Dean Missteps

Yesterday, I mentioned Howard Dean’s campaign as a leading force in the use of the Internet for campaigning. Today, I discovered the dark side of that campaigning effort and its name is SPAM. Checking my inbox, I noticed an incongruous message entitled Important message from Gov. Howard Dean. The message was largely incongruous because I have not signed up with any of Dean’s online or offline effort. However, since I had written a story about their campaign on the blog, I initially though that maybe they were monitoring blogs (through Technorati or a similar mechanism) and might send automated messages of thanks, which would explain the kind of reception the Dean campaign is getting in the blogosphere.

But that was not it. Instead it was spam. How do I know it was spam? Well, several reasons.

First of all, the email was sent to an address I used a long time ago to register a product. That email database was apparently resold and I have never received any legitimate email on it.

The next thing that alerted me to spam was the following message at the beginning of their email:

EmailResults.net is sending you this special message from Gov. Howard Dean as part of the terms of service/membership agreed to when you signed up with http://www.sportskill.com. Please follow the instructions at the end of this message if you prefer to not receive these special offers in the future.

Sportskill.com? This is a site that I probably would never visit (as it only offers fantasy sports leagues, a subject in which I have no interest). So, somehow, this site acquired a spam email address and is now distributing messages in support of Governor Dean.

I’d be interested in knowing whether the message was sent by Sportskill.com on its own or was agreed upon by the Dean campaign. If the latter is true (as the line Paid for by Dean for America at the end of the message seems to suggest), I would like to make sure that the Dean campaign is aware that spamming is NOT OK in the online world.

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