Wesley Clark Redux

BACK WHEN I FIRST STARTED WRITING THIS COLUMN I reported on the strange doings at the Wesley Clark campaign when it came to how the general was marketing himself on the Internet as part of his bid to grab the Democratic presidential nomination. A little sidebar here: Nowhere on his site or in any of his emails do you see the name Wesley. It's always Wes. I know because I just looked all over his emails and site to make sure I spelled Wesley correctly. It reminds me of that classic movie, "A Face in the Crowd," where Andy Griffith convinces a stuffy (and bald) politician to go by the nickname of Curley to make him seem more friendly to the voters. It seems that Wes was using freebie email newsletters like Fabulous Free Stuff to drive traffic to his web site. Below is an example pulled directly from one of these emails that went out on Nov. 22, 2003:

Go here for a chance to win a 42" Plasma Television!
Look Here
Join the Only Candidate who can Beat Bush!
Look Here
Register Free And Save On LandOLakes Butter, Kids Meals, Betty Crocker items, Department Stores and others!
Look Here

Well, it appears the Clark group is at it again. This time selling, or giving away, the names of people who originally signed up to receive the Clark For President newsletter to other groups. As many of you know we track thousands of mailing lists using thousands of unique email addresses, so that we can monitor when one group sells our name to someone else. So far, the Clark for President mailing list has sold our name twice. In both cases the emails were never identified as being associated with the Clark for President mailing list. And in both cases, the emails were not Can-Spam compliant, in that they did not include a valid postal address to be removed from their mailing list. On May 17, we received an email from Billionaires For Bush, a satirical outfit that has been known to gather here in New York at Grand Central Station dressed like Thurston Howell III. In the email, which contained no postal address as required by the Can-Spam bill, I was invited by "The Esteemed Phil T. Rich" to join the Billionaires For Bush's "Billionaires Ball (a spring bling k'ching thing)". The email was sent by billionairesforbush.com, which is a domain registered to an Andrew Boyd of Brooklyn. I just got off the phone with Andrew, who told me his organization is a "many-Hydra-headed beast" and he had no idea where they would have gotten our Wes Clark email address but he would check it out.

On Tuesday, June 15, we received an email from Congressman Charles Rangel on the same email address asking us to asking us to join Rangel for a "Four Star Salute" to Wes Clark as part of a fund-raising benefit for the Rangel Re-election committee. Again, other than the nod to Wes Clark as being the honoree, there was no indication that this email was sent as a result of having signed up the Clark for President newsletters. This time it came in from an organization called "charlierangel.org," the domain of which is owned by a group called Complete Campaigns.com LLC. Again, this email was not Can-Spam compliant and in fact wasn't even properly QA'd (quality assurance): one of the graphics didn't show up because the link to it was bad. I placed a call into the Rangel organization and am waiting to hear from both they and the Billionaires for Bush on how they got hold of our email address. If I don't hear back by the time this goes to press, I'll report back next week on what they said.

The Complete Campaigns LLC organization is an interesting group for the Charlie Rangel committee to be involved with. They sell marketing software and services to politicians. A quick Google search showed that their services were also used by a group raising money to block the CBS Reagan docudrama, which eventually ran on Showtime and to raise money to defeat Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in his recall election against Arnold Schwarzenegger.

If they now own my email address, I can't wait to see what is going to pop over the email transom next. Politics does make for strange interactive bedfellows.

Recommend (2) Print RSS