One new campaign, four mass mailings

This is going to be a busy week.

Today we launched the Swaziland campaign – a joint effort of 3 GUFs.

This will be followed later today with a mass mailing.

But following up on phone calls from a union in the USA and one of the GUFs, we’ll actually be doing four mass mailings in English in the next few days.  These will include one new campaign on Turkey at the end of the week, and the other two are pointers to existing campaigns — one is ours (with a new video), the other belongs to a US union.

Not all of these mailings will need to be translated and we’ll try to keep each one very short, and focussed on only one thing.

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Latest campaign news: Iraq campaign closed; translations backlog cleared; new campaigns coming up

Our latest Iraq campaign, launched at the request of the ICEM (now IndustriALL) has closed after two months.  The campaign attracted only 3,951 supporters, which is quite small for us, even though it was available in 9 languages.  We’ve asked IndustriALL, who have agreed to close it down, for a summary of what the effect of the campaign was, but are still waiting for a reply.

The backlog of translations of campaigns and mass mailings has now been completely cleared.  In future, we’re aiming to have more of the work done by the translators themselves, which will speed things up considerably.

There are several new campaigns coming up.  We may well launch a Swaziland campaign later today at the request of the EI, PSI and ITF. UniteHere in the USA has something they want to discuss with us.  And we’ve been talking to Iranian comrades about a possible campaign in defense of jailed activists (yet again).  It’s been 12 days since the launch of our last campaign (Peru – 4,851 messages sent so far).

Written by admin in: Campaigns |

Weekly roundup – 28.7 – 5.8


  • I contacted Hava Is about their campaign (aviation workers in Turkey); they want to continue it for another month in part because of the ITF’s renewed commitment to this cause.
  • There was a fairly large backlog of campaigns that had been translated, or mailings, that required additional work by me.  About two thirds of these have now been done, and I’ve asked translators to help out by posting the content directly themselves – this is now happening in German, for example.
  • The page showing how campaigns are doing in all languages now continues a clear link to see the breakdown for each campaign, including showing countries.
  • The Algeria campaign has been closed.
  • We suffered a brief (hour long) distributed denial of service attack to our connection the new server in Iceland; following this, I discovered a fairly large number of spammers trying to sign up to our campaigns.  I removed all the ones I could identify from our mailing lists and then added a simple spam-prevention bit of code to the campaigns software (which had a bug in it that caused problems for about a day).
  • I wrote to all translators showing them what was missing and encouraging them to translate all active campaigns and mass mailings.
  • We’ve had campaigns translated into Indonesian and Portuguese for the first time in years – thanks to new volunteer translators.
  • We’re about to launch a new campaign in support of public sector workers in Swaziland.

Conference: We had a Skype videoconference with Andrew and Alison in Sydney and Eric in London to clarify what’s being done, and what needs to be done, over the next three months.

Correspondents: I appealed to our 73,000+ subscribers in English for new correspondents; only 3 have volunteered so far (2 from the UK, one from Ireland).

Fundraising: I continue to mail out brochures to local labour councils throughout Ireland (including Northern Ireland) and to the 26 local labour councils in London.

Office: I continued the search for a new London office for LabourStart.

And all the usual stuff: The monthly “LabourStart in Numbers” report (see below).  Backups – every week – of the entire site, the mailing lists, and the databases.  New users added every day to UnionBook.  Regular postings to social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, UnionBook.  Answering dozens of LabourStart emails every day.


Change to the Twitter Feed

I’m using HootSuite to try and ensure there’s a tweet per hour 24/7 through our Twitter feed. Please let me know if you have any thoughts on this or on its execution, or if you see or hear any comments about the change. Especially the frequency, which may be too much for some of our followers.


Written by derek in: Uncategorized | Tags:

Spam attack – first defense

Update: There was a small bug – so people were not able to complete the sending of campaigns.  Now fixed.

A couple of days ago our campaigns site was down for an hour or more following a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on the company which hosts the connection to our new server in Iceland.  I have no idea if the attack was directed against us, but noticed today when updating our mailing lists that we’ve had dozens of people signing up to our campaigns with addresses like [email protected] and random countries.

These are fairly easy to spot, as it’s very unlikely that a person with the email address of [email protected] who says their country is the Falkland Islands is likely to sign up to our Norwegian language mailing list.  So I spent an hour today trying to clear many of these addresses from our lists.  MailChimp itself will purge them over time, so in that sense it doesn’t really matter much.

The problem, however, is that these spammers have been attempting to use our system.  It’s unlikely that they’ve been able to send out mail through it, but they may have been sending some of the recent campaign messages to our targets.  The numbers we’re talking about our quite low – perhaps a few dozen attempts we can see.

I looked into using a CAPTCHA system but it strikes me that this might make it very hard for people to sign up (Recaptcha is the most popular) and I’d like an easier-to-use system now.

If you look at our campaigns now, you’ll see at the bottom a little box above the Submit button with this logo:

Stop Spam!

At the moment, let’s test this and see if it effectively blocks most spam.

If not, we will have to upgrade to a proper CAPTCHA.

We will need this bit of text translated — if we decide to stay with it:

Enter the number ___ here:

Thank you.

As well as this:

Sorry, but you must enter the correct code

Click on the back button of your browser and try again.  The code appears at the bottom of the page, next to this logo:
Written by admin in: Campaigns,Mailing list,Security |

LabourStart in Numbers – July 2012

Headline news –

  • We finally break the 100,000 mark in our mailing lists.
  • Our Turkish list grew by 50% – now just under 2,000 addresses.
  • The Spanish list grew by 10% and has moved up to third place.
  • On Facebook, the number of people who like our page now finally exceeds the number who are members of our group. The number of members of UnionBook is bigger than each of these.
  • We’re a month away from our LinkedIn group having more than 1,000 members – with no promotion at all from us.
  • We’re also just shy of 1,000 volunteer correspondents.

Mailing lists

Total for all lists: 100,331 [97,538]

  1. English: 73,474 [72,889]
  2. French: 5,777 [5,701]
  3. Spanish: 4,163 [3,857]
  4. Italian: 3,873 [3,876]
  5. Norwegian: 2,281 [2,424]
  6. German: 2,292 [2,280]
  7. Russian: 1,947 [1,738]
  8. Turkish: 1,897 [1,280]
  9. Dutch: 736 [736]
  10. Chinese: 496 [488]
  11. Polish: 306 [306]
  12. Portuguese: 247 [247]
  13. Japanese: 209 [ 209]
  14. Swedish: 194 [196]
  15. Farsi: 186 [190]
  16. Finnish: 184 [184]
  17. Danish: 156 [158]
  18. Hebrew 157 [155]
  19. Arabic: 156 [140]

And just below the radar:

Korean 93 [93]

Social networks

UnionBook –
Members: 5,227 [5,190]

Facebook –
Like page (English): 4,787 [4,666]
Members of LabourStart group: 4,762 [4,767]
Like LabourStart page (French): 213 [201]

Twitter followers –
English: 6,920 [6,719]

Union group on Flickr: 694 [693]

LinkedIn – LabourStart group: 951 [913]


Correspondents: 994 [985]

Unique visits to the site this month : 509,378 [547,625]
Peak day: 21,706 [27.7.12]
Page views this month: 1,164,243 [1,206,879]

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