Weekly round-up: 31.3 -6.4

Global union federations: I spent two days this week at the IUF and discussed, among other things, my participation in their Congress in May.  The IMF has asked us to do a new campaign on Kosovo/Serbia, which we’ll launch today.  The new merged GUFs – IMF, ICEM and ITGLWF, have invited me to attend the founding congress of the new federation, called IndustriALL in Copenhagen in June.  I contacted UNI about the Netherlands cleaners campaign which is now two months old; they want us to continue it for another month. PSI is looking into whether we need to do a Paraguay campaign together. The ITF‘s Auckland campaign was closed – another victory.  See below for how our list reacted to the news.

Other campaigns: I submitted a short article to the left-wing German weekly newspaper Jungle World which, when published, should give a boost to the Matteo Parlati campaign.    I made some small changes to the mycampaigns.cgi script so that it should work better in French and Norwegian (fixed the character encoding of the page).  We have been approached by unions in Canada and South Africa about launching new campaigns.  A discussion is taking place among Turkish unions about another possible campaign there, this time targetting an Apple supplier (they’re not only in China).

Mailing list: I gave Mac Urata access (and instructions) so he can send mailings out in Japanese.  The lists are rapidly approaching 100,000 members; when we cross that threshhold we will be paying another amount each month.

Ukrainian version of LabourStart: Masha is sorting out a translation of the interface and we have a large group of volunteer correspondents in Ukraine ready to go.

Regular tasks: Did the monthly review of LabourStart stats (see below).  Backed up the website, mailing lists and databases, as I do every week.


LabourStart in Numbers – March 2012

Highlights this month:
  • Our mailing list is rapidly approaching 100,000 – when it does so, we’re in a new price bracket (ouch).
  • The French list jumped by 25%, from 4,000 to 5,000.
  • The English list had a net gain of nearly 3,000.
  • The Farsi list almost doubled in size.
  • UnionBook is now, finally, over 5,000 members strong.
  • On Twitter, the English LabourStart feed now has more than 6,000 followers.
  • Very big gains in traffic to the website, with more than 1.5 million page views this month.

Here are the totals with the last month in brackets:

Mailing lists (greater than 100)

Total for all lists: 95,403

English: 71,466 [68,656]
French: 5,070 [4,046]
Italian: 3,850 [3,522]
Spanish: 3,674 [3,389]
Norwegian: 2,430 [2,373]
German: 2,097 [2,035]
Russian: 1,761 [1,630]
Turkish: 796 [788]
Dutch: 725 [686]
Chinese: 344 [304]
Polish: 305 [305]
Portuguese: 246 [246]
Japanese: 206 [156]
Finnish: 184 [184]
Farsi 173 [93]
Swedish: 173 [178]
Arabic: 113 [100]
Danish: 107 [107]

And just below the radar:

Hebrew 99 [96]
Korean 93 [93]

Social networks

UnionBook –
Members: 5,050 [4,981]

Facebook –
Members of LabourStart group: 4,721 [4,719]
Like LabourStart.org page (English): 4,217 [3,953]
Like LabourStart page (French): 146 [137]

Twitter followers –
English: 6,019 [5,782]
French: 104 [101]
Japanese: 24 [15]
Spanish: 18 [14]
German: 8 [5]
Norwegian: 8 [5]
Italian: 6 [5]
Portuguese: 5 [4]
Russian: 5 [3]
Turkish: 5 [3]
Dutch: 2 [1]

Union group on Flickr: 680 [676]

LinkedIn – LabourStart group: 792 [710]


Correspondents: 966 [957]

Unique visits to the site this month : 677,769 [609,164]
Peak day: 26,836 – 9.3.12
Page views this month: 1,521,870 [1,381,128]


Unexpected results from last mass mailing

abdolreza, kamal, matteo

This is odd, I think.

I did a mailing 43 hours ago to our list of 71,401 subscribers in English.  (It’s also gone out to the French and Spanish lists more recently.)  The mailing reported on the victory in the Auckland lock-out, and urged supporters to sign up to three selected urgent actions campaigns.

I listed these in the following order – Abdolreza Ghanbari (by far the most popular campaign), then Kamal Abbas (the third largest of the three, in urgent need of many more supporters) and then Matteo Parlati (whose campaign was stronger than the Abbas one but still considerably smaller than the Ghanbari one).

Because in most mailings, the links which appear first get the most clicks and the ones which appear last get the least, I assumed that the Ghanbari campaign would do best — and not only because it appeared first, but also because it is such a popular cause.

But the actual gains for the campaigns in the last 43 hours have been as follows:

  • Matteo Parlati – 323
  • Kamal Abbas – 252
  • Abdolreza Ghanbari – 220

In other words, people signed up to support the campaigns in the opposite order to the one I listed them in.  And the most popular of the campaigns actually got the least support from this mailing.  The differences are significant — nearly 50% more supporters for the Parlati campaign than the Ghanbari one.  These are, therefore, unexpected results.

So why did they happen?

Here’s my guess:

I think that the list may be exhausted when it comes to the Ghanbari appeal, as we’ve mentioned it in three previous mailings – this was the fourth mention.

And I think that we picked up many, many new subscribers due to that appeal – so they will not have been familiar with the Abbas and Parlati cases, having joined the mailing list only recently.

It’s also possible that the descriptions I gave of the three cases made the Parlati one sound the most compelling.  Here’s how I described them:

  • Abdolreza Ghanbari, facing the death penalty in Iran
  • Kamal Abbas, who faces prison in Egypt for “insulting” a Mubarak-era hack at an ILO conference
  • Matteo Parlati, the shop steward at Ferrari, facing prosecution for participating in an anti-fascist demonstration in Italy

One final thought: even the gain of 323 new supporters for Matteo Parlati, welcome though that is, is only a tiny fraction of what we’d get for a new campaign.  It’s less than one-half of one percent.  My hope had been that the win in Auckland would inspire people to respond, to want to do more.  But that didn’t happen.  Over 99% of the people on the list didn’t respond to this appeal at all.

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