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BizReport : Email Marketing : May 24, 2007

AOL blocks images in web-based mail

AOL has joined other web-based email services by disabling images by default, forcing some email marketers to rethink email content and format.

by Helen Leggatt

aol%20mail%20logo.gifThe recent revamp of AOL’s web-based email service's interfaces has included disabling images in email. From now on, and interfaces will block images by default. AOL’s desktop email software, AOL 9.0, already features this function.

The implications to marketers range from the blocking of banner ads within HTML newsletters to problems tracking open rates. However, as observed by George Bilbrey of Return Path, images will only be blocked when sent to newly subscribed and users,vso the impact on open rates will not necessarily be as alarming as some reports might suggest.

There are ways of ensuring images are received by AOL’s web-based email users. Images won’t be blocked if sent by senders that qualify for AOL’s Enhanced Whitelist, and if a sender’s email address is in the recipient's address book it will allow the images to be displayed.

In recent research, the Email Experience Council discovered that 21 percent of 1,000 emails reviewed appeared blank when viewed using email clients that disabled images. More than a quarter of the emails displayed copy but contained dysfunctional links.

Tags: AOL, email marketing, images

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