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Stupid Email Watch: Gingrich Appends Badly; DNCC Plays the Guilt Card


By Ken Magill

Just because he’s out of the race apparently doesn’t mean he can’t still abuse email.

My Gmail address received an email yesterday with the subject line: “Important Communication from Gingrich Productions.”

The body copy contained language indicating the email was part of an append—a bad one.

Email appending is supposed to be where a mailer supplies its postal customer file to a data vendor who matches email addresses to it and hands back the records with email addresses attached where possible.

Note the word “customer.”

“You are receiving this email because of your affiliation with Speaker Gingrich and American Solutions. If you would prefer to no longer receive email communications from Gingrich Productions, please see below,” the body copy of the append message began.

“In an effort to provide you with timely information on Gingrich Productions, we are requesting your permission to communicate with you via email,” the pitch continued.

First, this address was never affiliated with either Speaker Gingrich or American Solutions.

The address to which the message was sent has been signed up for some right-leaning lists, but none directly, or at least obviously, attached to Gingrich.

Also, Gingrich does not have my name on file as a donor, postal or otherwise.

So the Gingrich camp clearly did not go to a vendor and hand over their postal file of donors for an email append. It’s pretty clear they simply bought addresses from one or more conservative publishers or causes.

Second, the message never even hinted at why I might be interested in getting timely information on Gingrich Productions. What the hell is Gingrich Productions? What am I going to get and why will I want to get it?

The Gingrich camp has been blacklisted by Spamhaus at least once already. No one should be surprised if it happens again.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Campaign Committee sent me what has to be one of the clumsiest, creepiest fundraiser emails ever.

“Ken: Your supporter record,” the subject line said.

What followed could have been written better by my bank.

“Hi Ken --

“We’re reviewing our Democratic supporter records in advance of tomorrow’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) deadline. Your record is copied and pasted below:

“Supporter record: 5312732
“Name: Ken Magill
“2012 Online Support: Pending
“Suggested support: $3.00”

Apparently we can now add “pending” to “you” and “free” as one of the English language’s top selling words.

And while we’re at it, let’s add guilt to fear and greed as prime motivators for getting people to buy.

The pitch is similar to several I’ve seen over the course of my career developed by people in positions of power outside of the marketing department—usually in finance—who think they can do marketing’s job.

And if the pitch wasn’t cold and clunky enough already, it ended with the following:

“If you’ve made a contribution offline or our records are incorrect, and you have made a recent online donation, please click here to let us know.”

The link led to a form where respondents could fill out their personal information and explain why they thought they received the message in error.

Message to the DNCC: Please haul your accountants out of creative services and put them back in their cages.


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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: Janet Roberts
Date: 2012-07-03 17:43:16
Subject: Gingrich email

Why does Newt need to append when he has a perfectly good opt-in email database that he doesn't use?? (I know that because of a work project and NOT because I am rootin' for a Newtin'!