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  1. #1
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    Default What is the true value of an email address?

    The SOS thread has evolved into yet another interesting topic, that being how does one guage the value of an email address and as specifically applied to local politics?

    There are many parameters here:
    1. The relevance of the email address... that is; the probability of a positive response to the email campaign.
    2. The focus of the email address... that is; the geographical and political focus of the email lead.
    3. The freshness of the email address.. it is a current email address? Does it get to who it should and in a timely manner?
    4. Is the email address for rent; is it a one time shot where you only get the positive opt-in's?
    5. Is the email address for sale; do you get the actual email address with unlimited opportunities to mail it?
    6. Is the email address supplied with a name/address and/or phone number?

    Models for calculation of value:
    1. Pen/Paper/Postage PPP model
    2. Other models (I'll let Jeff D fill this in)

    Legal Recognition of email value
    1. What does the OCPF believe?
    2. What model will they use and why?
    3. Is value based on per use or not?

    I propose that these and other questions be addressed by this thread.
    Any references made to SOS, WVN, WSC.org etc... should be for illustrative purposes and not to continue the SOS thread discussion - I think we should all adhere to this.

    Kim, I would like to suggest that you 'cull' the appropriate substantitive postings onto this thread.

    I would be pleased to participate in this thread starting Sunday and continue on until it burns itself out.
    Perhaps we can come to a common ground?
    Perhaps we cannot come to a common ground but at least we all understand each other's final position.

    We should all agree to keep an open mind.
    Last edited by AlanJReiss; 02-06-2010 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Open mind correction

  2. #2
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    Default

    Thanks for starting the new thread, Alan. Here's a repeat of my two most recent posts on the topic.

    I can think of lots of different ways to value an email address:

    1. The cost to collect that address
    2. The cost to rent an address for one-time use from a company such as MDR ($0.15; they supply physical and email addresses for schools and perhaps other organizations)
    3. The rental cost times the number of usages
    4. The value of a company that (only) rents email addresses divided by the number of addresses that they have
    5. The revenue resulting from the email campaign divided by the number of email messages sent


    Are there others? Probably--I'd love to hear candidates.

    Of the list above, (1) is tricky because you don't know how to value the time of volunteers. (2) isn't bad, nor is (3)--I can get email addresses for all Title I directors in the US, in Texas, or in a particular zip code if I like, which is pretty targeted. (4) is hard to determine--there aren't many companies that only rent addresses, and valuing these companies isn't easy unless they are public. (5) doesn't really apply, as there's no revenue in this case.

    One way that doesn't make sense to me is to use the cost to send a print piece instead as the value of the email. The channels are simply too different. I found this past year (in educational publishing) that the return on investment for print pieces was *dramatically* higher than for email. That may be because people get so many email messages these days relative to regular mail such that the latter stands out.

    Also, while not agreeing with the pen/paper/postage model as a way to value an email address, I contend that the $1 figure isn't necessarily the right one. It's possible to send a postcard for $0.28. Per www.fedexoffice.com, it's possible to print 3,000 double-sided, quarter-page, black and white postcards for $0.05 each. Without getting into the details of how you print the addresses or affix the postage, that's $0.33 per piece, not $1.

    I wonder, though, why it's a print piece that would be the comparison. Could you say instead that the email replaces an ad in the local paper? A robocall? A paid employee going door-to-door? A Super Bowl ad? Would the value comparison be against the next most expensive way of accomplishing the task, or any way of accomplishing the task?

    Using the print piece cost would be like saying that the value of a phone call to find out if a store carries a product is equal to the cost of driving (time, gasoline, wear and tear on the car) to that store to find out in person. They are two completely different activities. With the latter, you might, for instance, see related products that meet your need, something that you might not have learned with the phone call.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Alan, one of the things I value about you is that if I ask you a question, you’ll try to answer it. And you try to answer honestly. So, what’s the actual underlying point you’re trying to make with this thread’s discussion about the price of an email. If you show that the value was more than $500 are you going to sue SOS or get the election results overturned because the contribution was above the limit set for Ballot Questions?

    If you asked me about the cost of all this, I’d respond that the cost was actually to something we’d call democracy. If one special interest group maintains and controls the one large email list, it has an advantage, a much greater ability to effect an election’s outcome. Of course. That’s why they maintain the list. Of course, it’s their right to do so. Saying that those who object have the right to “do something about it” does not change the fact that in a small town (where most people, and their beliefs, are not organized to any extent) the list owner’s greater ability to mobilize support diminishes the democratic process.

    It seems similar to money at state and national levels. While it’s a candidate’s right to collect money and spend as they will, those candidates with less financial access to TV, while even though they might be better or more preferred, will be at a disadvantage. In Wayland, as with the other levels, it’s the average citizens who need to assure that the information provided to people and the advantages given to groups are designed according to the principles (hopefully democratic) that they desire.

    How much the cost of an email? Perhaps the cost is everything we hold near and dear.

    donBustin@verizon.net

  4. #4
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    Default

    Don, I believe Alan previously stated that there was no limit to the size of in-kind donation that was allowed in this case

    As regarding unfair advantage I'd argue that WVN has acted as a PAC (even initially organized itself that way) and has a very large list too. Yahoo listed their group size at 1511 last time I checked - plus they hand-deliver an unknown quantity, too. We have no way of knowing SOS' list size but the 3000 guess sounds high to me (as it exceeds even the total number of students in town). I think any claimed imbalance is exaggerated.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 02-07-2010 at 06:01 PM. Reason: to fix typo - autocorrect on that iPhone is a bit over-aggressive!

  5. #5
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    Default

    The number of students in town has no bearing on the size of SOS' list.

    It's well known that SOS actively solicits:
    New families in town who aren't even in the school system yet
    Recent WHS graaduates who are off to college or the work force, where they promote absentee ballots
    People without kids in the system at all, or any more
    In short, anyon who might potentially have an interest in or vote in favor of SOS' agenda.

    So, in addition to the familes of the roughly 2500 students in town, they cast a very wide net, where 3000 is not only a very realistic estimate, but more likely is an understatement of the number of emails on their list.
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Don, I believe Alan previously stated that there was no limit to the size of unkind donation that was allowed in this case
    'unkind' maybe true... but its really 'in kind'

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    As regarding unfair advantage I'd argue that WVN has acted as a PAC (even initially organized itself that way) and has a very large list too. Yahoo listed their group size at 1511 last time I checked - plus they hand-deliver an unknown quantity, too. We have no way of knowing SOS' list size but the 3000 guess sounds high to me (as it exceeds even the total number of students in town). I think any claimed imbalance is exaggerated.
    The unfair advantage had noting to do with the size of the list. The size of the list has nothing to do with the number of students in Wayland. The guess is a good one since its based on results from the last 5 overrides plus the last 2 candidate elections plus the high school vote.... its my estimation and I don't think its high at all. Maybe even low (based on what Mr. John Flaherty said below).

    But - its all moot since the OCPF (as I've said before) doesn't care unless its a PAC in kind donation and then we have to get into numbers. On that day a legal disclosure will to the truth.

    In order to explain why it was an unfair advantage I have to jump back to SOS thread since I pledged to only speak of SOS on this thread in terms of illustration for the purposes of trying to affix a value to an email or email list. But I'm not going to do that ('ad nauseum')

    More to come.
    Last edited by AlanJReiss; 02-07-2010 at 02:37 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Freud would be proud

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Alan, one of the things I value about you is that if I ask you a question, you’ll try to answer it. And you try to answer honestly. So, what’s the actual underlying point you’re trying to make with this thread’s discussion about the price of an email. If you show that the value was more than $500 are you going to sue SOS or get the election results overturned because the contribution was above the limit set for Ballot Questions?
    Don, what I like about you is that you can take an analytical or quantitative discussion and turn it into philosophical tome, or an analysis paralysis (tongue in cheek).

    And YES... I'm going to sue SOS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!! [Just in case somebody thinks this is serious.... its just a joke... the type of joke that won't hurt you]
    Because I have an AXE to GRIND. Me, myself and I. [Note the emphasis added]

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    If you asked me about the cost of all this, I’d respond that the cost was actually to something we’d call democracy.
    All the opposing groups have email address's. Even former selectmen.
    The discussion was prompted by some legal requirements plus *how the email has become the currency of power in local politics*... (Hey, thats a great title for a book!)

    There have been many schemes to try to place a value on a targeted email to be used for political purposes.
    I have proposed a method, Jeff D has proposed 10 methods so this thread will ultimately try to see if we can all get to a common ground or a common disagreement. (Which the latter is default.)

    So Don, feel free to think about this and join in with keeping this in mind.

    More later...
    Last edited by AlanJReiss; 02-07-2010 at 03:14 PM. Reason: More emphasis added....

  8. #8
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    Default It’s going to be difficult to be silly… but I’ll try

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    ... place a value on a targeted email ...
    I wouldn’t give 2 cents (that’s quantitative?) for any email from a special interest group that only presents one side of the issue (that’s philosophical?).

    Darn, there I go again, I just can’t seem to get this posting thing right!

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    ... or an analysis paralysis ...
    Alan, as you intuitively knew, “analysis paralysis” is a somewhat adequate description of much of my life. I mention it because I want you to know that you don’t have to “joke” or have “tongue in cheek” when you say what you think about me, as if afraid I’ll take offense. I’m pushing for openness and honesty in our public officials so how can I do anything but try to accept the truth about myself?

    Freud would say that I don’t have the kind of mind that can come up with a dollar and cents email value, but I am able to tell that an email list is a very valuable commodity.

    donBustin@verizon.net

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