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Christopher Knight

Solutions To Windows XP SP2 Removing HTML Email Graphics
By Christopher Knight

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The new Microsoft XP Service Pak 2 (SP2) automatically strips out and remove images from HTML emails sent to users who have SP2 installed and are using Microsoft Outlook Express on a Windows XP computer. This has many legitimate email newsletter publishers and email marketers upset that their HTML enriched and tracked emails will not get tracked properly and may look stupid to end users...and they have good reason to be upset.

According to Microsoft's website, the SP2 security update will provide "Safer E-Mail Handling with Outlook Express -- It also helps to keep you from unwittingly validating your e-mail address to spammers by blocking images in e-mail."

Read further this excerpt:
"Outlook Express in Windows XP SP2 will now block images automatically in messages from people who are not in your address book."

My position is that I think it's excellent that Microsoft wants to prevent spammers from knowing when one of their HTML emails are opened up by an end user...but absolutely never at the price of taking away users control by default. Naughty Naughty! If "corporate America" or whatever country you are from -- wants to restrict its users, I'm all for it -- but if Microsoft wants to do it by default, I'm not sure I'm happy about that.

According to Microsoft's Knowledge Base, they have an article on this topic and a solution to turn off the new default:

"Images are blocked when you open an e-mail message in Outlook Express on a Windows XP Service Pack 2-based computer"

There is only 2 work arounds to this problem:

  1. Educate your email list members on how to turn off the "Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail" option.

    Here's how:
    1. Click Start, point to Programs, and then click Outlook Express.
    2. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Security tab.
    3. Click to clear the Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail check box.
    4. Click Apply, and then click OK.

  2. This last one you may not like, but here it is: Don't publish in HTML emails. By sending plain text emails, you will improve your email deliverability rate because most spam scoring systems rank html emails as "closer to spam" than plain text. It's just an ugly, but true fact.

Me? I'm going to continue publishing in HTML as MS Outlook and MS Outlook Express are not the only email client game in town. :-)

If your email list members are B2C (Business to Consumer focused), perhaps this won't be a big deal for you as your end users may not be using the corporate standard of Microsoft Outlook for their email program.

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter:

Ezine-Tips for September 02, 2004

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