Political ads: Insuring your message gets across. Literally.

Centrist Messenger How It Works SnippetHere’s a brilliant idea: Centrist Messenger let’s you buy political ads with a money-back guarantee. You pay only if your preferred candidate wins. If the other candidate wins, you get your money back.

Centrist Messenger backs the guarantee with contracts purchased from intrade, in the same way that Priceline backs its “Sunshine Guarantee” with contracts from WeatherBill. (So presumably fully insured ads cost about twice as much as uninsured ads.)

In addition, the ads you buy can’t be too partisan:

Centrist Messages can … make strong advocacy of a position and candidate. However, this advocacy cannot demonize the other side, focus solely on personality, or make false representations of the candidates’ positions.

I’ll add Centrist Messenger to WeatherBill, Priceline, Yoonew, and FirstDIBZ (was TicketReserve) as companies fashioning creative ways to package and sell “markets in uncertainty” in the US amid a challenging legal and regulatory landscape.

What other useful and/or fun ways can you imagine re-packaging gambles as either insurance or contingent goods? Here are some of my own brainstorms:

  • Buy a ticket to a sporting event whose cost is refunded if your team loses.
  • Buy a “streak ticket”: entitles you to a ticket to the next game as long as your team keeps winning. (Variant: “K-loss ticket” entitles you to tickets until your team loses K times.)
  • Buy a “playoff run ticket” which gives you tickets, flights, hotel, etc. for the duration of your team’s playoff run. In other words, as long as your team keeps winning, you keep getting tickets, hotel, and flight to the next game. You may be able to buy this at the beginning of the season cheaply since it’s worth nothing if your team does not make the playoffs.
  • Buy “price drop” insurance: If that precious electronic gadget you just bought (read: iPhone) drops in price within N days, get K times your money back.

One thought on “Political ads: Insuring your message gets across. Literally.”

  1. David, I’m very interesed in the brainstorming comments re: repackaging other insurance/contingent goods. I’m very new to prediction markets but am seeing the light as to how powerful they are! Are there any conditions or requirements that make the PM function with more accuracy like a certain level of traffic or participation to create a critical mass? Worried that if we launch one it might not get enought traffic.
    Thanks in advance.

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