In early August of last year, now official Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden flubbed a message he was trying to make. Instead of saying "Text 3033," he told people "Go to Joe 30330." After much confusion, Biden later cleared things up on CBS News, "Instead of saying 'Joe' I would've said 'text.' I was so focused on making the case for Joe, I said 'Joe' when I gave the number. It was text, so you know, I would have changed that. But you guys have printed it 15 times and it's getting great results for us now."
So what DOES happen when you text 30330?
We tried it ourselves. Basically it's just a way to support Biden's campaign and register to vote, but it originally stemmed from asking supporters to contribute $3 to Biden's campaign. "Thanks for joining Team Joe! Can we get your NAME? Reply STOP to quit, HELP for info, Msg&DataRatesMayApply. Recurring Msgs." I replied, "Gina," and the bot messaged back, "Thanks! And what's your EMAIL ADDRESS & ZIP?" and that is where we'll stop, but you get the idea.
Here's what happens when you text "VOTE" which should walk you through the registration process once you give the bot your zip code.
Back in early August, the automated text that people got was actually "Glad you made it here! We're happy to have you on Team Joe. Now we need to keep up the momentum from the debate. Can you chip in $3 in the next 03 hours and 30 minutes to elect Joe Biden and defeat Donald Trump?" Hence the "30330." Later on, the campaign sent an email blast saying, "We'll be honest. We've spent all morning brainstorming ideas for a clever email to send you about 30330. ... The funny part is we text Joe all the time about emails like this."
You can watch Biden botch the 30330 message here:
"30330" quickly became a movement — one that Biden's team probably wasn't exactly ready for. A guy named Josh Fayer bought the domain for joe30330.com, and when you go to it, you're redirected to another site and see that it's Josh running for president. His statement on the site reads, "The American people are fed up with 'business as usual' in Washington. We need honest leadership to renew our confidence in government from the ground up."
And just in case it's not clear, Josh is not actually running for president. The 21-year-old Syracuse University student told USA Today that his campaign was a joke. The site reads, "Hey! If Joe Biden sent you here, we just want to make something clear: we're not affiliated with any presidential campaign. We're just having some good fun (maybe a little bit at the expense of Joe) :)." Probably someone on Biden's team should have thought of buying the 30330 domain first, but alas.
Now, 30330 has made a comeback and even Michelle Obama herself has urged people to text "VOTE" to 30330 so that you can register.
If we want to end the chaos and division—and keep alive the possibility of progress on the issues we hold dear—we’ve got to vote for @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris like our lives depend on it. Register today by texting VOTE to 30330. https://t.co/xPu5o0SYLJ— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) August 18, 2020
Others have spread the word, urging others to text 30330 to not only register, but get voting updates in their state.
If you do want to continue your support for Biden this election, you can actually text 30330 (for real), and you CAN use the service to register to vote if you haven't already. Also make sure you actually vote come November (although it's been recommended you mail your ballot in earlier this year, due to Trump's decision to defund the U.S. Postal Service mere months away from the presidential election.