Another Reason To Get In The Address Book
Good advice, and I’ll try to abide by it here.
To be honest though, that doesn’t leave me much room to discuss the puzzling move a major ISP appears to have made recently. You’ve gotta see for yourself.
Some time back we talked about what someone might see if you email them but aren’t in their address book.
As ISPs and spammers continue the war for all of our inboxes, new weapons inevitably come into use. Sometimes, those can seem a bit extreme to those of us on the sending side.
Anything You Can Do, I Can Do… Better?
Would it cause some to not open a message that they requested? Possibly, but on the whole AOL’s warning was done about as well as you can do such a thing.
Speaking comparatively, anyway. Hotmail’s following in AOL’s footsteps, but a different implementation. And although you may not agree with me, I actually dislike AOL’s approach less — er, like it more.
What’s Hotmail Doing?
By now, we’re all familiar with the idea that images will be disabled by default for many email users, particularly if you’re not in their address book.
AOL took things a step further by not allowing users to interact with the message content at all until they read the warning. OK, another challenge to get past, but not the end of the world… even if readers see that warning, once they give the OK, they can see and interact with your email.
Hotmail, on the other hand, decided to start disabling links — including plain text message URLs — until the user enables all message content. You can see the message text, and the URLs, but you can’t click them until you enable content.
What annoyed me initially about this is that the “Show Content” link in Hotmail isn’t prominent. Sure, it’s in a yellow bar at the top of the message (see below) but it’s not nearly as prominent as AOL’s warning. Users are more likely to overlook it.
But Here’s The Kicker:
The URLs? The ones users can’t click on to go to your site?
Blue. Like a clickable link. Like countless other links you’ve been able to click on in the past.
Pretty confusing, and if they overlook that skinny yellow bar (easy to do), your subscribers may not even realize that it’s Hotmail that’s changing things — they may think you just screwed up your message.
Don’t Let This Happen To Your Subscribers
Make sure that your subscribers whitelist you immediately after signing up.
So Which Do You “Prefer?”
Me? I’ll take the full-page warning — while offputting, it’s at least impossible to ignore. You just can’t miss it.
What do you think? Which method would you prefer (as a sender and as a recipient)?
UPDATE: Hotmail recently tweaked the way this is handled so that if a subscriber doesn’t have you in the address book, and tries to click the would-be link, a dialog box appears asking them if they want to enable links. If they OK it, then they’re taken to the link they clicked, and other links will become active as well.