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Janet Roberts

HTML Advantage: One-Click Comments
By Janet Roberts

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A while back, I asked readers to send in good examples of HTML functions that text newsletters can't do. Here's one I found out all by myself:

The HTML version of the onlineSPIN marketing/advertising newsletter, published by, lets you post comments to its partner message board, the SPIN Board, right from the newsletter.

Each daily column has a comment box at the bottom. Fill in your thoughts, hit "Post Reply," and your comments go right to the board, with your user name attached. You don't have to open your email client, go to the site or even leave the newsletter.

It's not perfect technology. You don't get a confirmation or any other indication that your post went through. So, don't do what I did and hit "Post Reply" five times. Your post will go through five times, and you'll look like the most clueless newbie, just like me.

It looks like a ColdFusion application is being used, because the URL for the Post Reply button includes this code: "index.cfm?fuseaction=reply&forum=XX&ID=XX." I'm not the HTML expert here, so if you're up on ColdFusion, you probably know better how this works.

Still, it's a handy device if you publish a newsletter and have a companion message board at a Web site. It shouldn't replace a feedback link, though, because people will have thoughts they want to pass along to you without posting them in public.

You'll have to subscribe to onlineSPIN to see how the reply box works in the newsletter, because the Web version replaces it with a standard link to the board. Find it here.

Ezine-Tips for August 01, 2002

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