Marco Rubio became furious with Google because his fundraising emails were going to spam. Turns out his email was misconfigured


from stop spamming department

Over the past few months, we’ve covered a ridiculous situation where Republicans are trying to force their spam into your inboxes. It started with a study that some Republicans misinterpreted (or deliberately misinterpreted) to claim that Google was “censoring” their political postings. This study showed that for a brand new untrained mailbox, Google would send more GOP campaign mailings to spam compared to Democrats. However, it also showed that the reverse was true for other major email providers and Yahoo Mail. Perhaps more importantly, it showed that if the user just did a little training on Gmail’s spam filter, this problem went away. Additionally, the study did not take into account the differences in tone, style and content of Republican and Democratic emails.

And yet…if you talk to Republicans, you’d think that was the biggest problem of all time. Of course, last week the NY Times may have uncovered the real root cause for this (although it didn’t connect the two): donations to Republicans have plummeted. There are probably many reasons for this. It could be the tight economy. It could be that more and more people realize that the Republicans no longer mean anything beyond stupid culture wars. It could be that, for all the fun it is to “own the libs”, now that the Supreme Court has dismantled a variety of rights and protections, people are waking up with a bit of a hangover and realizing that it’s not is not the case. what they really wanted. There are plenty of reasons this could be the case, but Republicans — prodded by Republicans’ favorite spamming agency, Targeted Victory — decided it must be because Google is spamming their emails. .

Thus, they do everything they can to force their spam into your inbox. This includes the introduction of an actual law that says email providers can no longer divert politicians’ emails to spam. Google, possibly fearing an upcoming GOP administration, folded like a cheap card table and demanded that the Federal Election Commission allow them to whitelist politicians’ emails. The FEC has been inundated with comments about this proposal, with almost all shouting that they don’t want it. It’s still entirely possible that the FEC will approve the program, because the demand on the FEC is really about whether or not it’s an unfair contribution to the campaign, not whether or not people want no more political spam in their inbox.

And, yes, it’s political spam. As we’ve noted many times, Republicans in recent years have really embraced extremely spammy techniques that seem to be much more focused on separating gullible rubies from their money, including tricking them into involuntarily manufacturing recurrent donations (perhaps another reason their fans are less interested in donating this time around). We also covered how a Republican candidate tricks people into donating to his campaign by pretending he’s sending emails on behalf of more famous candidates like Trump or DeSantis.

In short: Republicans are spamming, pushing historically unpopular ideas, and ripping off their base. But, rather than solving all that, they want to force people to see their spam emails in their inbox.

Last week, the Washington Post ran an in-depth article on all of this with some pretty revealing anecdotes. It covers various meetings and sessions where clueless GOP politicians yell at Google without realizing how much they’re talking about themselves. Most notable: Marco Rubio was apparently absolutely furious with Google…until someone realized that the person they were paying to handle their email hadn’t set up their email correctly, and this was the problem:

The strongest rebuke, attendees said, came from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who claimed that no emails from any of his addresses were reaching inboxes. The reason, it was later determined, was that a provider had not enabled an authentication tool that prevents messages from being marked as spam, according to people briefed on the discussions. Rubio’s campaign manager Mark Morgan said the issue also forced Google to perform a reset on its end. Google’s Castañeda said such resets are common practice once senders adhere to best practices.

The article doesn’t go into detail, but it looks like Rubio’s spam operation didn’t set up a DKIM/DMARC authentication setup. I know this upsets a lot of people. Hell, this is something we had to deal with at Techdirt after realizing that Google was sending a lot of our emails to spam. But, rather than complaining about “bias” against us, we explored the details and figured out how to fix our email setup.

Also notable in WaPo history? The fact that it was Republican-motivated favored the spamming company, Targeted Victory. We wrote a story suggesting that they were behind all this moral panic and the WaPo story, by the way, more or less confirms it:

Coby, of the Senate GOP campaign arm, and Zac Moffatt, CEO of Targeted Victory, was in attendance, which some attendees thought was unusual for a political luncheon..

Well yes. Normally, your campaign spam provider doesn’t show up at a political luncheon. Unless your campaign’s spam provider is so fuck their jobthat they should go blame Google rather than admit that their spammy fundraising tactics are failing because more and more people are fed up with spam.

But, honestly, throughout the article, the only feeling you get over and over again is that Republicans have an amazing sense of entitlement combined with an incredible ignorance of how basic technology works. Add to that a lack of concern for the truth, and you get nonsense like this:

Some were unconvinced by the company’s responses. “What Google is saying is wrong,” Moffatt told the Post, accusing the company of seeking to “divert attention from the proven problem of unfair filtering.” … Now that there have been independent third-party confirmations, they are scrambling to come up with a half-baked solution that is completely unworkable.

Coby, in a statement, said voters who sign up to receive campaign emails “should receive 100% of the emails unless they unsubscribe or mark the email as spam. “.

“That’s not what’s happening on Gmail. They choose to actively block GOP emails even if the voter hasn’t taken those steps,” he added. it tells you it only blocks emails when a voter marks it as spam or unsubscribes.” (Google doesn’t say this, actually describing a series of factors that go into spam filtering, such as suspicious links and phrases, in addition to user behavior.)

These very unserious people are so convinced that they are victims of a conspiracy that they even make up what Google is trying to explain to them as to why their spam is classified as spam.

The line “Google is lying if they tell you…” is hilarious and revealing. Google never said that. That’s what an unserious and very stupid person claims to have said because he can’t accept the fact that his own company sucks what it does and that its customers are crazy. So now he has convinced them that Google is to blame because their customers are even more ignorant. It’s nonsense all the way down.

Hilariously, this situation has gotten so stupid that pretty much the only people who think Google is deliberately blocking email are Republican politicians. As I was finishing this article, I saw that Erick Erickson, a very right-wing/Republican supportive commentator, had a whole Substack article complaining about the same thing, and noting that this is all an attempt by the anti consultants -Spam Republicans to lay the blame on their own shitty email practices.

The GOP consulting class is pushing the mythology that Google and Apple flag their emails because tech companies hate Republicans. I spent a week on the phone with many Republican consultants, including campaign-related ones whose emails arrive in my inbox. They all tell me the same thing – the problem is not Google or Apple, but the GOP consulting class.

He posts several screenshots of his own email inbox, which is basically full of Republican political spam that he never subscribed to, and points out how these are just terrible email practices by the Republican campaigns and their “digital” consultants.

These are not examples of Google abusing Republican email. This is an example of Republican consultants abusing the emails they have access to and Google and Apple protecting their users from spam.

Unfortunately, the Republican consultants have the ears of their leaders and their solution is to pressure Google and Apple to let all spam go through. They’re selling elected Republicans the idea that Google is infamously blocking their emails.

The reality is that consultants will not admit their abuses. They won’t recognize their poor mailing list management. They will argue that Democrats are more efficient because of tech company biases and not because Democrats are actually better stewards of an email file.

The reality however is easy to notice.

So even their supporters notice Republican emails going to spam because it’s spam. As Erickson notes:

Email and text spamming keep small Republican donors away. Candidates are now reaping what their consultants have sown.

It would be nice if the media would stop covering this made-up campaign as if it were a real story, and note the same reality that Erickson noted. The problem is not spam filters. The problem is the “digital campaign” companies and their terrible practices.

Filed Under: email, gop, marco rubio, political spam, spam

Companies: targeted victory


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