Discover more from Understandably by Bill Murphy Jr.
If you use Gmail...
... you might be interested in this. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
Slightly over half of Understandably's readers use Gmail. It’s likely a higher number if you count those who, like me, subscribe to one of Google's small business email services, so that you can use your own domain.
(Hence: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc.)
I know I've probably just opened myself up to a deluge by including these so prominently. But, they're published all over the place, anyway.
This 50%+ Gmail number means I'm pretty confident that today's newsletter will be of interest. Let’s start with some questions:
How do you feel about spam?
Would you like to get more unsolicited messages in your email?
Also, would you want them to land directly in your email inbox, instead of being routed to your spam folder?
OK. Last month, attorneys for Google sent a 15-page letter to the Federal Election Commission, asking for an advisory opinion on a plan to start exempting some political campaign and fundraising emails in Gmail from spam.
There’s a comment period before the FEC considers a request like this, and thousands of people have now commented. If that interests you, you can do so by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and including the reference number of Google's request: "AO 2022-14."
I wrote about this a little while ago for Inc.com, and the number of comments spiked right after my first article. So, if my Gmail suddenly gets shut off, I guess we'll know why.
The FEC has also posted a draft advisory opinion on its website written by its in-house lawyers. Many lawyers make sure to leave a lot of wiggle room when they write advisory letters, but not this one:
Yes, Google may offer the proposed pilot program to Eligible Participants because Google would offer the program at the usual and normal charge and in the ordinary course of its business.
OK, two key points.
First, maybe you wonder why the FEC gets a say in this at all? It's not as if the FEC regulates email; they regulate campaign finance (at least in theory).
It’s because the entire reason Google is doing this, is that top Republicans claimed that historically, their political emails go to spam in Gmail at a higher rate than Democrats' political emails, and that this result constituted illegal in-kind corporate contributions by Google.
Google's response is to basically say: Fine, what if we just skip spam for everyone?
But, since the issue about illegal campaign contributions is now out there, they wanted to try to put it to bed.
Second, if you look at most of the comments, they're overwhelmingly against the pilot program—but most of them make no reference at all to the issue of illegal campaign contributions.
They say how much they hate spam, and how they think partisanship is tearing the country apart—but at least to my "lawyer-but-not-an-election-lawyer" eyes, those aren't really issues the FEC is supposed to address.
Anyway, I went back and forth on whether to share this story today. It's fairly political, and I try not to stir things up unnecessarily. But, with the deadline tomorrow, and the fact that half of Understandably readers use Gmail, I thought you'd want to know if you didn't already.
Besides the comment deadline, there's also a public meeting on the whole thing at 11 a.m. tomorrow; kudos to the FEC for providing a YouTube video link (here) where people can watch it.
Unrelated advice this made me think of …
Last week, I gave a talk to members of the Inc. 5000 entitled: "How to Get Someone Like Me to Write About Someone Like You."
All this talk about putting your email address out there made me think of something basic: If you want people to write about you, make it easy to contact you.
Have a publicly available email address, or a contact form or something that comes up when people search for you—something that makes it clear that if you try this address, you’ll likely reach the person.
I know not everyone reading this is doing things they want publicity for. But some are. Trust me, this will make you stand out.
7 other things worth knowing today
Alec Baldwin and Rosanna Arquette are among a number of celebrities who have been slammed for sending thoughts and prayers to Anne Heche after the A-lister’s high-speed crash into a Mar Vista house while allegedly drunk. (Daily Beast)
A former Colorado police officer who did not stop another officer from being rough with a 73-year-old woman with dementia was sentenced Friday to 45 days in jail and three years of probation. (AP)
Cracker Barrel’s country tranquility was shattered, after the chain announced on Facebook that customers could customize their breakfast plate with a plant-based protein as a replacement for their traditional bacon or smoked sausage. The blowback was immediate and intense. Comments, hundreds and hundreds of them, were split along ideological, generational and political lines. (WashPost)
A judge has ordered actor Kevin Spacey to pay the producers of the Netflix show House of Cards $31 million, for costs involved in removing him from the series following sexual misconduct allegations. (BBC)
If you’re getting fake texts from scammers posing as Amazon, you’re not alone—here’s what you can do. (Basically, block numbers and assume anyone messaging you like this is a scammer.) (CNBC)
Roger E. Mosley, known as helicopter pilot Theodore "T.C." Calvin from the 1980s TV series "Magnum, P.I.," passed away at age 83. Mosley was also a high school track and field coach who cultivated the talent and changed the lives of student athletes over three decades. (LA Times)
A Mississippi cat saved her owner's life after alerting him of intruders entering his home in the middle of the night. According to The AP, he got up to investigate, he saw two men outside attempting to pry open his backdoor with a crowbar, one armed with a handgun. The two men fled before Everitt returned to the kitchen with his handgun. (Insider)