Political Spam, The New Menace
The US Federal Election Commission approved the exemption of e-mail for political campaigning
purposes in March, 2006. With the mid-term elections fast approaching in November, voters can now
expect their mail boxes to be bombarded by a lot of unsolicited political spam.
The change in election rules now allow affluent people to put more and more money into Internet
communications with no need whatsoever to disclose their identity or total expenditure. According
to Max Fose of Integrated Web Strategy - a company selling e-mail addresses to political campaigns,
"It gives an enormous opportunity for political campaigns."
There could be a flood of funds from the likes of trade associations, companies, political action
committees and wealthy people which could be used to bombard voters with e-mails. A lot of
questions are being raised regarding the effectiveness of such campaigns.
As Jim Jordan from Thunder Road Group, a political consultancy points out, "I can't imagine this
will be a particularly effective method of getting out the vote. It is spam after all, and there
are few things that annoy us more than spam."
Critics feel that the act of flooding voter's inboxes with such unsolicited electronic messages
would possibly affect the candidate's prospects. At a time when people are already incensed with
spam, such a ploy could possibly mar the chances of the candidate's victory.
The election two years ago was the first time that a national list of registered voters was
cross-referenced with e-mail addresses acquired from magazine subscribers, catalog shoppers and
online poll participants. More than 25 million e-mail addresses of registered voters were sold.
Voter Contact Services, which compiles lists of registered users and matches them with e-mail
addresses, foresees its e-mail sales doubling to more than 20 percent of its business this year.
SonicWall Inc. estimates that more than 1.25 billion political e-mails were sent to registered
voters in 2004 alone. Mary McEvoy, spokeswoman for SonicWall predicts that for the 2008
Presidential race, "There could be an exponential increase in the number of unsolicited political
Related article: Political Campaigning in San Diego Using Spam Technique
» SPAMfighter News - 12-06-2006