I’ve heard from three different people today that they’ve suddenly ended up on Rick Santorum’s email list — WITHOUT signing up or opting in. In one case, the address (and the name associated with it) were only used to sign up for websites, not for actual communications.
If it’s true that Santorum’s campaign bought a list, that’s very bad form — first, it means he’s functionally spamming people, since they didn’t ASK to get information from him. Second, a purchased list isn’t too likely to yield good results, and this example shows why: all three of the people in question are progressives/Democrats, NOT folks who are going to be backing the former Senator from Pennsylvania with the un-Googleable name. I.e., the money he spent on their addresses — and likely many others — is utterly wasted.
Here’s how you’re supposed to do it — instead of buying a list, you buy ACCESS to a list. I.e., you pay the list owner to let you send a message to the members asking them to sign up to support your campaign. This way, you only get people who actually care about your campaign, and you’re not paying for wasted addresses. And, you’re not sending people messages they’re likely to treat as spam! Remember, the more of your messages that get marked as spam on Yahoo, Google, et al, the less likely your other messages are to make it through the filters. In this case, though, it sounds like Santorum may have just purchased addresses in bulk and is throwing emails at them and hoping for the best. Prediction: an exceptionally low Return On Investment, and deservedly so. Bad, bad Rick!
Update: here’s an earlier report on the same subject.