Salsa Blog

Santorum Now Also Means Spammer

by Brett Schenker, Senior Deliverability Manager, Salsa

I usually don’t spotlight a Republican’s online activities but it’s so easy to do when that activity is so very bad. Chatter hit the tubes recently that Rick Santorum’s email program has suddenly been emailing non-opted in email addresses. The three people who raised the issue are all hardcore Democrats and swear they didn’t opt-in. Clearly the surging Republican candidate’s email list has been growing in some rather non-organic ways.

Speculation has abounded a list was bought, but there’s numerous scenarios by which this could of happened.

  1. A list was bought – there’s a chance of this, but no proof
  2. A list append – list brokers will sell you email addresses you can append to data you already have. While this isn’t as bad as buying, it still makes me wince.
  3. List fell off a truck – we all do it…
  4. Vote File – email addresses can often be found in voter files and it’s very possible the data was dumped to be added to their blast list.

All of these are bad scenarios, some worse than others, because in none of these instances have individuals opt-ed in to receive email from you. But in the case of Santorum, there’s a good chance this’ll impact his greater email program. If they’re really sending to hardcore Democrats there’s a good chance those individuals are marking the emails as spam. The more individuals that mark email as spam, the more likely it’ll get discarded into spam folders. That’ll make it more difficult to get email into the inbox and before their supporter’s eyes.

Non-opted in lists often have lower open rates, lower click rates, higher spam responses, overall it’s not worth the investment.

You can see what I said about this subject in an earlier post.

Update: Ahh the power of Twitter. We’ve found out from a non-political person exactly where these emails are coming from, screen scrapes. List harvesters have bots that crawl the internet looking for email addresses and in the case of our source, that’s the only place their work email was present. This is especially bad as companies charged with fighting spam use a technique called spam traps. A spam trap is an email address purposely left out in the wild for this reason. They’ll never be organic and can only be gained through nefarious methods. When you set off the spam trap by emailing them you’re informing the spam monitoring service your list isn’t clean and you’ll often be flagged and blacklisted.

Topics: Marketing