[thelist] Sending both HTML and plaintext email

John Pye john.pye at purplehouse.com
Wed Mar 21 12:10:27 CST 2001

<tip type="HTML emails">
If you are sending (perhaps against your free will) HTML emails to people
and you don't know whether or not they are being received correctly, take a
look at your web server logs for the URL of one of the images that was
referenced in the email (assuming you didn't MIME-encode all the embedded

You will be able to see how many times that image was hit, and that will
give you a good idea of the proportion of users out there for whom the HTML
email really worked. If it's not a high number, think about changing over to
plain text format.

Possible invasion of privacy, but with a happy ending: you could serve one
of the images using a CGI-script URL (mail-merged into the message) and
thereby keep tabs on the email addresses of the people who downloaded that
image. Then you could later update your database to change all the other
people over to plain text - eg:

It is a real battle trying to convince marketing people that HTML is fraught
with incompatibility problems, not to mention the fact that it annoys people
on slow or dial-up connections. None of this is an issue if you obtain clear
preferences from people up-front about what sort of email they prefer to
receive (HTML/plaintext)

John Pye
+44 (0)20 7258 6900

-----Original Message-----
From: thelist-admin at lists.evolt.org
[mailto:thelist-admin at lists.evolt.org]On Behalf Of Anthony Baratta
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 6:00 PM
To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject: Re: [thelist] Sending both HTML and plaintext email

At 09:23 AM 3/21/2001, you wrote:
>Is there a way of sending both HTML and plaintext at the same time?
>I could imagine a small detector that would not interfere with a non-HTML
>viewer.  If HTML support was detected, then it would automatically redirect
>to a full HTML page.
>Is this possible?

Remember that the email client is not a browser. It's a "passive" receiver
of the data. What you are asking for is not currently possible.

Anthony Baratta
Keyboard Jockeys

For unsubscribe and other options, including
the Tip Harvester and archive of TheList go to:
http://lists.evolt.org Workers of the Web, evolt !

More information about the thelist mailing list