11/07/2007

Nick Clegg wins the e-mail battle over Chris Huhne

I have been rather busy this week and have not been that diligent in checking my e-mails. I sat down this evening to go through all my e-mails from various e-mail accounts and was surprised to have received an e-mail from Nick Clegg on Monday, but not from Chris Huhne.

So I sat down to write an e-mail to the Lib Dems asking if the party was giving preferential treatment to one candidate over another. Before I got more than two lines in to my e-mail, I realised I ought to read all my mail and check that I hadn't received one from Chris Huhne too. After close examination, no I hadn't. So I started to write more of my e-mail, and then I realised I had a few e-mails in my Spam filter, which I hadn't checked.

And what did I find ? Microsoft Outlook had decided that the e-mail from Chris was Spam, but the one from Nick was not !

I wonder how many others have had the same thing happen. I know there are plenty of people who ignore what is in their Spam filter and never check it.

Is Nick Clegg's team doing something clever to avoid the Spam filter or has Chris' team done something wrong ? Either way, one nil to Nick Clegg in the e-mail battle.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you see this? In the comments section there's even an explanation from Martin Tod.

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

So who gets your vote in the two-horse race?

Paul Walter said...

Both emails were sent out by Cowley Street and I received one a minute later than the other Nich. Spam filters are notoriously idiosyncratic. I think the title of your post is rather unjustified.

Paul Walter said...

Nich, here's confirmation that both emails were sent out by the Cowley street party organisation - this is at the bottom of both emails:

"Published and promoted by and on behalf of Liberal Democrats, 4 Cowley Street, London, SW1P 3NB, (020) 7222 7999. Dispatched (printed) by Connectpoint Direct, 19B Quay Street, Manchester M3 3HN.

As part of the Liberal Democrats leadership election, the party is sending out emails on behalf of the candidates to all voting members for whom there is an email address in our membership records. "

Jock Coats said...

Ironic really, since Nick's was the one full of ghastly images and Chris's the plain text one.

Norfolk Blogger said...

As Mr Anonymous points out, Martin Tod had the same thing happen too.

I had not seen Martin's story before now.

Joe Otten said...

I would guess that it is down to Bayesian filtering and that spammers have not learned to use the word verve.

Chris clearly should have said Gadarene again.

Mark Pack said...

Yup, both emails were sent out by Cowley Street (me).

We sent out the message as submitted by the campaigns, using the same data list and the same software, servers etc so that the campaigns were treated as equally and fairly as possible.

All the variations in delivery I've seen (e.g. one getting trapped as spam and the other not) were down to different design decisions by the campaigns rather than differences in how we did the sending. That said, if anyone has any evidence of problems beyond that, please let me know ASAP as we are due to do two more of these during the campaign and I'm keen to ensure we provide a level playing field to the campaigns.

Martin said...

As mentioned elsewhere, it was the use of 'Dear Friend' that did it.

If you look in the headers of each you'll find:

Nick's spam score

X-SpamScore: 1.6 tests= HELO_DYNAMIC_DHCP HTML_MESSAGE RDNS_DYNAMIC

Chris's spam score

X-SpamScore: 4.3 tests= DEAR_FRIEND HELO_DYNAMIC_DHCP HTML_MESSAGE RDNS_DYNAMIC

Clearly we all need to do some work on what triggers higher spam scores...

ZanderLibra said...

I recieved both Emails in my spam folder at my orange email account.

Huhne one was in text format while Clegg was professional looking HTML sytle with what looked like possible tracking hyperlinks (used for email marketing to find roughly where most people link from).

whether it is preferential treatment or not, I don't know.

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