What Marketers Can Learn From Maine’s Political Email Idiocy

It finally happened.
Politicians’ idiotic email practices had a measurable negative effect.

“Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster has admitted that the state party made numerous clerical errors in counting the state’s caucus results—even omitting some votes because emails reporting tallies ‘went to spam’ in an email account,” said the story on Politico.com last week.

We all know what happened, right? Maine’s reporting precincts sent email messages reporting the tallies. The messages didn’t bounce, resulting in assumptions they were delivered.

Ha ha, especially if you’re a Democrat, right? Well, the same thing is happening to you. A significant percentage of the email you think has been delivered probably “went to spam.”

According to multiple studies by email security and deliverability firm Return Path over the years, one on five email messages don’t get delivered into recipients’ inboxes.

Email inbox providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo! and Hotmail, are reportedly increasingly using engagement metrics such as opens and clicks to determine if incoming email is wanted or should be delivered into people’s spam folders.

As a result, even if a list is permission-based, if the folks on it are largely unengaged, the messages will begin increasingly landing in their spam folders. Even worse, the ISPs are apparently making these decisions on an individual-inbox basis.

So if the marketer’s messages are landing in people’s spam folders, the marketer isn’t likely to even know it.

Then there’s Spamhaus.

Multiple sources in a position to know have reported a significant recent uptick in blacklisting activities by the anti-spam outfit.

An email-service-provider executive who did not want to be named said Spamhaus began to get significantly more active in spring 2011.

“We don’t run into them all that often, but we have run into them more in the last six months than we had in the past,” said the executive.

If there’s one word that most aptly describes Ken Magill’s coverage of online marketing, it’s fearless. For more than a decade, Magill has built a reputation for calling it like he sees it no matter who may get offended. Some marketers read his column just to make sure they’re not in it. In a trade-publishing market populated mostly by vendor representatives who must watch what they say, Magill stands out as the one guy who says what he thinks. Moreover, he often writes what others are thinking, but are afraid to say. He can even be very funny.

Having been a direct marketer, and having covered online marketing since 1997 for DM News, Direct, Chief Marketer and Multichannel Merchant magazines, Magill offers a unique, informed perspective on the evolution of digital selling. He was also founding editor of trade weekly iMarketing News and Magilla Marketing, a newsletter dedicated to e-mail.

He is currently founding editor of the recently launched trade weekly email newsletter The Magill Report.

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Comments
  • chetdalzell

    Makes you wonder — if the vote tallies were landing in the spam folder (by the way, why are these official tallies not sent using secure FTP, with a telephoned confirmation?) — then how many previous emails must the state had been ignoring so that the ISP spam triggers were placing new mail there?