President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, may be winding down, but the data strategy of a financially troubled start-up has a long way to walk with trump taking into consideration how it helped power Trump campaign.
Trump’s campaign was powered by a cell phone app that allowed staff to monitor the movements of his millions of supporters and offered intimate access to their social networks.
The digital details the app collected can be put to multiple other uses — to fundraise for the president’s future political ventures, stoke Trump’s base, or even build an audience for a new media empire.
It was on May 27th, Alan Knitowski, the C.E.O. of Phunware, an Austin-based ad broker and software company, announced a “strategic relationship with American Made Media Consultants on the development, launch and ongoing management and evolution of the Trump-Pence 2020 Re-election Campaign’s mobile application portfolio.”
Austin-based Phunware Inc., whose shares trade for pennies, as of late consented to pay Uber $4.5 million as a feature of a settlement over cases of false publicizing and not long ago gambled being delisted from the Nasdaq. In April, the organization got a $2.9 million advance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act as it was building the Trump campaign application.
According to the former employees, it’s amazing how a struggling start-up known more for building apps for hospitals and a Manhattan-based astrologer became a juggernaut in Trump’s re-election bid, facilitating an ongoing data and fundraising effort that threw the company a financial lifeline.
The Trump 2020 app is an enormous data-collection tool in its own right. Launched on 23rd April, the app has many features that were in his 2016 app, which includes news feed, Trumps record videos and event calendar as well. The gaming feature promises a “Trump’s army” member a photograph with the president if he/she is able to accumulate a hundred thousand points by raising money or sharing contacts. While on the other hand members can also win the chance to use the points and get a discount on the infamous MAGA gear.
To access the Trump app, users must share their cell-phone numbers with the campaign. “The most important, golden thing in politics is a cell phone number,” Parscale told Reuters. “When we receive cell phone numbers, it really allows us to identify them across the databases. Who are they, voting history, everything.”
Going back to where it started from. While talking to AP News Karl Rove, former advisor and Republican strategist for President George W. Bush revealed that a lobbyist who was friendly with his wife introduced him to Phunware executives, who told him the company had built apps for sports teams and Fortune 100 companies that integrated geofencing technology, which can track people’s movements through their cell phones.
Ex-Phunware employees and the lobbyist’s staff gave Rove a presentation, showing off how the company could use cell phone data to send out customized political ads that also were hard to trace.
“His mind was blown. He was like ‘this is extremely powerful data,’” a former employee recalled.