A Tale of Two Campaign Emails

Friday, February 11, 2005, at 09:09AM

By Eric Richardson

I got campaign emails this morning from both Antonio Villaraigosa and Bernard Parks (not personally... just as a "neighborhood leader"). I don't think at this point I want to make much of a comment on the politics of the race, but I've fine to instead take a minute to look at the technical merits of their email solutions.

I got Villaraigosa's email first. It harkened back to the good old days of mail merge, coming in with a title of "Eric, help me clean up City Hall!" It was an individual To: address, with name. Somebody did a good job putting that stuff into the database. I also really appreciated that the info on why they were sending me email and how to unsubscribe was placed "above the fold", as it were. Three short paragraphs of body, then the information, then a few more paragraphs of message and his ethics petition. The email was "Powered by GetActive Software". GetActive is based in Berkeley. All in all well done. The plain text version was nicely formatted, and there was an HTML version as well for those whose client tastes lean that direction.

Parks' email had a few issues. A bit of the HTML code ended up in the plain-text of the email, and the paragraphs were formatted really poorly. The language of the email was newspaper style, talking about how

Mayoral Candidate Bernard C. Parks once again wooed Los Angeles voters and pundits to score a big win in the latest Mayoral debate held Monday night.

This email was sent through Constant Contact, a company in MA.

If I was judging solely from these two campaign emails, I'd pick Antonio. I don't think that's going to be my criteria, though.