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Ken Magill

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This Data-Card Disclaimer Says a Lot


By Ken Magill

Sometimes, just one sentence says it all.

Newt Gingrich earlier this month put his email-donor lists up for rent. As anyone reading this newsletter knows—or at least should know—renting email lists is a sure path to delivery troubles.

That is, unless the Gingrich campaign will send the messages on renters’ behalves.

Email from senders who haven’t received permission from recipients to send messages to them tends to—among other things—generate spam complaints, raising the risk that ISPs will filter the email as spam.

An email to TMA Direct, the firm managing Gingrich’s files, asking if steps have been taken to mitigate delivery troubles was not answered.

But a sentence on the data card for one of Gingrich’s lists says a lot.

The two lists, "Newt for President 2012 Email Donors and Activists" and "Newt for President 2012 Donors," offer a total universe of more than 338,000 people, according to data cards published by TMA Direct.

Gingrich's struggling bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is more than $4 million in debt, according to federal fund-raising figures for March the campaign submitted to the government Friday.

And as we all know, politicians don’t play by the same rules as the rest of us.

Actually, check that last thought. In email, politicians certainly do play by the same rules as the rest of us, even if they don’t act like it.

For example, Gingrich and Rick Santorum were both briefly blacklisted by Spamhaus in January.

Spamhaus’s executive director Steve Linford claims he and his fellow volunteers pay no attention to senders’ political affiliation in determining whether they’re spammers or not:

“I'm pretty sure we've at some point had on the SBL for spamming some politician from every party,” wrote Linford in a January email exchange with The Magill Report.

In any case, the data card for the “Newt for President 2012 Email Donors and Activists” list contains the following disclaimer:

“Gross billing only—must pay for records sent not records delivered.”

This isn’t to say that Gingrich’s file has no value to potential renters. It is to say, however, that even if TMA Direct is taking all the proper precautions, someone there is apparently aware of email marketing’s unique deliverability quirks.

Meanwhile on a far lighter note, while doing a vanity search on Google recently, I ran across a blog post containing one of my favorite sentences ever.

Over at, an April 11 post began: “I read something this week about email marketing (specifically about email list) that quite honestly made me have a paradigm shift of sorts.”

Ummm … I think they make ointment for that. Oh, and before you leave would you please turn on the fan and light a match?


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