As we and others have reported, Silicon Valley tech companies seem to have developed such an aversion to anything right of center that many have engaged in what can only be called bias and censorship. The problem has gotten so bad that this writer decided to reprise George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” to describe many of the social media/service providers that make up the Silicon Valley tech industry.
Back in December, IMGE, an Alexandria-based company that describes itself as a “full service digital firm,” said that it conducted a post-2018 election test designed to answer the question: “Is the world of email biased against conservatives?”
“Poor email deliverability doesn’t just suppress a candidate’s message, it decreases the engagement of campaign supporters. That means fewer donations, fewer volunteers, and fewer advocates. If Republicans underperform in email deliverability, they face a disadvantage on Election Day,” IMGE explained.
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So we decided to test the rumors. Our team created email addresses with different email providers and signed up for the email lists of around fifty different candidates, committees, and political nonprofits. In the month leading up to the election, we tracked how many emails were sent from each entity, and what percentage of those emails made it into our inbox. To keep it consistent, we opened every email, every day – regardless of where it was placed.
The “fine print” detailed the details of the test:
Our method for conducting this study was simple. First, we selected candidates from top party targets due to seat vulnerability. We leaned on Roll Call’s 10 Vulnerable House Members and Senators for candidate selection, and then added in party leadership and party committees. We added in three organizations from each side of the political aisle, as well as three non-partisan organizations, to round out our study. The full list can be found here.
Then we created four email addresses (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Outlook) and signed up for their email lists. Most lists required an email and zip code, so we signed up with our Virginia office zip code so that we would be put on the national lists for all candidates.
To ensure consistency, we opened every single email in the inbox and spam folders, but we did not click on anything within the emails. We checked each inbox on a daily basis like most users would so that it would be as organic as possible. This study ran from October 4-November 6.
We tracked the following in spreadsheets:
1. Date we received the email
2. Sending URL/domain
3. Sender name
4. Sender email
5. Inbox placement (Inbox or Spam/Junk)
We were unable to use the data from Outlook for this blog post, because Outlook has a feature that deleted emails in the Junk folder if they were there for more than 30 days. So by the time we were finishing entering in our data to the spreadsheet, too many emails in the Junk folder were unrecoverable.
The only campaign or organization that asked us to double opt-in was Kevin Cramer for Senate (R-ND).
The study found that although Democrats in their sample sent more than four times the quantity of emails than their Republican opponents, many Republican emails ended up flagged by the providers as spam.
According to the report:
In Nevada, Democrat Jacky Rosen averaged over 90% placement in inboxes, compared to Dean Heller’s over 90% placement in spam.
In Florida, 100% of Republican Rick Scott’s emails went to spam in Yahoo, while 100% of Bill Nelson’s emails went to our Yahoo inbox.
While these were the most dramatic examples, this pattern emerged in every toss-up Senate race we tracked.
Here’s a sample for comparison:
IMGE further explained:
Making it into inboxes, however, takes more than sending the right amount of email. Email deliverability is a complex animal. List quality, content quality, knowledge of best practices, proper verifications – all of these factors feed into whether an email goes into the spam folder.
To be sure, some accusations of “bias” against conservatives on digital platforms can be attributed to a lack of digital sophistication. But these findings are consistent across multiple entities serviced by multiple professional firms. The answer to this disparity might be structural bias, bad strategy, or some blend of both. Regardless of the reason, it is clear that Republicans need to find this answer to remain competitive in email marketing.
We believe we have the answer, but Republicans — with some notable exceptions — have so far shown very little desire to actually take the necessary action. They like to talk and hold hearings into the matter, but either lack the technical expertise to understand what is being presented or are unwilling to accept what is right in front of them.
We saw what Silicon Valley interference did in the election. If, as these test results indicate, email providers have joined companies like Facebook and Twitter to silence conservative voices, then Republicans have no choice but to act. Unless, that is, they enjoy being a minority party under the iron fist of power-mad leftists.
Yes, Silicon Valley IS a direct threat to freedom and the American idea of democracy.
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