I visited with my old pal Bill McCloskey the other day; he runs Email Data Source, a firm that tracks e-mails sent by marketers. He’s also been tracking what the political campaigns have been sending out. Well, he stumbled upon an intriguing link in a newsletter sent by FreebieSwamp, a service that sends e-mails filled with links to free stuff online. A recent FreebieSwamp e-mail included — buried within a virtual quagmire of links to free Reynold’s Wrap samples and a free CD from General Tire — a link to the John Edwards campaign site.
Specifically, the ad blurb linked to a merch page on the site, promoting an “End the War” bumper sticker and companion T-shirt. Buy the shirt, get a free sticker.
So, my initial reaction was, “Wow, I wonder if the Edwards camp is using affiliate marketing to drive traffic to its campaign merchandise.” Well, that’s a “no” according to the campaign. A spokesperson told me, “Our campaign had nothing to do with the URL ending up on this list. The newsletter creator must have found the bumper sticker online and added it.”
After thinking about it and getting a better sense of FreebieSwamp — which appears to be a list of free offers put together by a woman named Julie who sells candles on Ebay she promotes thorugh JuliesCandleCottage.com — I figured that is most likely the way the URL ended up there. But, who knows. I still haven’t heard back from Julie or anyone else at FreebieSwamp.
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