Sunday, February 7, 2010

Political Arena.com Version 2.0

EXTENDED remix of a recent news item I wrote for the Infotech section of the Manila Bulletin.

POLITICALARENA.COM RE-LAUNCHES NEW LOOK, ISSUES-BASED WEBSITE
By EDWIN P. SALLAN

WITH a totally new look to include all official candidates for not just the presidency but also the vice-presidency and those seeking Senate seats, PoliticalArena.com recently relaunched its so-called Version 2.0 or the second phase of its ongoing evolution.

Dubbed as “the country’s first socio-political networking site and a one-stop shop to access all candidates in one arena that allows voters to make informed decisions,” PoliticalArena.com is an initiative of JobsDB.com in partnership with the Commision On Elections (Comelec), the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

WHEN it was first launched in June of last year, PoliticalArena.com, there were no official candidates for any position at the time so the site included all information it could gather on 22 perceived presidentiables. Now with 10 official candidates in place (Nicanor Perlas not included in photo above and Vetallano Acosta not in both pics at all), the site has introduced major changes and new features.

“By including the presidential candidates’ respective running mates and senatorial slates, our users are given access to majority of the candidates running for national seats,” says PoliticalArena.com General Manager Racquel Caguirangan.

Caguirangan added that the site’s home page now includes a new Issues section that features the presidential candidates’ answers to the country’s top issues. “With this feature, users are allowed to know the views of the presidentiables on important issues and compare their responses,” she points out.

The old Issues section that housed over 500 questions posted by site members is now called the Question and Answer section. Here, users can still pose other questions they still consider relevant that may range from anything like national security to the environment to tourism to the youth to even the much-talked about Reproductive Health Bill issue.

“While the new PoliticalArena.com has a lot of new features to better cater to our users’ needs, we have also retained many of our popular features,” Caguirangan notes. “These include the News, Announcements and Calendar sections that all relay important information on current events and the candiates’ campaign activities and events as well as our very popular Forum where we encourage healthy discussions on everything related to politics and the Philippines.”

As a social networking tool, Caguirangan says PoliticalArena.com now allows users to build their own networks and connect with “like-minded” individuals (read: those who support the same candidates) with the new “add a friend” button. There’s also a freedom wall for micro-blogging postings as well as the ability to write a full blog that may be featured on the site’s home page.

Since the start of the year, the site has garnered a total of 484,515 hits with page views of 1,358,501 as of January 14. Absolute unique visitors is 396,746 with a daily traffic of 2,319.69. Accessed in more than 180 countries, China, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are among the top countries that regularly surf the site outside of the Philippines.

As a venue that provides free space to candidates to allow them to explain more about their platform and their stand on certain issues, Caguirangan admits that presidential candidates that take advantage of this privilege include JC Delos Reyes, Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Senator Richard Gordon and former president Joseph Estrada, who all provided their own welcome messages during her presentation.

Asked if PoliticalArena.com will also include information on those running for local positions, Caguirangan says they would like to do so but are still trying to figure out how to go about it at this time.
For his part, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez says that the growing response of the public to sites like PoliticalArena.com as well as independent initiatives like Blogwatch.ph underscores the importance of this coming elections to the general public.

“We welcome anything that will help us disseminate election-related information, even sites that have been critical of the Comelec,” he says. “This is an important event in our history and we’d like to get everyone involved as much as possible.”

1 comment:

janettetoral.com said...

Great to see the site already updated with the latest candidates.