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Stupid Politico Watch: Obama's 'Commodity'

By Ken Magill
The American political class’s profound ignorance of how email marketing works surfaced once again last week in an article on The Hill headlined: “Obama, Clinton tensions build over email lists ahead of 2016.”
“At issue is the fate of the political equivalent of gold dust — the enormous email list, comprised of many millions of supporters and donors, that the Obama team has compiled over the course of his two presidential campaigns,” said the piece.
“The Clinton camp would dearly love to get its hands on the list, but there is no promise as yet that the president’s aides will comply.
“There are ‘large concerns’ about the lists among Clinton supporters, one Hillary ally told The Hill.
“To the Clintons and their friends, it’s near unthinkable that a Democratic president — who has plenty of reasons to want a member of his party to succeed him — would withhold such a valuable commodity.”
Commodity: “noun; a raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold, such as copper or coffee.”
That is decidedly not the definition of a permission-based email list of presumably fervent supporters of a particular political candidate.
The Clintons angered a lot of African Americans during Hillary’s primary campaign against Obama in 2008. As a result, she’s got some work to do to win over an important part of the Democrat base.
Somehow, spamming a list that presumably has a high percentage of African Americans on it does not seem like a wise way to mend fences with such a crucial group of voters to Democrats.
That American politicians are spammers should surprise no one. After all, they exempted themselves from even the admittedly low-bar CAN-SPAM Act.
Thing is, when lawmakers exempt themselves from laws they force on everyone else, usually it works to their advantage.
But not with email. Just because their messages are legal does not mean they get delivered. And I can personally attest that the vast majority of the political email I receive gets delivered into my spam folder.
Email inbox providers’ top priority is delivering email people want and diverting to spam folders or blocking altogether email people don’t want.
The politics of the sender matter not a whit when it comes to email deliverability.
One would think the email service providers sending email on behalf of political causes and candidates would educate the senders on the inadvisability of sending unsolicited email. Or maybe they are and their wisdom is falling on deaf ears.
Someone at Obama’s ESP, Blue State Digital, needs to explain to Hillary’s camp that if he wants to show support for her—not a given—the Obama camp will send emails to his supporters on Clinton’s behalf.
Meanwhile, I fed my email address yesterday into to see what would happen. I received no confirmation message, but have received a solicitation for money. Why am I not surprised?

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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: Andrew Barrett
Date: 2015-01-27 16:32:38
Subject: It is indeed falling on deaf ears.

Both parties at all levels of government are absolutely horrible at swapping lists. They really don't understand why this is such a bad idea. During the campaign to re-elect, Blue State Digital was listed by Spamhaus for sending to such lists. Many of them are collected legitimately, but may only get mailed to in bursts around the end of a political cycle - which can be 2 to 4 years. And then they get shared among other candidates of the same party, but often for races the recipient isn't even eligible to vote in. It's a mess for sure. And when you try to drop a clue in their ears, they scream First Amendment protections, just like hardcore spammers used to, back in the day. It's so bad that some bigger names in the ESP space will not take on political campaigns as customers.