Results of Not One Damn Dime Day?

Not One Damn Dime Day urged people to spend "not one damn dime" on inauguration day, Jan 20 2005, to protest the Bush administration's Iraq war policy and to demand that dissenting voices be heard. You can read the email which roared around the blogosphere at -- below we analyze the results. How did Not One Damn Dime Day go? One measure of success is the amount of press attention. We got into 250 newspapers, and made 40 radio and TV appearances, reaching an estimated 40 million people. If one in ten participated, that makes 4 million participants.

And that doesn't include the number of people who were reached only by email. The Not One Damn Dime (NODD) email probably reached another 40 million people and recruited another 4 million participants. Subtracting out some overlap, our estimate is 5 million to 8 million participants.

We're trying to better estimate the number of participants via a survey run by Bentley College. Please spend ten minutes answering the survey so we can have some solid answers for the press on our numbers. And please ask other participants to respond at

You can see below the number of people who responded online to commit to participating - 16,000 as of Jan. 20. Their reasons for participating are laid out in our blog.

Political Effects?

The effect of NODD on political leaders is much harder to tabulate. We can safely assume they heard of the Inauguration Day protests, which were the largest protests of any inauguration in U.S. history. Any political leader who listened is now aware that there are millions of people dissenting against the Iraq War.

Our goal was to raise awareness on two issues:

  1. There are millions of people who dissent from the Bush administration policy in Iraq; and
  2. We will be heard by economic power because our political leaders won't speak for us.
I think we accomplished both of those goals. Senator Ted Kennedy this week joined several U.S.House members in calling for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq -- I think they were emboldened to make that call because of the massive protests on Inauguration Day.

Contrary to many objectors' opinions, NODD never had any economic goals. A boycott cannot have any economic effect in one day -- they require weeks or months. If shutting down small businesses for one day had a real economic effect, this week's snowstorms would have caused bankruptcy filings by the dozens. NODD was a POLITICAL protest that used an economic boycott as a method and a symbol.

Revealed: Who Started It?

Many people -- especially the press -- wanted to know who started the NODD email. We hereby solve this mystery.

Pete Smith is a communications professional from Minnesota who has long been concerned with encroaching corporatism and its effects on government and media. He is especially concerned with corporate media's suffocating effect on the national dialogue.

"In America today," he says, "money talks while the government and corporate media systematically silence and ignore those who dissent."

He finds the war in Iraq to be especially galling.

Smith sees the Internet as the one medium where corporate control has yet to completely unbalance news coverage and quash dissent. He is especially fascinated by its ability to deliver a message to tens of millions of people in a hurry.

He wrote "Not One Damn Dime" on December 7th and sent it to a handful of friends the same day. "I remember it quite clearly," Smith says. "It was just after breakfast on December 7th, 2004. Cold. Dreary. The election had come. The election had gone. It looked like our long national nightmare was going to go on another four years, and I was still feeling a bit fragile. So I sat down at the computer, opened Outlook Express, and dashed off a quick email to 80 million people around the planet...."

For readers with an insatiable curiosity, Pete has answered the FAQ questions that we posed on the website:

Q. Who made up NODDD?

A. I did. In my home office. After breakfast on 12/7/04.

Q. What organizations are backing you?

A. Nobody.

Q.Isn't this internet-based protest a form of not really doing anything?

A. There is a deep well of pent-up frustration at work in America today. There is also a deep-seated sense of futility. Corporate media won't cover protests (case in point, the minimalization of the D.C. protests on Inauguration Day). From the beginning, main stream (corporate) media has given those who oppose the Bush Administration short shrift. If there is anyone who is not really doing anything, it is corporate media. That said, if this Internet-based protest does nothing more than foster a sense of community among those who disagree with the war in Iraq, it will have done something really important.

Q. Why do you care about this?

A. I'm a political junkie, as well as a media junkie. I resent the way the electorate, the politicians and the press were manipulated in the run-up to the war in Iraq. I especially resent the Democrat's acquiescence and the media's failures. More than 1300 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead because the Democrats and the media would not stand up and say "bullshit."

I care because there seems to be an assumption among the media moguls that the people - the "great unwashed," if you will - are stupid, gullible and easy to manipulate. Internet protests like this prove them wrong.

I care because I am a Vietnam veteran (non combat). I volunteered to go. My contemporaries, the men who drummed up the war in Iraq did not.

Q. Why an economic protest?

A. In America, money is the only thing that talks.

Q. Why spread it by the Internet?

A. There was no other way.

Q. Why keep your identity secret?

A. I didn't. I sent out the email and went about my life. The next I heard of it was on my local Air America radio show, talking about the website

What's Next?

Many people concluded from NODD that an email campaign is a good means of organizing protests in the future. We are planning a similar protest on April 15 which we'll call "Not One Damn Dime Day - Part Deux." Please contribute a comment on the website if you want to offer suggestions about the details. Please sign up on the website and you'll get the original email from there.

Many people complained about the economic effect of a general boycott on small business. We will pick a protest method on April 15 that more directly targets political leaders instead of targeting small business. We will also design a protest method that allows for counting the number of participants more readily, while still an easy-to-do protest.

But mostly we need YOU. Your participation in Not One Damn Dime Day was the reason the press noticed. Your forwarding the email to your friends and colleagues made it impossible to ignore. We're asking the same thing for April 15 -- . With millions of us acting together, we can take back America from the corporations and the politicians!

What were the final counts?

We have several ways to count participation -- both direct and indirect.

Method #1: Direct commitment to participation by signing website petition

These counts are as of the end of the week of Inauguration Day. Some people responded after Inauguration Day. Click here to see the current counts.

Method #2: Direct small-scale participation by viewing website

            DamnDime  RedCent    Posted   
    Date    HomePage  HomePage   Comments
----------  --------  --------   --------
Wed Dec 22      116      49         36    
Wed Dec 29      318     101         55     
Mon Jan 3       550     236        107     
Tue Jan 4     1,031     298        169     
Wed Jan 5     1,136     190        185    
Thu Jan 6     1,107     228        187    
Fri Jan 7     1,195     233        190    
Sat Jan 8     1,216     170        241    
Sun Jan 9     1,665     284        247    
Mon Jan 10    3,888     466        603    
Tue Jan 11   17,762     468      3,066    
Wed Jan 12  >13,893    >401     >1,258    
Thu Jan 13   Viewership counter broken
Wed Jan 14   >8,598    >309       >861    
Sat Jan 15   Viewership counter broken
Sun Jan 16   >6,901    >321       >918    
Mon Jan 17   14,771     676      1,516     
Tue Jan 18   24,331     921      2,372     
Wed Jan 19   46,708   1,508      4,831     
Thu Jan 20   41,306   1,684      3,985
Fri Jan 21    8,851     355        506
Symbol ">" indicates the viewership counter was partially counting that day (due to a broken counter or in-progress day), and the daily total is an unknown number greater than the numbers shown.

Method #3: Survey of website participants

Method #4: Extrapolation of survey results

    Extrapolations are estimates based on the limited information from the survey results above. These are the best estimates of NODD participation available. Contact Jesse Gordon for methodology.

  1. 200 million to 210 million emails were sent about NODD (based on survey ratios and TV/radio estimates).

  2. That translates to about 40-45 million different people who heard about it by email. (based on survey’s average number of email receipts)

  3. 30-35 million heard about it on TV/radio/newspaper (based on our summing of viewership/listenership/readership, minus some duplication).

  4. With substantial overlap between those two groups, the total number of individuals who heard about the boycott is about 50-55 million. (1 in 5 Americans, which jives with anecdotal evidence).

  5. We estimate a participation rate of about 4% by those who heard about it (based on participation commitment rate on this website).

  6. Therefore we estimate a total participation nationwide of about 2 million people.

  7. The economic impact was a total delayed spending of $81 million (based on conclusion #6 multipled by survey of average decreased spending).

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