Thursday, March 03, 2011

Jack McLaren's Email

A follow-up to a previous post which you should read for background. In short: the provincial Libs think PCPO MPP Randy Hillier allowed his website to be used inappropriately. Their evidence is an email "blast" Jack MacLaren--a candidate for the PCPO nomination in Carleton - Mississippi Mills and an old Hillier favorite--sent out in an attempt to drum up support so as to wrest the riding from Norm Sterling, the PCPO MPP that currently holds it. Here's a screen-shot of the problematic bit from Jack's email:
When you hold your cursor over one of the links-- "Like", for example, or "Share"-- you can see at the bottom that the link will take you to Originally, you would then get redirected to Jack MacLaren's facebook pages, twitter accounts, and etc.

(Note: I thought these all went directly to Hillier's pages, and said as much in the comments of my previous post, but I was wrong about that).

Anyway, that's what is meant in the original complaint about links being "routed through" Randy Hillier's website.

More recently, though, if you click on the appropriate links you get:

The url reads "williamrosssolutions", so its pretty clear that Mr. Hillier's web people were involved in handling the click-throughs from MacLaren's e-mailout. What is at issue, though, is how likely Hillier's explanation for all this is:

Hillier's spokesman later said it was a technical mistake by Hillier's web provider, William Ross Solutions, which accidentally routed the links in MacLaren's email through Hillier's account.

Well, its not very likely, I'm afraid. Note firstly that William Ross Solutions does not appear to be Jack MacLaren's web designer (they are Hilliers). At least, the registrant of (and .net) is one Dino Iannuzzi, who, much like William Ross, does Social Media Marketing. (Note: I emailed William Ross asking if they've ever done work for MacLaren, but had recieved no reponse as of this morning.). Nevertheless, Hillier's response implies that William Ross was doing something--some form of work--for the MacLaren team in regards to this email solicitation. Since MacLaren does not appear to have been a client of WRS, who paid for the work? If it was billed to Hillier's constituency website, then he may be in trouble.

In any case, according to Hillier, this work was not supposed to wind up involving his website at all. That it did was a mistake on the part of William Ross. We are therefore invited to imagine that the people from William Ross were providing urls to MacLaren that contained the phrase "" in them without realizing that they would, in fact, route the reader of the emails through That's pretty hard to imagine.

And what would be the point of redirecting the email respondents in this way? Dunno, but it might allow information to be collected on click-through rates, and how many readers of the MacLaren emails were doing what. Such tracking is usually something that costs money. So, again, if this was the reason for the re-routing, who paid for the bills? If it was charged to Hillier's constituency website, then the Lib complaint could stick.


Terrence said...


Here's a possible fact pattern that may still involve rule breaking, but without any malice.

(1) Jack's people put together the email. They're incompetent, so when they use an old example of Randy's Jack provided them, they don't bother changing the links.

(2) The email goes out. Jack notices the links are all wrong, freaks, talks to Randy.

(3) Randy talks to his web people, who roll their eyes and curse before implementing the best but exactly the wrong solution. The solution has to go on Randy's server because that's where the links in the email point.

That's my guess.

Terrence said...

I mean, if Randy wanted information on the people clicking on Jack's links, there are better ways than setting up a redirect.

He could, for example, just ask Jack.

The mistake in your account is thinking that Randy's web people provided the links to MacLaren. That doesn't have to be the case.

bigcitylib said...

So in that case, the links would originally go mistakenly to Randy's material? I've considered that, and have subscribed to RH's email updates to see if his emails have that same formula. Haven't got one yet. That would still mean Randy is blaming the wrong person though.

Terrence said...

I agree that the wrong people are being blamed, and feel badly for William Ross.

At the same time, sacrificing a subordinate is standard politician damage control stuff.

bigcitylib said...

Also, the theory would be that Randy didn't want info on Jack's links, but was picking up Jack's tab for gathering that info

Jenn Jilks said...

I am really shocked with the results of this riding nomination. Having just moved to the riding, finding out more details (Hillier and MacLaren are related by their children's marriage), Hillier & Reid oppose everything I stand for (equality, Human Rights Code), I am worried about where Ontario is headed viewed from Lanark County.

Maria said...
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