Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Email Standards Project: Yes!

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I think everyone can relate to this- standardizing the way your email is seen across all of the different flavors of email inboxes.

So to those that don’t get it, though, imagine this: did you know that standardization exists for browsers, but not for email? Browsers all use a specific DOM (document object model) for HTML, but email is like the Wild West- each town has a different set of laws. Each email inbox? Different ways of rendering HTML.

What if every browser rendered a web page vastly differently, than what we know now? To a degree that it was almost impossible to design a single, consistent email page across all browsers, like we see now with? Would the internet have experienced the explosion that it did, would MySpace happen, would YouTube, eBay, etc. Random companies wouldn’t be able to put up even brochureware site without dragging in an expert on each browser.

To a degree we (who are old enough!) remember the days when being an HTML programmer was lucrative just because browsers were struggling with a consistent rendering. Navigator shows inline images, Mosaic doesn’t, Explorer (when it finally came out) renders JS strangely… but having a career based on a faulty system, and a repetitive career like that, is not an advancement of technology but, to use another metaphor, a truck with a wheel stuck in a pothole. We need to exert a lot of effort to get that wheel out of the pothole, and start innovation rolling again.

Right now you’re saying: well blame the spammers. Inboxes would have adopted the DOM From HTML, but spammers like to send viruses embedded in JavaScript, iFrames, etc. The problem with that is that a limited DOM would serve the purpose, and not expose email inboxes more than they do now.

So HTML got a standard, with help of the W3C organization, back in the early 90s. For many reasons, email never did. Most of my posts here are about the strange, fluctuating changes of HTML email support across browsers – who shows alt tags? Who lets you use CSS? I don’t like writing these posts, and each time someone in the industry reads them, they get this fatigued response of “oh I don’t want to go look at that grid of compliance on the Campaign Monitor site…” it’s a messy spaghetti-like maze. (yes, another metaphor.)

This effort of standardizing email has been a proactive effort on the part of many email experts, who are tired of just sitting at conferences bitching about the status quo. I applaud them, and their vast efforts, herding cats, basically. Jump over and check out the site, or if you know of someone that works at Gmail/Yahoo mail or Hotmail, drop them a note to check out ESP.

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Written on Wednesday, 28. November 2007 at 13:36 In the category other_blogs, strategy, technology. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Read the Comments. Trackbacks- Trackback on this post. Share on FriendFeed

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