Saturday, November 08, 2008

Post-election baby-eating roundup

An earlier post tracked the election by how many times "[candidate name] eats babies" appeared on the Intertubes (via Google). It was posted shortly after Palin was selected as McCain's VP nominee, and so, she had very few hits. How things have changed:

McCain-eats-babies: 2340 (up x4.95)
Obama-eats-babies: 85000 (up x107)

Palin-eats-babies: 1910 (up x955)
Biden-eats-babies: 22 (up x5.5)

Well, except for Biden. He made so little of an impression that he didn't even eat triple-digits worth of babies.

Obama and McCain had head starts over their running mates, but boy did Obama chow down in the three months since we last visited this topic. The largest increase factor, though, was Palin's, at almost 1000x higher than her August numbers.

What does it mean? I'd go out on a limb and guess: very little.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Do they teach spamming in publicist school?

I just got this email in my blog account email box:

Hi there,

I'm reaching out to offer you articles by [innocent client], author of [client's other book]. !

Below is an article by [innocent client] that I thought might be of interest to you and your readers. Please feel free to reprint it including copyright information and let me know if you'd like any additional materials, as I have several others. I look forward to working with you!



[...snipped out the actual press release...]

Julie Harabedian
Main line [phone number redacted (easy enough to find by Google)]
FSB Associates
[address redacted]
[link redacted]

I've gotten email like this before, usually promoting websites and blogs with kooky views, but what caught my attention this time is that the company is real and presents itself as a professional operation, the name associated with the email appears to be real, and the product seems to be real too.* The company is probably aiming for something of a viral marketing campaign by having random bloggers print their press releases (read: advertisements) for free, and make it look like a popular product endorsed by all sorts of random people. Because I've never had a business relationship with the sender or the company, sending the canned post to me is completely random. The key point that was missed is that spam is unprofessional.**

Additionally, the sender didn't read the terms of use/spam policy that is listed right next to my email address. How could she? She probably used a spider/mass mailer to get my email address.

Congratulations, Julie, you've now got a cherished place on the list of evil spammers on my right sidebar. Maybe I'll tip you off. You were nice enough to give me an email address to contact you if I want more ads. Otherwise, I hope you Google yourself some day.

* The spam operation is presented on their own page this way [my comments in bracketed italics]:

Content Syndication:
The majority of web sites online are eager for content deemed of interest to their readers. FSB has established and continues to establish [parasitic] relationships with numerous Web sites - for both general interest and niche audiences. We are able to provide these Web sites with ready-to-use electronic book excerpts and original articles as well as electronic photos making it as simple as possible for online editors to update and add to their sites [because they can't come up with their own original content]. These features happen faster and last longer than other types of media coverage, giving the buzz about a book a quick start and longevity.

One particularly entertaining tidbit is that the spammer also touts their own “thorough understanding of "netiquette."”

** Or, alternatively, which part of "this is not an advertising blog" was unclear?


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Throwing the bums out

Place: "Studentville," MA
Time: 9:25AM-9:55AM
Line length: Approximately 40-50 ahead of me. 20 minutes long. By 9:35, approximately 30 more were behind me. The line length was getting slightly shorter over time, but was still out of the polling place and around a corner when I left. For reference, the longest voting line I had waited on previously in Studentville was about 5 minutes, during the previous state gubernatorial election. I usually vote at about the same time of day.

The apparent average age of the voters was definitely younger (20's-30's) than usual (40's+ -- "usual" is based on a much lower sample size!).

Studentville uses optical scan paper ballots; Disabled voters can uses an ES&S AutoMark (link is to a press release) machine, which marks the same optical scan ballots, but does not record votes.

Voting problems: The usual procedure for checking voter eligibility is to check off address-associated names from the list at the entrance/exit. Some names (including mine) were not on the voter lists. When that happened, the poll workers were checking IDs and writing names and addresses on a list at the entrance and exit from the polls. They were making some people sign forms, and others not. Sometimes, they seemed to be giving provisional ballots, sometimes, not. (They gave me a real ballot). I'm not sure what differentiated what happened to whom (having a photo ID?). A call to the Studentville Elections Commission revealed that they printed incomplete lists and were delivering complete lists to polling places. They verified my registration over the phone.

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