So those weren’t the last campaigns of 2011 (see yesterday’s posting). Today, police opened fire on strikers in Kazakhstan. We’ve been asked to launch another online campaign, now live. The campaign we launched in September to support those workers has now been closed after getting just 2,102 messages sent.
I hope so, as I plan to be away for the next three weeks. But that hasn’t stopped some companies and governments from attempting to crush unions and to deny workers their rights, so we’ve had to launch two new campaigns today. One supports the Italian metalworkers union in their fight with Fiat; the others backs Turkish unionists who are the victims of savage repression.
Thanks to the help of the Solidarity Center, we’ve now got several things translated into Arabic which will make it easier for Arabic speaking trade unionists to be LabourStart correspondents.
At the moment we have 7 correspondents whose primary language is Arabic (from Palestine, Morocco, Bahrain, Egypt and Lebanon) and I’ve asked them to check out our implementation of an Arabic-language interface for entering news. (This already works in French and Russian, as well as English of course.)
We also have the text of the welcome message which I send out to all new correspondents — I’ll use this the next time we get an application to be a correspondent from an Arabic speaking country.
Finally, we have a translation of the page where new correspondents sign up – but I need some help getting that one ready …
This campaign, sponsored by UNI Global Union, was our second largest of 2011 – and possibly our second largest ever, with well over 10,000 messages sent.
In fact, half of the last six campaigns we closed reached the target of 5,000 messages.
That number is increasingly becoming a minimum and not some far-away goal.
The question now is: can we create campaigns that routinely go over the 10,000 mark – and when will we have our first 6 figure campaign (100,000+)?
There are two problems with MailChimp, our email provider.
The first is cost – we’re paying £3,700 a year for this. I think we might be able to find something equally good for less money.
The second – and more important – is that MailChimp, unlike previous tools we have tried (e.g., PHPlist) doesn’t allow multiple admins. So if I want to give a language editor the ability to post messages to their list, they all share the same user ID and password as I do.
This is idiotic.
It means that every time we do a mailing, I have to collect the translations from each one, format and edit them myself. This is particularly difficult for the non-Latin based languages which I do not read, such as Arabic and Japanese. We need a system which can do this, which is cheaper, and which works otherwise just as well. I’m looking into this now.
This came up during our annual correspondents’ meeting in Istanbul. For years we’ve had the ability to tag news stories as coming from sources that require users to register. For a time, this proved to be unnecessary as most websites were opening up to users without any barriers. But with the increasing use of paywalls – by, for example, the Murdoch papers – increasingly we need to warn readers that if they click on a link, they may be required to register to read the rest of the article. This feature, which worked in an earlier version of LabourStart, has now been restored.
At the request of the ITUC, this two month old campaign has been closed with just shy of 5,000 messages sent. According to one person who knows about these things, “We did get some progress, the interim cabinet approved it recently (only the first step of several), but things are obviously in flux with the elections and ongoing protests” We may need to launch a similar campaign in the future, but this one has run its course.
Following the discussion we held at the annual correspondents’ meeting in Istanbul, we will not be hold a Labour Photo of the Year competition this year. However, we will continue with the Labour Video of the Year competition and I will begin work on this on 9 January, when I’m back from winter travels. We will also be exploring the possibility – suggested by Kristyne Peter of the IMF – of ‘campaign of the year’.
Here are the totals with the last month in brackets (large gains – 100+ – in bold face):
Mailing lists (greater than 100)
English: 66,226 [65,425]
French: 3,333 [3,291]
Norwegian: 2,337 [2,342]
Spanish: 2,082 [2,051]
German: 1,485 [1,058]
Turkish: 758 
Russian: 617 
Italian: 560 
Polish: 304 
Chinese: 249 
Portuguese: 245 
Dutch: 235 
Swedish: 182 
Finnish: 182 
Japanese: 133 
Danish: 112 
And just below the radar:
UnionBook 2.0 – members: 4,706 [4,599]
Members of LabourStart group: 4,738 [4,703]
Like LabourStart.org page (English): 3,192 [2,855]
Like LabourStart page (French): 89 
English – followers: 4,964 [4,699]
French – followers: 82 
Union group on Flickr: 661 
LinkedIn – LabourStart group: 503 
Correspondents: 935 
Unique visits to the site this month : 576,905 [573,525]
Peak day: 25,482 – 2.11.11
Page views this month: 1,371,687 [1,402,386]