM

Plus Three reports industry's lowest fundraising transaction per dollar for improved ROI

Plus Three L.P., a New York-based online fundraising and technology company that empowers nonprofit, advocacy, membership, and political organizations to build successful online initiatives, today announced it has upgraded its ARCOS technology platform and migrated its clients to its robust ASP. As a result, Plus Three reports it has been able expand the products and services it offers its clients, adopt the highest service-level guarantees in the industry, and add best-in-class security controls that ensure customer and member data is never lost or stolen.

Plus Three has a track record of success that is unrivaled in the market today, having delivered more than 1 billion emails and raised over $250 million dollars online for its clients since 2004. Over the past four years, Plus Three has also helped its clients recruit over 12 million new supporters.

New Model, New Technology

Traditionally, organizations have used the Internet as a one-way channel to broadcast their message and gather limited feedback. Today, many organizations are taking a new and more expansive approach.

"The new model is to build a solid and identifiable brand that will spark grassroots excitement so that constituents become advocates of the message," said Juan Proaño, Plus Three President and Co-Founder. "After spending considerable time listening to our customers, we found that the industry is seeking new applications to accomplish this goal, but in a format that gives them greater access to real-time data and control to adapt marketing campaigns to often fast-changing conditions."

ARCOS 7.0 addresses the need for these tools. The ARCOS platform has long supported standard elements such as:

  • Web content and digital asset management
  • Targeted e-mail delivery
  • Credit card payment processing
  • List growth and CRM tools
  • Real-time reporting and analytics
  • Blogging functionality

ARCOS 7.0 introduces an array of new features including:

  • Membership processing capabilities
  • A complete suite of community-building and social networking applications

Plus Three's Vice President of Product Development Alice Lincoln says, "We built the ARCOS platform for enterprise-level organizations and are proud to today be able to offer the same cutting-edge tools and high level of performance to clients of all sizes – even those who may feel they do not have room in their budget for a high-quality, unified solution for their online and offline marketing needs."

To highlight ways organizations are using ARCOS 7.0 to solve business needs, Plus Three is launching an ongoing demonstration campaign that will showcase various ways clients are growing their member bases, establishing networked groups of online and offline supporters, pushing localized issues-based content to constituents, and raising millions of dollars online. For a demonstration of how Plus Three technology has helped clients such as Sierra Club, John Edwards for President, fashion company Rock & Republic, the United Federation of Teachers, and Primedia, please visit www.plusthree.com/demo today.

About Plus Three & ARCOS

Unlike most of its competitors, Plus Three does not charge per-email or per-transaction payment processing fees – thus enabling clients to improve ROI by performing targeted fundraising at the industry's lowest cost. The ARCOS platform also integrates easily with third-party and legacy systems, enabling unparalleled customization. The ARCOS platform is built using open-source technology, which provides three key differentiators clients value above all else: reliability, scalability and security. In addition, open-source technology is free from onerous licensing fees.

Plus Three Announces Partnership with PetitionThem

Posted on 12/19/2005 @ 10:07 AM

Strategic Marketing and Technology Company for Political and Non-Profit Organizations Expands Reach to Activists

Plus Three LP, ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced a strategic partnership with a leading provider of online petitions, PetitionThem.com. With this partnership, Plus Three gains access to PetitionThem's registered database of proven activists and grassroots political participants enabling Plus Three to enhance services to its stable of political, non-profit and advocacy clients. Additionally, UK-based PetitionThem, as the fourth largest online petition company in the world, gives Plus Three the ability to offer its core services to a much wider array of global geo-political, economic and cultural issue participants. For PetitionThem the partnership provides immediate access to the U.S. market bringing its leading petition services to local activists.

"Plus Three has helped clients break boundaries and use the Internet and related technologies to more effectively communicate with their constituencies," said Juan Proaño, Plus Three's president. "However, we know that for Plus Three and our customers to continue to be successful, we must continue to add services and solutions that enable organizations to communicate directly with their constituent base using a variety of methods to guarantee participation. Online petitions used to primarily focus on issues relating to the environment, but recently those issues have taken a backseat to political battles reflecting the polarized state of our nation. We are excited to announce this partnership with PetitionThem as it adds a service to our offerings that immediately benefits our customers."

Plus Three benefits with instant credibility and recognition gained from associating with one of the top petitioning sites in the world. Through PetitionThem, more than one million people have accessed the service to sign petitions and participate in local and national issues. This database helps Plus Three customers promote social change and effective policy change by leveraging the enthusiasm and voice of these activists. In addition, Plus Three gains access to an additional donor base for their clients that has indicated a willingness to participate in the political process and give money to causes. Following PetitionThem's practice of diligently protecting its members' information, Plus Three will only use that information when it has received expressed permission from a PetitionThem member.

"In the United Kingdom, PetitionThem has been tremendously successful at engaging and supporting people who are interested in social issues," said Roger Rowett, co-founder of PetitonThem.com. "For our members to participate in the increasingly global community it is important for us to have access to issues and organizations in the United States. We will continue to seek partners like Plus Three that open new markets to us and increase the effectiveness of our site."

About PetitionThem

Petition-them.com has been designed to take advantage of the potential world wide audience of the Internet. Usually, people who wanted to ask others to 'sign up' to a cause or campaign had to stand on street corners, or in shopping precincts. If the group had plenty of resources they could use traditional forms of media advertising such as newspapers, TV, or billboards. The limitations of standing on a street corner are obvious. One of the limitations of using other forms of media, apart from the cost, is that you can only promote your cause, you cannot actually get people to sign your petition. Petition-them.com offers all the advantages, with none of the drawbacks. It enables any person or group to advertise their cause in a responsible way, and allows people to sign the petition on line. The people who created Petition-them.com simply wish to offer this service in order that individuals can have a real voice. They are excited by the potential Petition-them.com has, and believe that the site can become a real vehicle for public advocacy.

Plus Three Enters Content Publication with Acquisition of Primedia Internet Resource Technology Group

Posted on 12/12/2005 @ 05:12 PM

Acquired Technologies Used to Publish More Than 300 Online Magazines

Plus Three LP, ("Plus Three"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced its expansion into the publishing industry with the acquisition of the assets of Primedia Internet Resource and Technology Group ("PIRT"), a division of PRIMEDIA Inc. The acquisition includes the group's experienced leadership team, and the technologies used to manage more than 300 online publications. Additionally, PIRT executive Len Porcano joins Plus Three as Vice President of Technology, bringing his expertise in online content publishing and business operations.

With the acquisition, Plus Three becomes an immediate leader in online publishing technology. Included in the technology assets acquired are: Krang, the leading Open Source publishing tool; a Membership/Subscription tool; a centralized paid content platform; and PIRT ShuzaI, a tool for quick building of user data collection forms by web editors. Plus Three will fold the PIRT technology directly into ARCOS™, the company's successful and widely deployed constituent management platform.

"This is a major strategic advancement for Plus Three as we seek to expand on our leadership in online constituent communications," said Juan Proaño, president, Plus Three. "Over the past several years, we've leveraged our technology and marketing knowledge to virtually reinvent Web-based donor campaigns and constituency management with our work for organizations like the Democratic National Committee and the Kerry for President Campaign. With the acquisition of PIRT, we will extend our marketing knowledge into another high growth online category — publishing."

About ARCOS

The ARCOS software platform is built using Open Source, the world's most flexible and scalable software. Using Open Source provides three key differentiators that the company's clients value above all else — reliability, scalability and security. Open Source is also free from onerous licensing fees, enabling ARCOS users to constantly maximize the value of their investment while substantially reducing the cost of every donation. Built on this industry-leading open source platform is a complete suite of solutions that allow organizations to more effectively communicate with their constituents. The ARCOS platform is easy to integrate into legacy systems providing complete and reliable access to information and applications located on those systems. In addition, the Open Source platform enables unparalleled customization and enhancement.

Plus Three President Named Among Top 100 Hispanic Entrepreneurs in 2005

Posted on 12/05/2005 @ 05:20 PM

Juan Proaño Recognized by Hispanic Trends Magazine For His Company's Groundbreaking Fundraising and Constituency Management Work

Plus Three LP, ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced that Co-founder and President Juan Proaño of Plus Three was named among the top 100 Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States by Hispanic Trends Magazine. As president of Plus Three, Juan has improved the way progressive organizations build constituent groups and fundraise by giving them immediate access to the widest array of contributors. Over the last 10 years he has developed a level of expertise in the areas of product development, strategic marketing and software integration that have produced industry leading technologies and best practices in the fields of database marketing, email delivery technologies and fundraising efforts. Most recently Plus Three's fundraising tools have helped non profit organizations like the NAACP raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims.

"It is an honor to be considered one of the top Hispanic Entrepreneurs in the United States," said Proaño. "I am proud to be among the list of successful professionals who have driven positive change in Hispanic communities and in the business world, but prouder still of the hard work and dedication exhibited by every member of the Plus Three team who is committed to the success of this company."

Plus Three's extensive work with customers like the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, John Kerry for President, NAACP and the AFL-CIO has established the company as experts in online fundraising, constituency management and the political landscape. The company gained national attention last summer and fall for their breakthrough work building the Democrat's database of registered voters, Demzilla, and providing the technology that enabled the Democrats to dominate the Republicans in online fundraising.

Today, Plus Three is expanding into the online publishing industry with the acquisition of Primedia Internet Resource and Technology Group ("PIRT"), a division of Primedia Inc. With the acquisition of PIRT, Plus Three has become an immediate leader in online publishing technology.

Plus Three Strengthens Executive Team With New COO and Vice President of Technology

Posted on 11/07/2005 @ 10:30 AM

Thomas Burke and Len Porcano Will Guide Company Through Next Growth Phase

Plus Three LP, ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced that Thomas Burke has joined the company as COO and Len Porcano as VP of Technology. The additions to the executive team come as Plus Three expands its customer base and product feature set. Both additions are effective immediately with Thomas joining the company in Plus Three's Washington D.C. offices and Len in the company's New York location.

"Thomas' deep political roots and technology background, and Len's expertise in online content publishing and business operations, are great assets for Plus Three that enable us to expand our customer base while enhancing the services and solutions current customers rely on," said Juan Proaño, president and co-founder of Plus Three. "The next six months promise to be an exciting time for Plus Three and the additions of Thomas and Len are instrumental to the next growth phase of our company."

Thomas Burke has been building technology solutions for twenty-five years. His early work in database applications included modeling and chemical weapon simulations for the US Air Force and database applications at the Federal Integrated Quality Control (FIQC) system. Burke worked on the 92 Clinton campaign, and subsequently accepted a position at the Clinton White House doing targeted marketing using Census and commercial data.

After leaving the White House, Burke spent ten years in the private sector, first as co-founder of a leading regional ISP in Baltimore/Washington, then as lead developer for Bigfoot Interactive, now part of Alliance Data Systems. In 2001, Burke returned to politics as the principle architect of the Democratic Party's Datamart. Burke and his team spearheaded the DNC's change from high dollar fundraising to low-dollar fundraising, led by online initiatives.

Prior to joining Plus Three, Len Porcano spent a combined six years at About.com and Primedia before and after the merger between the two companies. At About, Porcano architected one of the largest migrations from Microsoft NT/IIS to an open source platform. This reduced the hardware footprint by approximately 60 percent while increasing capacity more than 300 percent, a key factor in About's continued growth at a critical time in its history. Following the merger, Porcano was made VP of Development at the newly formed PIRT group. While there, he was instrumental in executing PIRT's goal of reducing Primedia costs and consolidating most of Primedia's web properties on a single technology platform.

Plus Three Strengthens United Federation of Teachers' Online Member Services

Posted on 06/24/2005 @ 10:34 AM

Leading Provider of Services to Large Member Organizations Helps Union Engage Member Base

Plus Three, LP ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced it has been selected by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) to service, unite, expand and mobilize its 160,000-member base. Supporting the UFT's continued commitment to provide top services to its members and implement a communications platform that is fully integrated with the organization's pre-existing technology, the updated portal improves online communications and enhances the services and information accessible to members.

The addition of the UFT — the largest union local in the world — strengthens Plus Three's strong penetration in the union arena; the company's client roster also includes the AFL-CIO, California Labor Federation and the United Farm Workers. The company is already the leading provider of technology solutions for political fundraising.

"It is our continued goal to support our members with excellent services and timely information," said Bill Stamatis, UFT Web content director. "The redesign of our site improves communications with our members, and with the parents of the children our members serve. We selected Plus Three after a careful examination determined it had the technical know-how we needed to successfully integrate new features with our IBM iSeries and tailor it all for our members' needs."

Members of the UFT who visit the portal will experience a seamless transition to the new site that is more secure and convenient, and easy to use. Features and benefits include:

  • Enhanced Member Services — Members can request information, submit member forms, enroll in the union, manage health care benefits and register for courses via the UFT portal, enhancing the value of the site for members. In addition, members experience greater control of their personal data for increased security.
  • Web Publishing — A new Content Management System (CMS) enables the UFT to securely and remotely publish content to its site with easy-to-use workflow previewing and vetting controls. The CMS increases the value of the UFT site to its members by allowing timely, topical information to be quickly disseminated, and by targeting content to specific member groups.
  • Course Registration — The new course registration system allows members to register for courses online using secure credit card processing. The system provides real-time information about available seats and sections, allowing the UFT to share the most up-to-date information with its members. The new system is fully integrated with the UFT's existing member management system.
  • Online Communications — A modern email communication system allows UFT staff to deliver specific and accurate information to targeted groups, while easing the burden of managing lists of email addresses. Fully integrated with the website and the UFT's existing systems, the new system connects the union to its members using the most cost effective and responsive tools.

"Maintaining relationships with members is as critical for unions as it is for political organizations and candidates," said Juan Proaño, president and co-founder of Plus Three. "The company's unparalleled expertise in creating strategic, member-focused Web sites ensures that our customers are able to effectively build and support large memberships with online tools. Our innovative platform and comprehensive feature-set ensures that our customers are providing the best possible services to their members and recreating the networking value of a one-on-one relationship in an online community."

Plus Three is the leading provider of online marketing and fundraising services to large member organizations such as advocacy, non-profit, unions and political groups. Since its inception, the Company has been tapped by leading Democratic organizations and candidates to support their election efforts with highly targeted online campaigns. Online fundraising took on added significance during the recent Democratic Party primary, as candidates capitalized on the medium to build widespread communities and attract donations. Evidence of the increasing vitality and importance of the Web as a campaign fundraising tool, Plus Three raised over $185 million online through systems it developed since the start of 2004 in support of progressive campaigns and causes, and helped the DNC match the RNC for the first time ever.

Stumping in Cyberspace

Scott Williams

Hispanic Business Monthly

Jun 1, 2005

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, now chairman of the Democratic National Com-mittee (DNC), is likely to go down in history for two things: the primal scream that made voters question his sanity, and using the Internet to raise money and mobilize supporters.

Hispanic Business Monthly

The latter contribution is considered the more significant of the two, and it has people like Juan Proaño, co-founder and president of Plus Three, an online fund-raising company with offices in Washington, D.C. and New York, eager to demonstrate how his company can link candidates to constituents and, most importantly, their wallets.

"There's never been anything like the Internet for fund raising, which has changed the way people think and the way they approach fund raising forever," says Mr. Proaño, 32, a Miami native of Peruvian and Colombian descent.

Plus Three, founded with partners David Brunton and Thomas Burke, was born in 2002 out of a merger of several companies that brought together expertise in online marketing, design, and software development. The company works with private corporations, nonprofits, and political organizations to communicate with constituents and solicit donations.

Plus Three might be just another company had it not been for good timing and Mr. Proaño's decision to keep in touch with a former colleague who happened to be working for the DNC on a technology project. His colleague made him a job offer, which Mr. Proaño accepted because, he says, it was the biggest technology project going at the time. The fact that it might affect the 2004 presidential election also played a role in his decision.

The project involved building a computer database for the Democrats that would compete with the Voter Vault database compiled by the Republican Party beginning in the mid-1990s. The Republicans had information on millions of constituents, while the Democrats had collected a mere 65,000 to 80,000 e-mail addresses.

Plus Three helped the DNC build a database called DataMart containing the names of 166 million registered voters. The database

The Democrats and, later, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, used the DataMart list to contact people by telephone, direct mail and, primarily, e-mail, targeting them with ads and political messages tailored to each person. Their efforts proved so successful that the DNC raised $85 million in 2003-04 and raised more money than the Republican National Committee for the first time ever.

"All the candidates and campaign committees we worked with actually gained ground against their counterparts," Mr. Proaño says. Those results assure a permanent place for the Internet in political campaigns. Companies like Plus Three can help candidates use the Internet to accept registrations, track donations, and write letters, blogs, and petitions. "It makes everything you were doing before easier, cheaper, and faster," says Carol Darr, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet (IPDI) at George Washington University. Ms. Darr says campaigns must still rely on fund raising, organizing people, and getting people to vote. The Internet makes it more efficient, she says.

"The beauty of the Internet is the cost efficiencies in communicating to constituents," says Edgar Duarte, CEO of Ontime Fundraiser Inc., a Miami online fund-raising firm. Anyone seeking to raise funds can do it faster and cheaper using the Internet, and those wishing to communicate a message or organize support can now reach millions in the blink of an eye.

Ms. Darr predicts that Internet usage will play an integral part in future campaign strategies, although its use will never be perfected. "It's always going to be a work in progress because the technology is just going to be leaping ahead," she says.

As the Hispanic population continues to grow, connecting with Hispanic voters will be among the top priorities for candidates, according to Mr. Proaño. "There's a big battle brewing between both parties to take that large constituency group and start to persuade them," he says. "There needs to be more effort and more resources poured into reaching our community."

To do that, Mr. Proaño believes it's important to return to the basics of properly identifying the estimated 35 million Hispanics in the United States. "We need to start there," he says, "and we need to go beyond traditional surname matching." The next step is to attach statistical data to each person that will help candidates, nonprofit organizations, or corporations

"Tapping into this highly interconnected base of Hispanics online can move a large segment of the population in support or against an issue or candidate," Mr. Proaño says. "Internet applications are like a super-powered phone tree, and large-scale mobilization of a particular group can be very influential with decision-makers. I think the party that recognizes it first and moves forward with it is going to get the jump."

The question then becomes: "How do you reach Hispanics?"

Mr. Proaño says Spanish-language radio and television will continue to be effective and, at the moment, more Hispanic phone numbers are available than e-mail addresses. That means phone banks in which volunteers or staffers call to solicit donations or votes will continue to be a popular means of contact. As far as the Internet is concerned, Mr. Proaño believes bilingual and English-dominant Hispanics are more reachable than those who speak Spanish only.

IPDI's Ms. Darr says the Internet has changed political fund raising and opened doors to political participation for people who in the past had little or nothing to say. Previously, political reporters, donors of large sums of money, professional political operatives, state party people, and candidate staffs dominated campaigns.

"What the Internet has done is allow people who are interested in politics but not part of that old clique to actively participate and be empowered," she says. The "old clique" numbered between 100,000 and 150,000 people, Ms. Darr says, compared with the 7 million to 15 million people that the Pew Research Center estimates participated via the Internet in 2004.

"It used to be the case before 2004 that you simply could not succeed at presidential politics unless you focused your efforts on big donors because you just couldn't raise money fast enough otherwise," she says. "What Howard Dean showed ... was that you could use the Internet and raise enough money from small donors not only to make yourself competitive, but in fact to raise more money than anybody else at that point."

Mr. Proaño notes that Hispanic votes did not reach their full potential in 2004, lagging behind Republicans and other minority Democratic groups. He believes that in the future, Hispanic voters will have the greatest impact in western states that have voted Republican in recent elections such as Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado, as well as those states that hang in the balance, including New Mexico and Florida. Young Hispanics growing up with the Internet have the greatest potential impact on the electorate and selecting future presidents.

"Developing more effective techniques to reach out to Hispanics will be critical to the next candidate looking to be elected president," says Mr. Proaño.

Coronado Project Selects Plus Three's ARCOS Technology for Online Campaign

Posted on 05/31/2005 @ 11:36 AM

Organizations Team to Refocus Democratic Party on Hispanic Community

Plus Three LP, ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced that the Company has been selected by the Coronado Project to design, implement and manage its online presence. Key to this campaign is the launch of the Coronado Web Site at www.coronadoproject.combuilt on Plus Three's ARCOS platform. Visitors to the site will be able to register to vote, access the Project's recent memo to the Democratic Party offering actions the party must take to ensure it does not remain the minority party for years to come, and sign up for future Project memos.

The Coronado Project was formed by leading Hispanic operatives to reengage the Democratic Party's interaction with minority groups including the Hispanic community. In "The Crossroads," its first open memo, sent to Party leaders, the Project challenges Democrats to develop stronger relationships with the Hispanic community and sets forth seven major changes the party must make to improve outreach. The basic tenet of the Project is that the African American and Latino communities are the foundation for the Democratic Party's return to majority status.

"Since 1996, the Democratic Party has lost 28 percent of the Latino vote and if that trend continues, Democratic candidates for President will continue to lose," said Paul Rivera, Coronado Project member and senior political advisor for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign. "As polarizing issues continue to confront our nation, Democrats must find new ways to improve their relationships with minority voters. While we are encouraged by Antonio Villaraigosa's recent mayoral victory, one victory does not a future make. The Democratic Party cannot continue to rely on 20th Century methods to engage Latino voters in 21st Century campaigns."

Plus Three is the leading provider of online marketing and fundraising services to large member organizations such as advocacy, non-profit, unions and political groups. Since its inception, the Company has been tapped by leading Democratic organizations and candidates to support their election efforts with highly targeted online campaigns. Online fundraising took on added significance during the recent Presidential Election, as candidates capitalized on the medium to build widespread communities and attract donations. Through its reliance on Open Source software, Plus Three is able to reduce the cost of each dollar raised, maximizing the value of every donation.

"Plus Three's fundraising and get-out-the-vote work in the 2004 national campaign and other experience with other political clients gives us unique insight into the challenges facing Democrat leaders in their efforts to mobilize Latinos," said Juan Proaño co-founder and president of Plus Three. "Recent plans announced by DNC Chairman Howard Dean to meet with Hispanic leaders across the country is an excellent start for reconnecting with Latinos one-to-one in their communities. However, Democrats need to fully understand the particular communication and generational hurdles that must be addressed when reaching out to Latinos. Plus Three's tools will help the Coronado Project educate their audience in the Democratic Party, while simultaneously providing a resource center for the Latino community."

ARCOS is built using Open Source, the world's most flexible and scalable software. Using Open Source provides three key differentiators that the company's clients value above all else — reliability, scalability and security. Open Source is also free from onerous licensing fees, enabling ARCOS users to constantly maximize the value of their investment while substantially reducing the cost of every donation. Built on this industry-leading open source platform is a complete suite of solutions that allow organizations to more effectively communicate with their constituents.

Plus Three President Shares Expertise in Online List Growth and Acquisitions at 2005 Personal Democracy Forum Conference

Posted on 05/11/2005 @ 11:43 AM

Juan Proaño Offers Insights that Helped Customers Effectively Grow Lists Through Plus Three Systems

Plus Three LP, ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced that co-founder and President Juan Proaño will be participating in a panel discussion at the Personal Democracy Forum Conference in New York, NY. Proaño will take part in the discussion entitled, "Got Lists? How to Build Your Base Online," drawing on his success building world class databases for Plus Three customers and offering his best practices for building and managing powerful databases. Attendees at the 2005 Personal Democracy Forum Conference will be able to attend the panel on May 16 at 2:00 P.M. ET. For more information please contact Kelby Troutman at 781-487-4610 or ktroutman@racepointgroup.com.

"The low cost of Internet communications has drastically changed the way large and small organizations reach out to their constituents," said Juan Proaño co-founder and president of Plus Three. "Armed with an email database of 250,000 supporters, organizations are able to deliver a highly targeted direct response message to an audience larger than some national news networks get in any 30 minute increment. This is a tremendously powerful tool for organizations to leverage for both activism and fundraising. We look forward to sharing our experiences and developing best practices for effective online communications."

  • Who: Juan M. Proaño, Co-founder and President of Plus Three
    William Green, RightMarch.com
    Tom Matzzie, MoveOn.org
    Kathy Mitchell, Internet Advocacy Director, Consumers Union
    Greg Nelson, CTSG
  • What: Panel discussion, "Got Lists? How to Build Your Base Online" Personal Democracy Forum Conference 2005
  • When: Monday, May 16, 2005, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
  • Where: The Graduate Center, The City University of New York
    http://www.personaldemocracy.com/conference

Plus Three Announces ARCOS 4.0

Posted on 03/21/2005 @ 10:49 AM

New Version of Flagship Product Builds on Democrat's Stunning Online Fundraising Successes in the 2004 Elections, Increasing Functionality and Ease-of-Use

Plus Three, LP ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced a significant upgrade to its ARCOS software solution. ARCOS 4.0, the Open Source platform built on Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl, greatly increases the functionality and ease-of-use from ARCOS 3.1 with a complete fundraising platform that incorporates the most advanced tools available in Web and email publishing and reporting. In addition, ARCOS enables users to easily conduct sophisticated database searches and build highly organized email lists. Plus Three customers feel comfortable knowing that the technology has proven it is capable of handling dramatic traffic surges and that redundancies built into the software ensure no donation is ever lost.

The ARCOS platform underlies one of the most successful fundraising efforts in U.S. history. In the 2004 presidential race, ARCOS transacted more than $185 million during the 2004 campaigns for a variety of progressive causes and platforms, and helped the DNC beat the RNC for the first time ever in fundraising.

"Over the past few years, we have seen the Web achieve its promise for online retailing, for interconnecting companies, and for delivering a total customer experience," said Geoffrey Bock, senior vice president at the Patricia Seybold Group. "Now, we are at a similar stage in its importance for constituency management-transforming the ways in which non-profits and political organizations operate in the digital age."

ARCOS is built using Open Source, the world's most flexible and scalable software. Using Open Source provides three key differentiators that the company's clients value above all else — reliability, scalability and security. Open Source is also free from onerous licensing fees, enabling ARCOS users to constantly maximize the value of their investment while substantially reducing the cost of every donation. Built on this industry-leading open source platform is a complete suite of solutions that allow organizations to more effectively communicate with their constituents. Features and Benefits

Among the standard features of ARCOS are constituent relationship management, email and link tracking, event management, social software and an online activism center. New features and benefits include:

  • Reporting — Enhanced features enable users to easily create reports from fundraising campaigns in real time for increased visibility into the effectiveness of the campaign and which targeted groups are most receptive to particular messages.
  • Enterprise Features — Ensures no dollar is ever lost with enterprise-class redundancy backup systems. The platform has undergone significant load tests ensuring its ability to receive and manage enormous traffic peaks.
  • User Database — Greater flexibility and ease-of-use for users who wish to build lists, conduct searches and compile groups, removing the need for a technical specialist to interact with the database and reducing cost for ARCOS customers. In addition the database is the largest and fastest available in the industry.
  • Email Publishing — Enhances the ability of users to organize and distribute email lists by a variety of factors including campaign, region, age and other demographic information. The email publishing features have also been integrated into the Web publishing tools making it significantly easier for users to up to two million emails per hour.
  • Web Publishing — Enhanced permissioning and work flows are built in for easy maintenance. The industry's only customizable contributor pages and tell-a-friend pages are also included.

Availability

For pricing and availability, contact Plus Three at (866) 945-4889.

Plus Three is the leading provider of online marketing and fundraising services to large member organizations such as advocacy, non-profit, unions and political groups. Since its inception, the Company has been tapped by leading Democratic organizations and candidates to support their election efforts with highly targeted online campaigns. Online fundraising took on added significance during the recent Presidential Election, as candidates capitalized on the medium to build widespread communities and attract donations. Through its reliance on Open Source software, Plus Three is able to reduce the cost of each dollar raised, maximizing the value of every donation.

"As technology use continues to spread throughout large member organizations, such as political parties, unions and non-profits, demand is surging for our platform," said Plus Three President and co-founder Juan Proaño. "ARCOS meets the critical need of these organizations to regularly interact with their member bases helping to ensure activism and participation. The strength of our solution enables users to easily and quickly create targeted campaigns, and distribute them quickly without concern for the delivery of the message or for the resulting spike in traffic and donations. To ensure the effectiveness of each campaign, we've added real-time monitoring allowing users to track donations as they come in to see what campaigns, messages and individual links, donors respond to most."

Plus Three President Shares Expertise in Online Fundraising at 2005 Politics Online Conference

Posted on 03/03/2005 @ 11:23 AM

Juan Proaño Offers Insights that Helped Customers Raise Over $185 Million Through Plus Three Systems

Plus Three, LP ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced that co-founder and President Juan Proaño and will be participating in a panel discussion at the Politics Online Conference in Washington DC. Proaño will take part in the discussion entitled, "The Internet Cash-Cow: Fundraising Online." Attendees at the 2005 Politics Online Conference will be able to attend the panel on March 11 at 10:45 A.M. ET.

"The Internet is changing the way organizations raise money. Since the start of 2004, more than $185 million has been raised online in support of progressive campaigns and causes through systems Plus Three developed," said Juan Proaño co-founder and President of Plus Three. "Our extensive work throughout the 2004 Presidential elections sets us apart as the online fundraising experts. Through our work we have the deepest understanding of what organizations must do to help ensure a successful online fundraising campaign. We look forward to sharing our experiences and discussing how issue-advocacy and non-profit groups can maximize their online experiences."

  • Who: Juan M. Proaño, co-founder and president of Plus Three
    Tom Matzzie, MoveOn.org
    Anne Lewis, deputy executive director for the DSCC
    Chuck DeFeo (moderator), eCampaign manager, Bush-Cheney '04
  • What: Panel discussion, "The Internet Cash-Cow: Fundraising Online"
  • When: Friday, March 11, 2005, from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m.
  • Where: Politics Online Conference 2005
    The George Washington University's Marvin Center, Washington D.C.
    www.ipdi.org/politicsonline

A Lesson in Open Source

Joel Shore

eWeek

Feb 28, 2005

For the 150,000 members of the United Federation of Teachers, paper forms, phone calls and hours spent standing in line are no longer current events; instead, they are consigned to the history books.

UFT

Made up of current and retired New York City public school teachers and the largest union local in the world, the UFT is the sole bargaining agent for most of the nonsupervisory educators that work in the New York City public school system. It represents roughly 74,000 teachers and 17,000 classroom paraprofessionals, along with secretaries, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers, nurses, adult education teachers and 32,000 retired members.

With 6,000 new teachers added to its membership every year and a desire to vastly increase its portfolio of member services, UFT's archaic paper-driven business methods and static, noninteractive Web site simply couldn't keep up.

Amid a three-phase design and deployment campaign, new services offered by the UFT range from Web-based course enrollment, which replaces a mail-in paper form, to health care benefits from the UFT Welfare Fund. According to UFT President Randi Weingarten, the fund has provided upward of $1 billion in benefits to union members over its 30-year history. Breaking news, pension and financial services, updated salary schedules, and tax advice are also being betterprovided to educators thanks to the new online environment.

"With our growing membership, the time to rethink the delivery of services and information could wait no longer," said Joe Vigilante, the UFT's director of information services. "With all of our data on [an IBM] legacy AS/400, we needed to get that information directly into the hands of the people who needed it most, our members."

To improve service while managing costs, Vigilante's team chose a complete opensource solution with multiprocessor, rack-mounted ProLiant DL servers from Hewlett-Packard Co. running Red Hat Inc.'s Enterprise Linux operating system. There isn't a new server running Solaris or Unix in sight, although an IBM iSeries (formerly AS/400) remains. The only Microsoft Corp. software in use at UFT is the Office suite of productivity applications and one legacy Exchange Server for e-mail.

It's close to the typical evolutionary pattern, according to Jeffrey Hewitt, an analyst with Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn. "These are new applications and sometimes represent additional horsepower added in parallel to existing systems," Hewitt said. According to his research, 22 percent of companies polled are deploying open-source systems not to replace older technology but to deploy new applications.

Regardless of the strategy, Linux is earning high marks not just as a technical solution but as a financial one that results in immediate and significant cost advantages.

"The Linux open-source route provided us with a way to avoid license fees and learn from a vast community of developers and users with issues similar to ours," said Vigilante.

That's a theme that's echoed in disparate users, from off-the-leading-edge, paper-based organizations such as the UFT to nextgeneration Web-based startups. For example, Feedster Inc., a San Francisco search engine and syndicator of XML Web content, would never have gotten off the ground if not for the savings achieved by implementing Linux.

"It didn't make sense to us or our investors to pay huge Windows and [Sun Microsystems Inc.] Solaris license fees and buy expensive support contracts," said Feedster CEO Scott Rafer.

"And for the price of a single Oracle license, we got the top-tier MySQL product, direct access to the people who developed it, and a worldwide community ready to help anytime."

Those licenses were nearly a showstopper. With its entire operation — and its lawyers — based in New York, the UFT refused to sign contracts whose terms would be governed by the laws of any other state. Red Hat, for example, is based in North Carolina. "For large enterprise corporations, this isn't a problem," said Vigilante. "But as a labor union, we were ready to walk away if vendors would not change their terms for us." Change them they did.

Site Control

A significant challenge faced by UFT was maintaining high Web site availability after migrating hosting and operations from a third-party service provider to UFT's own network. Outsourced in 1997 to offload management chores — a skill that did not yet exist at UFT — the site offered only static, nontransactional general content. Updating the site with important news for its members often took hours, which is typical when management is performed by a third party with many different customers and priorities.

UFT

All Web services now operate from redundant servers installed on-site. Page templates were designed using Macromedia Inc.'s Dreamweaver, according to Bill Stamatis, UFT's Web content manager. Running Red Hat Linux, the Web servers also host Krang, an advanced opensource content management and Web publishing system.

With 6,000 new teachers added to its membership every year and a desire to vastly increase its portfolio of member services, UFT's archaic paper-driven business methods and static, noninteractive Web site simply couldn't keep up.

Krang provides a story and media-editing environment, letting Perl programmers customize it to control the data entered in its content editor as well as the way templates and content are brought together to build output. Krang supports the Red Hat, Debian and Gentoo versions of Linux; the Fedora Project, and FreeBSD. With Krang handling content management, the content itself resides in a MySQL database from Sweden's MySQL AB. Web pages are served by Apache Software Foundation's Apache HTTP Server.

"We're not a [24-by-7] startshop, so we needed to plan, build and test a redundant environment with automated failover to accommodate any outage," said UFT's Vigilante. Working with Plus Three LP, a technology provider specializing in solutions for labor unions, based in New York, UFT established a notification system that alerts key personnel of any Web outage and initiates automated failover to the backup servers. "We hope never to use it," Vigilante added.

Choice of Platforms

In moving away from its static Web site and paper-based system of membership services, UFT and Plus Three crafted a three-phase approach. The key to success, according to Deirdre Hannigan, Plus Three's vice president of client services, was to move cautiously and maintain tight budgetary control.

"Phase 1 was homework, learning their processes and analyzing the current technology environment," said Hannigan. "In Phase 2, we installed hardware and the Krang content management platform to relaunch the Web site. We're now in Phase 3, bringing member services, health care and teacher resources online."

UFT chose Red Hat Linux, based on recommendations from both IBM and Plus Three. In contrast, Feedster followed a different path, deploying Novell Inc.'s SuSE Linux on some servers and Gentoo Linux from the Gentoo Foundation Inc. on others.

A startup, Feedster had no legacy systems baggage-a rare luxury. UFT, with all its data residing on the AS/400, wasn't so lucky. IBM, however, offered what Vigilante considered a perfect solution, allowing the AS/400 to stay put while integrating it into the new open-source environment.

IBM's Toolbox for Java and JTOpen is a library of Java classes that can be used by Java applets, servlets and applications to access AS/400 or iSeries server data and resources. The toolbox provided everything that Plus Three and UFT needed to develop communications conduits and file access.

Digital Handshake

As part of its goal to foster educators' professional development, UFT's educational programs, in affiliation with local colleges and universities, offer a full spectrum of workshops and graduate level courses to some 10,000 members each year. In the third phase of the project, the Web site will be the place where teachers can learn about and register for these courses. And the union's nationally acclaimed Dial-A-Teacher program, in affiliation with the New York City Department of Education, offers homework assistance to more than 60,000 public school students and parents every year. The program uses the Web site as a starting point for matching students' needs with specific teachers; the goal is to make a wide range of content available in as many as 12 languages.

"The Web site averages 30,000 visits per month. But the average visit length went from 30 seconds to 5 minutes," said Stamatis. "Members are downloading materials and even reading online. And now that we post news daily, we've created a compelling reason for teachers to visit and stay."

In addition to being lightyears more efficient than the UFT's previous paper-bound methods, the union's new interactive Web presence also conveys a friendlier persona to the organization's 150,000 members.

"There's no way the president of a union organization of our size can do a traditional reach-out to its dues-paying membership," said Vigilante. "What we've tried to do is design the site and its services to provide an 'electronic handshake' to members. We're there all the time, and we've worked to provide immediate response or have the information they need just a click or two away."

The UFT, it seems, has learned its own lessons.

Plus Three Appoints Sam Tregar as Product Manager

Posted on 02/22/2005 @ 11:28 AM

Plus Three, LP ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology company serving major U.S. political organizations and non-profit institutions, today announced Sam Tregar has been named Product Manager. In this role, Tregar will be responsible for providing strategic direction and expertise to the development of ARCOS, the company's advanced Open Source technology platform used by political, non-profit and large member organizations. Tregar was the chief architect and developer of the Open Source content-management system Krang, and is a noted industry expert who has been published in trade publications and is the author of the book, "Writing Perl Modules for CPAN" (Apress, 2002).

"Plus Three's innovative work with Open Source and next generation platforms like the contextual Web, really captured my imagination and is my primary reason for joining the company," said Tregar. "I look forward to working with the company's outstanding programming team to show large organizations and companies they no longer have to compromise with proprietary systems that lack the power and flexibility to meet their needs. I am anxious to contribute to the company and ARCOS and expect we will have some exciting updates to announce for the platform soon."

Tregar brings an extensive programming background to Plus Three. Before joining the company, Tregar served as Lead Programmer for Trafficmac Inc., where he was responsible for driving the development of Trafficmac's next generation software and managing a team of programmers. Prior to working with Trafficmac Inc., Tregar was the Lead Programmer at the PIRT Group, a division of Primedia Inc. While at the PIRT group Tregar maintained the Bricolage Open Source content management system and lead the Krang development team. Krang has been a huge success for PIRT, lowering administrative costs and improving the online editorial process at hundreds of magazines.

"Like any company would be, we are excited to be able to add someone with Sam's programming expertise to our team," said Plus Three President Juan Proaño. "We have had tremendous success developing Open Source solutions for our customers, as evidenced by the online fundraising success of our clients in 2004 totaling $185 million dollars. In addition, our work with unions continues to accelerate and Sam's vision and expertise will prove invaluable as we grow our company and service offerings."

About ARCOS

The ARCOS software platform is built using Open Source, the world's most flexible and scalable software. Using Open Source provides three key differentiators that the company's clients value above all else — reliability, scalability and security. Open Source is also free from onerous licensing fees, enabling ARCOS users to constantly maximize the value of their investment while substantially reducing the cost of every donation. Built on this industry-leading open source platform is a complete suite of solutions that allow organizations to more effectively communicate with their constituents. The ARCOS platform is easy to integrate into legacy systems providing complete and reliable access to information and applications located on those systems. In addition, the Open Source platform enables unparalleled customization and enhancement.

What Your Party Knows about You

Time

Oct 18, 2004

Howard Dean didn't get it. Al Gore had no clue. The high-tech secret weapon of this election isn't blogging or viral e-mail or any other sexy buzzwords. It's something mundane and under the radar and totally unsexy: data. Both the Democrats and the Republicans have amassed vast secret databases of information about voters, which they jealously guard on the simple theory that the more you know about people, the easier it is to get their vote.

Juan Proaño

The Republicans began building their database, which they call Voter Vault, back in the mid-1990s. It's no accident they got a head start: Bush adviser Karl Rove used to run a direct-mail company, so he knows the value of a few good leads. "We don't say a lot about Voter Vault," notes Christine Iverson, press secretary for the Republican National Committee. "A lot of the information is strategic, and the less the Democrats know the better." Secret it may be, but Voter Vault caused a stir last month when it emerged that the Republicans had — wait for it — outsourced some of its construction to a bunch of programmers in Maharashtra, India.

By 2001, the Democrats — the party of would-be overnerd Al Gore — were staring at a data gap. All they had was a few tens of thousands of e-mail addresses stored on a computer so obsolete its monitor was green. So they hired a small firm called Plus Three to build them a database of their very own, which they named Demzilla. Voter Vault and Demzilla currently hold about 165 million entries each.

So what's in these things? Any information about you that the parties can legally get their hands on. They start with voter-registration records, which are rich in priceless personal data like phone numbers, home addresses and birthdays. That info gets cross-referenced with census data plus records the parties keep: who worked or volunteered for them, who donated money. Names in Demzilla typically have 200 to 400 pieces of info attached to them.

But the secret sauce for any 21st century political database is email addresses — there's no quicker or cheaper way to get out the vote than by e-communicating directly with supporters. In addition, there may be magazine-subscription records, membership rosters from organizations like the AARP ... who knows? The parties aren't saying. "We probably have more information about the average voter than they care for us to have," admits Robert Bennett, chairman of the Republican Party in Ohio.

The more data the parties have, and the more ways they search, collate, cross-reference and puree them, using data-mining kung fu perfected by generations of direct marketers, the more precisely they can tailor their pitches to individual voters. Undecided black housewives under 35 will get very different phone calls from the Kerry campaign than Hispanic CEOs over 60. Data mining also helps the parties find, and sway, those all-important swing voters. "Now we can identify individuals within a neighborhood, in a state, in a market, where we never would have gone and looked before," says Juan Proaño, president of Plus Three.

So keep a close eye on your candidate, because you can be sure he's keeping an eye on you — and on the competition. "The Democrats have typically not had a very good database," the G.O.P.'s Iverson sniffs. "We're very happy to take all the information they give out about Demzilla and absorb it."

Kerry Campaign Dumps Cash on Web

Louise Witt

Wired

Oct 5, 2004

The presidential campaigns and the major political parties have mostly ignored online advertising as a way to reach voters in the 2004 election, according to a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That is, until now.

After Thursday night's debate between Sen. John Kerry and President George W. Bush, the Democratic National Committee bought roughly $400,000 worth of ads on 50 sites, including USA Today, The Washington Post, MSNBC, The New York Times, Salon.com, Weather.com, ESPN.com and Movieline.com. The DNC also bought ads on local news sites. In a few days, it almost doubled its entire online advertising budget for the previous eight months.

And the DNC isn't done. The party plans to have another online media blitz after Tuesday night's debate between the vice presidential candidates, Sen. John Edwards and Vice President Dick Cheney, said Jano Cabrera, the DNC's communications director.

The DNC's web effort last week capitalized on the number of Americans who watched the 90-minute debate between Kerry and Bush. According to Nielsen Media Research, the 90-minute debate drew in more than 62 million viewers. In contrast, only about 24 million tuned in to listen to Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention this summer.

"Viewership for the debate is akin to the finale of Friends, in terms of raw numbers of viewers," said Cabrera. "With that level of interest, we knew that a number of people would rush to the internet to find out more information about John Kerry and George W. Bush and we wanted to have a strong online presence."

Doug Kelly, the DNC's director of technology, put it more bluntly: "The strategy was to stop George W. Bush and the Republicans from stealing the post-debate spin like they did in 2000. They dominated the post-debate spin then and we were not going to let that happen again."

After Al Gore's first debate with Bush, advisers to the Democratic candidate thought he had won. But Gore was considered the loser hours later, due to the perception that his audible sighs made him seem condescending. "The Republicans ran a very good operation in the past," Kelly said. "They pointed out one nugget in Gore's performance and drove the media to that nugget."

This time, the DNC ads, which ran Thursday through Sunday, directed supporters to participate in online polls about the debate, such as those being conducted on the Los Angeles Times' site and on CNN.com, as well as to go to the media contact page on the DNC site. Once there, supporters were told how to write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper or how to call in to a local radio show.

Kelly said the DNC site had so many visitors that it deactivated the visitor log feature. "It takes up so much bandwidth, so we turned it off," he said. Kelly said Kerry's site, JohnKerry.com, had three times the number of visitors the night of the debate that it had the night of his convention speech. Twenty thousand signed up to be volunteers.

The DNC also raised $4 million the day of the debate, said Nancy Eiring, director of the DNC's grass-roots fund-raising efforts. Between 9 p.m. and midnight, she said, the party brought in $10,000 a minute. Eiring added that the DNC ads on national websites had a staggeringly high click-through rate of 5 percent.

Until the debates, neither the parties nor the campaigns used the internet to promote their candidates to any great extent, said Michael Cornfield, a senior research consultant at the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the author of the report. Instead, they used the web to raise money, organize volunteers and encourage supporters to register to vote.

"This teaches us that online advertising, like online fund raising, works best if it exploits the moment and takes advantage of a large audience created by other means," Cornfield said. "They use the other media to build an audience for them and then they attempt to convert that interest into an opportunity for persuasion and mobilization."

So far, Cornfield hasn't noticed that the Republican National Committee or the Bush campaign has stepped up their online advertising. Calls to both groups for comment were not returned. But as Election Day nears, Cornfield said he expects both campaigns to buy more online ads. "It's all fast and furious now," he said.

In his report, Cornfield found that from January through August, the parties and the campaigns spent more than $100 on TV ads for every dollar they spent on online ads.

For the first eight months of 2004, the Kerry campaign outspent the Bush campaign by a 3-to-1 margin on online ads, the report said. Kerry's campaign spent $1.3 million, while Bush's laid out $419,000. However, the Republican Party was more lavish with its internet-advertising buys. Through the end of August, the RNC spent $487,000 on online ads compared to the DNC's $257,000.

With its massive online media buy after the first debate, the Democratic Party surpassed the Republicans.

"After the first debate, the ads running on NationalJournal.com, for example, were another way for the Democrats to spread their message that Kerry had won the debates among opinion leaders and decision makers," said Brian Reich, director of Mindshare Interactive Campaigns' Boston operations and editor of Campaign Web Review. "In a close election like we have this year, a slight tactical advantage like this one could shift the balance of the race in the Democrats' direction."

Cornfield was surprised that the presidential campaigns, the parties and advocacy groups didn't have more extensive online ad campaigns, especially since web advertising is becoming increasingly popular. In his report, he wrote that ad spending on the internet is growing faster than in any other media. Online advertising revenue is expected to reach $8 billion by the end of 2004.

"Yet, for all the online experimentation the campaigns have attempted this year, they have not ventured aggressively into online advertising," he wrote. "This is surprising because online ads can reach new, undecided and wavering voters in the demographic and geographic niches where they are thought to reside."

In the last days of the campaign, that's changing. "We will do anything we can to get the grass roots fired up and active," said DNC's Kelly. "We rule out nothing."

Plus Three Brings Premier Voter File System to the Web

Posted on 09/27/2004 @ 10:40 AM

LEVERAGE Enhances Constituent Relationships Through Dynamic Database Functionality and Precision Targeting

Plus Three, LP ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology agency serving major US political organizations and world-class non-profit institutions, today announced that Blaemire Communications, a leading political data services company, is using the company's technology to develop and manage LEVERAGE, the premier Web-based voter file system. The secure database allows users to enhance their relationships with constituents through precise targeting and communications efforts.

Thirteen states, including Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wyoming are currently running LEVERAGE to drive voter contact and get-out-the-vote efforts. Plus Three has worked with Blaemire to build systems, manage and/or expand LEVERAGE in all of these states. Blaemire also works with progressive organizations who need to mobilize volunteers around the country.

"Organizing an army of volunteers and staffers to ensure each and every one of our constituents is contacted and motivated to vote in November, can be a daunting task," said Dennis L. White, Ohio Democratic Party Chair. "Thankfully, LEVERAGE has greatly simplified the job of creating task lists and efficiently deploying volunteers. In addition, LEVERAGE is easy enough to use that volunteers and staff in the field are able to quickly enter constituent or voter updates back into the LEVERAGE system via remote entry, greatly increasing the effectiveness of all of our voter-drive efforts."

Built by Plus Three, LEVERAGE is an open-source, Web-based voter file system that allows users to interact with state wide data files enhanced with geographic, demographic and electoral information, improving the ability of users to build relationships with constituents. Additional information gathered from offline sources such as canvassing and poll results is easily integrated into LEVERAGE from authorized workstations and remotely via palm pilot synchronizations. To prevent unauthorized viewing of proprietary data, each user of LEVERAGE is assigned a permission level governing to which data that user has access.

"Plus Three's technical know-how and expertise working with large online databases, made up of hundreds of millions of records and billions of actions combined with their experience with political parties and progressive organizations made them the perfect choice to build LEVERAGE," said Robert Blaemire, president and founder of Blaemire Communications. "With LEVERAGE, organizations and state parties are able to combine proven off line techniques with the power and flexibility of the Internet. This combination greatly enhances the effectiveness of any organization to communicate with its constituents and voters in powerful and meaningful ways, and, most importantly, elect candidates to office."

LEVERAGE is a particularly critical system in this election where turnout and voting habits in a few key swing states will likely alter the outcome. LEVERAGE allows users to access and generate queries for highly targeted lists enabling on-the-ground organizers to target specific groups with specific appeals that will enhance the likelihood of them casting a vote. In addition, tools critical to the election process, such as walk lists, call sheets, and mailing lists are easily generated in LEVERAGE while completely preserving voter confidentiality.

Plus Three is the leading provider of online marketing and fundraising services for progressive causes. Since its inception, the Company has been tapped by leading Democratic organization and candidates to support their election efforts with highly targeted online campaigns. Online fundraising took on added significance during the recent Democratic Party primary, as candidates capitalized on the medium to build widespread communities and attract donations. Evidence of the increasing vitality and importance of the Web as a campaign fundraising tool — during the first half of 2004, Plus Three has raised over $80 million online through systems it has developed since the start of 2004 in support of progressive campaigns and causes.

"To prepare for this year's November elections, both parties are focusing their efforts on driving their respective bases to the polls," said Plus Three founder and president, Juan Proaño. "Technology tools, such as LEVERAGE, that increase the effectiveness of constituent communications are relative newcomers to the political process, but have already demonstrated their usefulness in targeting and voter contact. To accomplish this, Plus Three has leveraged our success in creating ARCOS, bringing our expertise in building massively large, scalable, easy-to-use database platforms to the state party level."

About Blaemire Communications

Blaemire Communications has been providing political computer services and voter file products to State Parties, Campaigns and Organizations for over 13 years. The Company combines political expertise with the latest computer technologies to help their clients target and reach the people they need to win campaigns or achieve their organization's goals.

AHR Selects Plus Three to Persuade President Bush to Keep His Promise to the Great Outdoors

Posted on 09/08/2004 @ 10:44 AM

Petition Drive Focused on Getting Americans Outdoors and Preserving America

Plus Three, LP ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology agency serving major US political organizations and world-class non-profit institutions, today announced that it has been selected by Americans for Our Heritage and Recreation (AHR) to create and manage its national petitioning system. Plus Three's technology will help AHR gather support to persuade President Bush to keep his promise to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Through a national public education campaign entitled Americans Saving American Places (ASAP) focused on getting Americans outdoors, AHR has initiated a petition drive to gather a million signatures. To meet their goals, AHR required a petition tool that was flexible enough to easily modify and distribute to a variety of outdoor themed audiences.

"AHR represents a diverse body of organizations who all promote outdoor activities," said Tom St. Hilaire, executive director for AHR. "The challenge for us was creating and distributing relevant petitions that would encourage participation from a broad audience. Without Plus Three, this task would have cost significantly more and required additional time and resources. Plus Three allowed us to focus on the signatures and not worry about the technology."

In AHR, outdoor enthusiasts, advocates and conservationists, with a wide range of policy interests, network together to ensure the preservation of the LWCF. Plus Three designed a petitioning system that allows the different member-groups of the AHR to personalize the petitions with unique messaging and petition Web pages. In addition, Plus Three included tracking functions that enabled AHR to view results across organizations and report back on the petitions that are driving the most signatures.

"The flexibility of interactive tools, such as petition pages and surveys, have empowered organizations to use their Web sites to inspire casual visitors to become online activists," said Plus Three founder and President, Juan Proaño. "Plus Three enables organizations to enhance these relationships between organizations and their visitors, but, more importantly, we allow organizations to use the Internet to proactively reach out to like-minded individuals and directly encourage their participation."

About Americans for Our Heritage and Recreation

Americans for Our Heritage and Recreation (AHR) is a broad and diverse organization representing conservationists, the recreation and sporting goods industries, park and recreation specialists, wildlife enthusiasts, advocates for urban and wilderness areas, preservationists of cultural and historic sites, land trust advocates, the youth sports community, and civic groups seeking to revitalize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program (UPARR). The coalition works to communicate to policy makers at all levels of government the value of parks and recreation areas made possible by the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the need for support of these areas. AHR mobilizes this national coalition through its extensive grassroots communications network, employing regional and state leaders to coordinate an integrated public education campaign.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Taps Plus Three for Web Advertising and Fundraising Initiatives

Posted on 08/30/2004 @ 10:46 AM

Plus Three's Innovative Technology, Strategic Market Planning Methodology Drives Selection Decision

Plus Three, LP ("Plus Three" or the "Company"), a strategic marketing and technology agency serving major US political organizations and world-class non-profit institutions, today announced that it has been selected by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (the "DSCC," www.dscc.org) to lead its online advertising and fundraising initiatives for the critical 2004 elections. Plus Three's engagement calls for the Company to provide media planning and acquisitions strategies for the DSCC's entire Web advertising campaign, as well as implementation of an Internet-based persuasion campaign to attract donations in support of Democratic Senatorial candidates. The DSCC is the national committee of the Democratic Party formed to elect Democratic members of the United States Senate.

"Our selection of Plus Three reflects the enormous confidence we have in their ability to persuade voters to support the election of Democratic candidates to the US Senate in this crucial election," said DSCC spokesperson Cara Morris. "Plus Three has a proven track record of planning and executing campaigns that are extremely compelling to constituents we are seeking to support our effort. This is largely the product of the Company's ability to combine the power of outstanding technology to reach the largest segment of an audience to create a sustainable dialogue and community, with outstanding creative product and highly targeted delivery. This kind of precision is essential to ensure that the DSCC achieves its election year goals."

Plus Three is the leading provider of online marketing and fundraising services for progressive causes. Since its inception, the Company has been tapped by leading Democratic organization and candidates to support their election efforts with highly targeted online campaigns. Online fundraising took on added significance during the recent Democratic Party primary, as candidates capitalized on the medium to build widespread communities and attract donations. Evidence of the increasing vitality and importance of the Web as a campaign fundraising tool — during the first half of 2004, Plus Three has raised $100 million on line since the start of 2004 in support of progressive campaigns and causes.

Plus Three will spearhead the DSCC's online fundraising efforts for the 2004 election cycle. The multidisciplinary team will increase online giving through DSCC.org and FromTheRoots.org, the DSCC's community weblog. The Plus Three team will lead redesigns for both sites, develop a cross-modal narrative and media plan, streamline the technology for online giving, and increase online participation through online acquisition efforts.

"We're extremely pleased to develop and implement this important campaign for the DSCC," said Plus Three founder and president, Juan Proaño. "The ability to leverage the power of the Internet is critical to shaping the outcomes of this year's important elections. Our technology offers an important means for every individual to be part of the process, but helping them to form enduring communities where they can access information and share their views."

About the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is the national committee of the Democratic Party formed to elect Democratic members of the United States Senate. The DSCC enables Democratic candidates to conduct effective campaigns that reach voters and secure the election of a Democratic Senate in the year 2004.

Democrats Unleash "Demzilla" on the GOP

Scott Eden

Business Intelligence Pipeline

Aug 24, 2004

With Election Day little more than three months away, the technology department at the Democratic National Committee is hiring, and evidently their desire to staff up at such a late date has a lot to do with the success of their huge voter and donor tracking system.

About three years ago, the DNC hired Plus Three, a small technology firm that specializes in IT consulting for nonprofit organizations, to help build its system. The decision came at a pivotal moment, not long before the 2002 midterm elections, when the Republican Party had had such a system up and running for some time.

The DNC, meanwhile, had a decrepit internal database running off an AS/400. It had a green-screen terminal interface, and it contained an e-mail donor list of just 70,000 people, said Doug Kelly, the DNC's technology director. "When you think that 50 million people voted for Gore, we did a dismal job."

Many observers, in fact, partly attribute the GOP's state and federal victories in that election to its far more mature, and enormous, database of voters and contributors, known as Voter Vault, about which the party is as tight-lipped as a Langley Cold Warrior.

The DNC is a little less so about its system, which is now Web-based and open-source. The system comes in two pieces: DataMart is essentially a gigantic phonebook of all the country's 166 million registered voters. The goal is to attach key information, or a voter ID, to each of those people — party affiliation, some consumer data, how their home precinct voted, census figures, 306 slices of information in all — and then to mine and model that data in order to perform two functions: entice voters to the booths to vote Democrat, and entice those already converted to fork over cash or, perhaps, to volunteer in some way. Essentially it's a direct-marketing system tweaked slightly for the political realm. The problem, of course, is getting all that key information attached to the names on the DataMart list. There are privacy issues to deal with, for instance, and an enormous amount of research that must be done, so the database remains incomplete.

The second piece is Demzilla, the DNC's internal transactional database, which includes the names of, and key information on, any person or group with which the DNC does business — the Rolodex. Mostly Demzilla is a list of donors, both large and small. But it also includes volunteers, activists, local and state party leaders, and members of the press.

By phone, by direct mail and, mostly, by e-mail, people on the DataMart list are targeted with ads and political messages, tailored as much as possible to that person, based on what the DNC can dig up about their demographic information, their possible pet issues, etc. Should the person contribute or agree to volunteer, into Demzilla goes that name.

Building the system was not an easy project to undertake or complete, especially with the DNC rushing to catch up with its cross-town rival. DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe, famed for his salesmanship with six-figure donors and the $5000-a-plate set, spearheaded the effort, which largely focuses on small donors, a la MoveOn.org and the early Howard Dean primary campaign. "We shamelessly steal stuff that's effective," the DNC's Kelly said. The DNC also had to broker deals with state Democratic organizations, which feed their voter information into DataMart. Quid pro quo, the information collated in DataMart and Demzilla are then used locally by the state party organs. The database effort was part of a $25 million rehab McAuliffe made of the DNC as a whole.

DNC officials will not divulge just how they're able to mine and analyze and drill down into all that data — the BI end of the DataMart/Demzilla system — the one aspect in which they resemble their tight-lipped Republican counterparts. "I'd rather not talk about that," Kelly said. "I can tell you after November third." He said the DNC uses a mix of BI technology developed both in-house and by outside consultants.

Plus Three, a Washington-based firm with about 21 employees, built the system using an open-source software package similar to EBay's or Google's — Linux operating system from Red Hat, Apache Web server, MySQL database and Practical Extraction Report Language — for reasons of both cost and "freedom," said David Brunton, one of Plus Three's founders. Open-source made the most sense, he said, because the DNC wanted to do its own data mining and analytics. Once Plus Three completed the assembly, it could turn over the source code to the DNC's techies, get them up to speed, and let them have at it. In this particular business, open source also has advantages over closed-format, Brunton said, because changes in potential donor targeting often need to be made on the fly — if people are for some reason unwilling, on a particular day, to give out their phone numbers, the DNC could write up some code to deal with that contingency, and implement it almost immediately. The software runs on a typical open-source hardware stack, consisting of AMD servers from Penguin Computing.

As far as the build-out, Brunton said a major challenge was integrating the database to its disparate data sources. Though open-source made the problem easier to overcome than a closed-format system otherwise would have, he said, another obstacle arose: how to make the physical connections between systems fast enough yet stable enough to handle all that data flow — voter information streaming into DataMart (and then into Demzilla, depending on the direct market success) from volunteers knocking on doors and entering survey questions into laptops, or voters clicking through a DNC e-mail. Plus Three also needed to link DataMart to all the far-flung systems used by the state party organizations.

The answer lay in RSS, or "really simple syndication," a feed technology that first took off among bloggers a few years ago. Plus Three developed its own kind of RSS for the DNC, which allowed it to deliver an XML stream between multiple systems. Plus Three's benchmark for a data-transfer rate was 5,000 records per second when those records needed to be parsed (or decoded and transformed into actual data), and 15,000 per second when they did not. "Anything less than that is probably slower than acceptable," Brunton said, "and anything faster is probably too fragile." Another important piece of gear Plus Three used was Spread, the multicasting technology. Information gathered from online transactions might hit one of ten different servers, said Brunton. But a Spread machine allowed Plus Three to then multicast all the logs from those disparate servers, collecting them in one place, and in real time, rather than waiting for an end-of-the-day update. This timeliness is particularly valuable in the fundraising world, said Brunton. "With the ability to raise $5.5 million or $6.6 million in a day, it's important to know where you are in any given hour. It could affect ad buys, or a get-out-the vote effort."

The DNC says that DataMart and Demzilla have enabled the party to increase its number of listed donors from 400,000 at the time of the 2002 elections to "well over a million now," though it won't be more specific. It has also let the DNC cover the costs of prospecting for donations. No longer does it need to pay third-party vendors for lists of target voters, nor must it outsource its various e-mail campaigns. The cost of a very large e-mail blast, in other words, amounts only to the tech staff's payroll.

As good as all this sounds, the viability of the system has been called into question before. About a year ago, an article in Roll Call, the Capitol Hill weekly, quoted an anonymous "consultant," who said, "The system architecture is overly cumbersome and the result is that the data is not easily retrieved ... Worse, the quality of the data is far from a level that would make it immediately useful." Both the DNC and Plus Three vigorously denied this, of course. They say a different kind of politics was at work: sour grapes. The comment, they say, came from a Plus Three rival rejected by the DNC.

Knowing Their Politics by Their Software

Steve Lohr

New York Times

Jul 5, 2004

In a campaign season of polarization, when Republicans and Democrats seem far apart on issues like Iraq, the economy and leadership style, it is perhaps not surprising that the parties find themselves on different sides in the politics of software as well.

David Brunton

The Web sites of Senator John Kerry and the Democratic National Committee run mainly on the technology of the computing counterculture: open-source software that is distributed free, and improved and debugged by far-flung networks of programmers.

In the other corner, the Web sites of President Bush and the Republican National Committee run on software supplied by the corporate embodiment of big business — Microsoft.

The two sides are defined largely by their approach to intellectual property. Fans of open-source computing regard its software as a model for the future of business, saying that its underlying principle of collaboration will eventually be used in pharmaceuticals, entertainment and other industries whose products are tightly protected by patents or copyrights.

Many of them propose rewriting intellectual property laws worldwide to limit their scope and duration. The open-source path, they insist, should accelerate the pace of innovation and promote long-term economic growth. Theirs is an argument of efficiency, but also of a reshuffling of corporate wealth.

Microsoft and other American companies, by contrast, have long argued that intellectual property is responsible for any edge the United States has in an increasingly competitive global economy. Craig Mundie, chief technical officer and a senior strategist at Microsoft, observed, "Whether copyrights, patents or trade secrets, it was this foundation in law that made it possible for companies to raise capital, take risks, focus on the long term and create sustainable business models."

The dispute can take on a political flavor at times. David Brunton, who is a founder of Plus Three, a technology and marketing consulting company that has done much of the work on the Democratic and Kerry Web sites, regards open-source software as a technological expression of his political beliefs. Mr. Brunton, 28, a Harvard graduate, describes himself as a "very left-leaning Democrat." He met his wife, Lina, through politics; she is a staff member at the Democratic National Committee.

His company's client list includes state Democratic parties in Ohio and Missouri, and union groups including the United Federation of Teachers and the parent A.F.L.-C.I.O. "The ethic of open source has pervaded progressive organizations," Mr. Brunton said.

The corporate proponents of strong intellectual property rights say, in essence, that what is good for Microsoft, Merck and Disney is good for America. But they argue as well that the laws that protect them also protect the ideas of upstart innovators. They have made their case forcefully in Washington and before international groups, notably the World Intellectual Property Organization, a United Nations specialized agency.

"This is a huge ideological debate and it goes way beyond software," said James Love, director of the Consumer Project on Technology, a nonprofit group affiliated with Ralph Nader that advocates less restrictive intellectual property rules.

But the politics surrounding open-source software do not always fit neatly into party categories. The people who work on software like the Linux operating system, the Apache Web server and others are an eclectic bunch of technologists. "You'll find gun nuts along with total lefties," Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, said in an e-mail message.

Still, those who find the cooperative, open-source ethos appealing tend most often to be libertarians, populists and progressives. Not surprisingly, open-source software was well represented in Howard Dean's Democratic presidential primary campaign, which so effectively used the Internet and Web logs in grass-roots organizing.

Those open-source advocates will presumably find Senator Kerry more appealing than President Bush, according to Daniel Weitzner, technology and society director at the World Wide Web Consortium, an Internet standards-setting organization.

"It may be that the populist-versus-establishment dynamic plays out as Democrat versus Republican in this election," Mr. Weitzner said. "But the open-source movement is a populist phenomenon, enabled by the Internet, and not a partisan force in any traditional sense of politics."

The lone trait common to open-source supporters, according to Mr. Torvalds, is individualism. Politically, he said, that can manifest itself as independence from either political party. "But it also shows up as a distrust of big companies," Mr. Torvalds wrote, "so it's not like the individualism is just about politics."

Eric Raymond, a leading open-source advocate, writing in his online "Jargon File," described the politics of the archetypal open-source programmer, whom he calls J. Random Hacker, as "vaguely liberal-moderate, except for the strong libertarian contingent, which rejects conventional left-right politics entirely."

Mr. Raymond, for one, shoots pistols for relaxation (a favorite is "the classic 1911 pattern .45 semiautomatic") and he supported the invasion of Iraq.

So was the software for the Republican and Democratic Web sites selected according to politics?

Microsoft, to be sure, has fared far better under the Bush administration than under the administration of President Bill Clinton. The Clinton Justice Department filed a sweeping antitrust suit against Microsoft, and asked that the big software company be broken up. The Bush administration later settled the case and left Microsoft intact.

Referring to the software selection process, Steve Ellis, director of network and online services for the Republican National Committee, said: "There was no pressure. We were free to use whatever software we thought worked best."

The principal consideration, Mr. Ellis said, was computer security and protecting the privacy of personal data on the Web site. The programming tools, procedures and the larger pool of workers skilled in using Microsoft software, he said, prompted the Republicans to opt for Microsoft's Web server, called Internet Information Services, running on the Windows 2000 operating system.

Both the Microsoft Web site software and the open-source alternative, the Apache server running on Linux, have had security problems, said Richard M. Smith, a computer security expert. But the Microsoft software, he said, "clearly is the least secure of the two Web serving solutions," given its susceptibility to infection by malicious computer worms like Code Red and Nimba.

For technology experts, like Mr. Brunton, software may have a political cast. But there is little evidence that it has become an issue for front-office political operatives. Told that the Democratic National Committee Web site runs on open-source software, Tony Welch, the national committee's press secretary, replied, "Oh, thanks for telling me." Later, after checking with his technical staff, Mr. Welch called back to say that open-source software was "the right technology at the right price."

Both the Democratic and Republican sites have done pretty well. Mr. Kerry has raised more than $56 million over the Internet this year, including $3 million last Wednesday, setting a single-day record for online fund-raising. The Republican Web site won an award in March from George Washington University's Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet for the best online campaign by a political party.

"The Web site is a great grass-roots organizing tool, and we've probably just scratched the surface," said Christine Iverson, press secretary for the Republican National Committee.