by the way…

LinkedIn Zeus spam run targets prospective business marks – i’ve been getting this spam for three weeks and i haven’t picked up the ZeuS trojan yet…

of course, i haven’t been clicking on any links in mail that crosses my desk labled as “spam”, and i have been reporting messages that claim to be from LinkedIn that are labled “spam” for three weeks… i have opened (as text-only, not as html) precisely one message that claimed to be from LinkedIn that was labled “spam”, about three weeks ago, to determine that it was, in fact, spam, and that has been it.

once again, the principal reason that email should not be sent as “formatted” or containing html code, is because, if it is, you can’t tell immediately that things are not as they should be. most people don’t think to look at the bottom of their screen, at the status bar of their email client or browser, to make sure that the link that they think they’re clicking is actually the link they’re clicking. most people assume that when they see a link, if they click on it they will be taken to the site indicated in the link, but that is NOT TRUE and especially so when the link is in an email message.

if i type in a link – – if that link is “active” (which this one is not), most people would assume that clicking it will take you to the site indicated, which is Hybrid Elephant. however, if you see the words Hybrid Elephant with no link, unless you look down, at the status bar of your browser (because you are viewing it in a web page, which is formatted using HTML), you won’t know that the link takes you to somewhere you may not have been expecting.

email was originally intended for communication on a very basic level. the web was intended for delivering “richer”, more “complete” content. you can say “check this out” without saying it in letters that are “formatted”. it may be “cooler” to say it in bold, purple, 72-point letters, but if you send such a message, the only thing you’re doing is forcing people who may not want it, to get a large quantity of essentially meaningless code along with a relatively short message, and sending people the possibility of getting their machines infected with a virus without you or them knowing about it, until it’s too late.

it not only saves space, but doesn’t have the potential for screwing up someone’s entire machine, as this LinkedIn/ZeuS spam tries to do.

HTML in Email is EVIL!


3 thoughts on “by the way…”

  1. i would expect you to check the status bar before clicking a link, but most people don’t even know what a status bar is, much less how to determine whether the information displayed there is accurate.

    also, even if the message has a “text part”, you will still be sending out hundreds of lines of essentially meaningless code and increasing your message size, even for the people who do accept html-formatted email. there’s a big difference between the size of a message that has one sentance in text only, and that same message formatted with html. while it’s not much of a problem for people like us, who are provided an essentially “free” network connection, there are still people who pay “per byte” for their network connection. a message formatted with html takes up a lot more bytes than the same message as text only, pretty much regardless of how long it is.

  2. I’m moving to mailchimp for my newsletter and yes, I’m going to be doing html formatted email. but the option for text is available… for folks like you.

    personally, I don’t click a link from someone I don’t know and even if it came in from someone I know, I’m going to check it out in the status bar.

    but I NEED to do something to get myself regular with the Hobbit Howls. I’m combining the move to mailchimp with the use of rememberthemilk in hopes that the latter will nag me to do it and the former will make it easier.

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