Defeated Presidential Candidate Spits In The Face of Email Marketing Best Practices And Violates Donor’s Privacy

by Robert Burko
3 mins read
Elite Digital

We all know that over the years politicians have developed a less than stellar reputation. But, in the back of my mind, even through all the scandals, mud slinging and broken promises, I’d like to believe that deep down inside the key political figures of our time can still in some sense lead by example. As it turns out, especially from the perspective of an email marketing guy, that is not true.Elite Email has learned that defeated Presidential Candidate New Gingrich is actually selling the email database of his donors in an effort to dig his campaign out of the $4 million debt.Personally, I am disgusted by this because I cannot believe someone who was vying for the Presidency of the United States could so easily turn their back on supporters. I mean, if Newt Gingrich could not follow the privacy policy on his website (see below), how could he possibly have been in charge of foreign policy for America?!The privacy policy on his campaign website says:

“We are committed to protecting your privacy online.”

Clearly they are not trying very hard! The campaign is selling the donor database (complete with email address and other personal details) through a brokerage firm named TMA Direct. What this means is that anyone who donated to the Newt 2012 campaign is going to have their information exposed and will likely start receiving a lot more spam. Moreover, this spam will be of the worst kind because the database isn’t just your email address, it’s your other personal details, too.To make matters worse, the Gingrich campaign is also doing “email appending”. What this means is that if you donated to the campaign, but did NOT give your email address, they can still use all your other personal information to get your email address. Once they have that, they bundle it all together and sell your complete record.This is covered by this part of the campaign’s privacy policy:

“We may obtain information about you from outside sources and add it to or combine it with the information we collect”

This is really a bad practice that all email markers frown upon because it means that even though you didn’t give your email address to the campaign and definitely did not provide consent to receive emails, they can still email you…. and now they are selling your data!You can read our full press release here: of the first things we teach anyone who is working at Elite Email is about permission mailing lists, opt-in, and consent. We ensure that everyone here understands what “email marketing best practices” are, what the “spam laws” are, and how we can ensure the integrity of our network by only sending legitimate email marketing campaigns so they can teach & coach our customers. It is terrible to see a political candidate completely balk at all of this and do something so blatantly against the rules.I understand that political campaigns are expensive, and I understand that the Gingrich campaign being in debt is not good news for then… but sacrificing the privacy of your donors as a remedy to me is way way over the line.As one last little tidbit of interesting information…. the price that is being charged for your data is actually higher if you were a “big donor” and lower if you were a “small donor”.

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