Oh man, oh man, oh man….  When someone attaches their own “Kick Me” sign, don’t you somewhat feel obligated?  And when they put it on in flashing neon with an arrow, I mean, really….

If you read, “Are Republicans Spamming or just Stupid Emailers?“, you’ll remember that I called Townhall.com out for pimping pre-paid cellular phones

So on 4/16, Townhall.com sends a 3rd-Party advertisement with a controversial title.  You can read about it further on, but I’m not going to gratuitously exploit it now….

I hadn’t seen that message yet – because it hit a black hole before ever making it to Postini on my primary email account – but saw something about it from @DavidAll:

“Townhall just sent out an email action message with 5,860 words and 12 pages long when I paste in Word at 10pt Arial font. Um, hello?”

Well, after that I just had to see if that message was in my Yahoo! email account, and guess what?  Yep, there it was, and here it is….

Okay, this thing is frickin’ huge.  I mean, seriously, does even the 3rd-Party advertiser really truly believe it will be read? yahoo_th_secret-planAnd Townhall, you guys will take any body’s money, won’t you?  You know who your subscribers are and how they might react to something like this – or you should.  Don’t you consult with your advertisers and advise them as to what works in email and what doesn’t?

Just because the advertiser is a writer – and obviously likes to write – I think it’s safe to assume they know more about authoring a book than a promotional email message.  Then again, David Silverman has written a book and even an article about “How to Revise an Email So That People Will Read It“.  One thing left out of this article – probably because it should be obvious – is that a promotional email message should be direct and to the point. 

When you enter the Inbox you are asking people for a moment of their time to see if you can get a few more moments of their time.  If someone has to read through 5,860 to find out what you want, they aren’t going to.  Hell, even my own mother wouldn’t read 5,860 words from me in an email no matter what the topic….

And if the advertiser could have said what they needed to say – value proposition, call-to-action, and all that – in less than 5,860 words (not counting text in graphics), why didn’t they?  And why didn’t Townhall.com tell the advertiser that?  And if they did and the advertiser wouldn’t reconsider, then Townhall.com should have taken a pass on that advertiser instead of whoring its subscribers out for a few bucks.

As Jon Henke wrote, ironically on the same day as the Townhall.com email, “The minute you spam your grassroots with as a conservative reader of Human Events, we believe you really want to learn more about warm blankets with sleeves, you’re moving down the Movement->Business->Racket path.”

And this from a commentor to that post:

If you expect the recipients of your communication to take the email seriously, treat them professionally, not like a brick in a pyramid scheme.


Don’t oversell your case. Explain the issue and outline the potential consequenses in less than apocalyptic terms.

That’s some good advice for both advertisers and publishers.  Do you think that they’ll take it?

From some of the email conversations I’ve had with a few publishers, I’m guessing no….

I guess I could always unsubscribe, but what’s the fun in that?  Besides, if they want to be text-book cases of what not to do in email then they shouldn’t mind being used as text-book cases in how not to email….