Last week, Ron Robinson published a post regarding a rather serious problem he noticed with the RNC mass emails.  After publishing this article, Robinson had a conversation with the RNC.  The same day of that conversation, Robinson noted further problems with more recent RNC emails noted below.  Robinson notes in his previous articles, and in his conversations with ‘Right Side News’ that he’s not trying to play ‘gotcha’ with the RNC.  As a local GOP official in Los Angeles, and a member of the GOP tech team there, Robinson wishes to see the GOP using the best technology available to it everywhere.  He expects the RNC to engage in ‘best practices’ that it has not yet attempted.  Ed. 

TO: Mike Shields, Chief of Staff to The RNC Chairman


It was good to make your acquaintance on the phone Wed morning.  As you noted, we have opened the channels of communication.

After our conversation, it felt natural to me that I should plan to write a Redstate followup to my article that caused you to contact me.   

It was an opportunity for me to report to readers that the RNC responds positively to reported problems.

Accordingly, I went to examine the latest email from the RNC – one sent at about noon on Wednesday, Apr 3, from The Chairman with a subject of ‘I wanted you to read this’.

As I might have guessed, the .romney… class names were gone from the stylesheet.  Good!  Stealth Romney legacy gone – *poof*  Thanks!

The reply address had been changed to which is a bit better, but this address is obviously still a ‘bot’ and nobody sees the replies.   How do I know this?  A“>simple Google search on that email address (first link Google provides) reveals instructions in the privacy page to send the word ‘Unsubscribe’ to that email address.  A bot.

Then I came to the horrifying part.    

Every link in the email, the donation link and the link at the very bottom, all went to one of these two pages on the Targeted Victory servers: 
cannot.complete rnc.spam

Every single link was broken. Not a single link in the email went to the resource promised in the link text.  Obviously, all the clicks were counted OK by  Targeted Victory, so you’ll have a good report on clicks.  But not a single link in the email actually redirected to a GOP resource it was intended to go to, like the actual donation page or the GOP web site.  Even my wife was horrified when I showed her. 

This was an email that the RNC sent out with The Chairman’s imprimatur.  Doesn’t the RNC Chairman deserve better than this?

Obviously, testing the email before it was sent out would have prevented this.

As a fallback, having replies go to an email box that interns check would have alerted you to the defects in this email within minutes and you could have called Targeted Victory and had the redirects corrected and the mailing would have been OK within 15 minutes or half an hour.   Instead, those links are still broken on Friday.  

I asked a lot of folks elsewhere to try those links.  Same result.  I waited 2 days.  No correction.

I’m sure that many tried to advise you of this problem early via a reply to the email, but your staff sent all these replies into an email black hole.

Today, on Monday, all these links are still broken when Targeted Victory could have fixed them 15 minutes after a phone call from your office. 

But they never got that phone call from the RNC insisting on a correction on the redirects.

I’m not talking about rocket science here, Mike, this is something you assign to an intern who can merely click links in an email.

Alas, as a grassroots GOP supporter, I now seem to find myself numbered among your enemies as it was very, very widely reported that you suggested to the Ripon Society that you appear to lump ‘grassroots supporters’ in the same class with the ‘professional right’ you appear to despise.  

In all sincerity, and with all respect Mike, I have to ask you if we really ‘opened channels of communication’ in our conversation on Wednesday, or were you merely trying to exercise some damage control?

Ron Robinson

Mike Shields has responded to this email stating that he regards this problem as serious and intends to talk to the RNC’s contracted sender, Targeted Victory.