Since the launch of this blog (way back in August last year which feels like forever) several areas of email marketing have been covered. Both good and bad examples of email marketing messages, email clients and browsers info, deliverability and several other news posts have been done since then: the time has come for a more structured and focussed form of posting. This way, the quality per post will go up and all areas will be more evenly covered.
The structure will be following a monday – wednesday – friday schedule for posts, where monday will be reserved for insights into email marketing topics, wednesday for news roundups and friday for a winner/failure post: an example of good or bad email marketing in whatever way possible. This will be a test for a set period of time and if it works out, I will stick with it: if not it will be killed off.
Lastly, for everyone who has been visiting, linking to and commenting on this blog: thank you – so far it has been great to write on all those various email marketing topics and get into contact with fellow email geeks and discuss lots of things.
Just a few days ago, Anna Yeaman of Style Campaign posted an update on their blog about DIS tech, or Dynamic Image Server tech. This technology displays dynamic (video) imagery on the fly in a user’s email client. After viewing the demo video (available below for watching) I was highly impressed, so I got in touch with Anna and requested some more information. Below the video are some questions and answers about this new technology.
How does it work?
The technology works based on time of day, location, device used and other variables. With these factors taken into account the images are generated on opening the message in real-time accordingly. The countdown to Xmas was a nice example: each day (of 5 days in total) the imagery in the received email was dynamically generated to include a new one. Take note that the receiver’s time zone is taken into account in this example. The streaming technology is DRM compliant. There is in-built copy protection, as the video content is never cached on the client device.
Is it difficult to use or make content for?
Using it is simple and content can be created in a normal fashion. The actual sending is not done by Style Campaign, just the dynamic imagery hosting part. After the content creation, the dynamic image urls are sent to the sender who can use them in their message(s).
Info for the tech geeks
DIS is a proprietary HTTP server. It’s written in C and built specifically to serve dynamically generated images quickly and efficiently. All drawing routines are written in highly optimized C code for maximum performance (100xPHP or 10xJava) minimizing concurrency when under load. With a relatively small memory footprint it allows for maximum scalability.
More info on the technology, with extra examples can be found on the Style Campaign website here. I’d like to thank Anna Yeaman for providing the info and the imagery!
Domain Assurance helps protect companies from being spoofed and phished by blocking fraudulent emails before they reach the consumer’s inbox.
With Domain Assurance, email senders first have their domains audited to be sure they are properly authenticated. Email authentication methods like SPF and DKIM are industry-accepted standards that confirm the identity of the sender of the email. In the Domain Assurance Dashboard, email senders can review authentication results from Return Path’s mailbox provider partners and the proprietary ISP-based Return Path Reputation Network. Senders can readily detect any malicious activity and initiate a proactive course of action to mitigate any damage.
Additionally, senders can validate email authentication results across all the email sent under their domains, including transactional, marketing, and corporate.
Once the sender has ensured that all their email is being authenticated, they can add their domains and sub-domains to the Domain Assurance Registry list for ISPs to automatically reject all mail coming from these registered domains that fail authentication. Email senders using Domain Assurance have access to rich data reports about their email, get alerted when fraudulent emails using their domains are observed, and are provided with email intelligence on attackers and phishing URLs so they can initiate the take down of fraudulent websites.
As I understand this service, it will not be for every company but more for high volume, high profile companies that are at the crossroads of sending a lot of emails themselves, but also having their brand or product name abused by people who are creating phishing messages. To mitigate the effect of phishing emails the audience should be educated, go to the root cause of the problem: sending phishing emails pays off, just like sending spam, sadly because they get response. If no-one would open or click through a spam or phishing message they have received the amount of spam and phishing messages being sent in the first place would drop to neglicible levels and services like these would not be necessary.
Late last week the first version of Google Chrome 10 was released as beta. According to the post on the Chrome blog this is the fastest version ever of the company’s browser, posting an increase of an impressive 66% on the V8 benchmark compared to the previous version:
This is the first Chrome version that will utilize a computer’s GPU to accelerate video: through the use of this the load on the CPU should be a lot lower. The settings interface has been given a revamp as well, and the functionality of storing and syncing of passwords is expanded.
With the Firefox 4 Beta also available now, and recently the IE9 RC version too it seems the battle of the browsers is definitely heating up. With Chrome hovering at about 5% to 10% market share it seems it’s the only browser showing real growth currently, with Internet Explorer share declining below 60% and Firefox just hovering at the same 25% to 30%.
Valentine’s Day is now behind us, and on that day I did a special check on my email accounts whether anything fun, special or different was done by retailers. Some did fun subject lines like Zappos: ‘Make Your Escape! Get free shipping, too!’ which made me smile. Also, Victoria’s Secret did it their way, with a teasing subject line: ‘Just one little question…’. The email content:
A bit cheesy as subject line and content, but still fun: and an offer code was put in too as well. Worth your time, right?
Dell failed sadly, not only misspelling a subject line but also showing inconsistency in the email content. The subject line was ‘Open dit bericht en ontdek hou Dell het verschil voor U wil maken’ where the ‘hou’ should be a ‘hoe’. Clumsy, as well as the rating of the product:
Average score of 5 out of 5 by customers (wow!) but the it’s a 4 out of 5 star graphic. Huh? Confused I am. Also, they are offering 5% extra online off orders, but only for orders € 799 and up while the advertised laptops are from € 449. A big difference which means you’ll first have to order quite a serious laptop before you get 5% off. Still, that’s about € 40 when ordering a € 799 laptop so it could be worth it.
All in all, it seems most retailers were pretty on the safe side during Valentine’s Day, or not testing: same old, same old. Moving on to the next big holiday: Easter.