All About Email - The Last Word in Email Publishing

Thursday, October 25, 2007

You musy be joking

After a very busy, trying, and blog-free week, a moment of humour which fully restored my good spirits!

Yesterday we sent out a newsletter on behalf of a client - audience approx 45,000 which is quite big by NZ standards.

One auto response showed just how confused the world of email is.

Your message has been blocked, it read, due to restricted contents. The restricted content is: to unsubscribe from this newsletter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The one thing just about every anti-spam law and best practice all over the world agrees on is that every email must include a working unsubscribe link. Yet this particular email client found it offensive and filtered our newsletter.

He was running a programme called MailScan - not one I have heard of before, and not one I could recommend if you want to receive emails!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Confusion reigns

Those who read this blog will know that I have been pretty critical of the Anti-Spam Act - so far from the perspective of spam volumes and ISP commitment to solving this.

Today I want to examine it from another perspective - that of the supposedly legitimate emailers in NZ.

Since the laws came in I watched with interest as email marketers and publishers have reacted in many different ways.

As recently as yesterday - one month later the laws took effect, I was receiving emails asking me to opt in, to opt out and so on in order to be compliant with e laws. I have also received quite of lot of completely unexpected and unwanted emails from publishers I have never heard of asking me to join their lists.

Amongst those who have tried to come to terms with the law, there are many who have failed to understand it - usually small companies who have seen email as a cheap and easy option. I hope they are not made an example of by the authorities because most of them are transgressing in many ways, but are clearly attempting to do it properly.

In fact, since the laws came in there has been zero publicity surrounding it - no warnings, no prosecutions, and with the exception of material released by Inbox, no comment about it at all.

I am all for improving the practices of legitimate email marketers and publishers - ultimately if standards are adhered to it will help in the war against spam, so wouldn't it be a good idea if the MED followed up their law with a review and some guidelines to help achieve this?

I suspect they won't!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Plain Text

Most email platforms have the ability to deliver a plain text version of your Html - to browser like Lotus Notes that mangle Html, or to recipients who habitually view their emails on handhelds.

Your platform will probably take your email, strip out the Html and deliver a pure, unformatted text version as standard, and sometimes you may be happy with this.

It looks horrible, and reads even worse.

As use of handhelds grows, so a rethink of the text version will become more important.

My feeling is that it should be no more than a simple introductory line followed by a link to the web version of the email - so it can be viewed properly, and at an appropriate time.

For example: The October edition of our newsletter, including an update on XYZ, is now online at

Perhaps a little top and tailing to emphasise content is a good idea, but simplicity and brevity are the watchwords.

It helps if you know which of your readers habitually reads email on their handheld - do you ask at point of sign up?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

When less is more

Last week we challenged the ISPs with the statement that more spam was getting through than ever before, the anti spam act had failed and that authentication and national whitelisting must be adopted sooner rather than later. Only IHUG bothered to reply, and they said it would not work, and that the Act was a success.

Our sister company Opinion Polls NZ ran a national survey to see whether people were getting more or less spam since the introduction of the act - and guess what - 97% of people said they were getting more!!!!!!

A cynic might conclude that the ISPs just can't be bothered.