FRIDAY 26 MAR 2010 10:36 AM


A website created by the Conservatives to embarrass Gordon Brown has spectacularly backfired on the party, providing further proof of how social media can damage a brand.

The website aimed to point out the prime minister's links to the Unite union and was viewed as a starting pistol to a fierce online election battle. But the site quickly descended into farce.

Firstly, it was revealed that the site's template was taken almost wholesale from a rightwing American group that opposes President Barack Obama's cap-and-trade system.

And it then became the target of mischievous Twitter users who spotted that any tweet containing ‘#cashgordon’ would be reused immediately on the site, regardless of what it contained. Within minutes, the site was filled with abusive messages and comments that were less than supportive of the party.

Shortly after, wags discovered that lines of computer code could also be included – and used those to link to porn, YouTube videos, malware and, finally, to redirect visitors to the Labour site.

The site – said to have cost £15,000 – was taken offline soon afterwards with visitors redirected to a page on the Conservative party site about Whelan.