Ugly HTML Mail Sample

Here is what HTML mail looks like to a client that doesn't render HTML:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<HTML><HEAD>
<META http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
<META content="MSHTML 5.50.4919.2200" name=GENERATOR>
<STYLE></STYLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY bgColor=#ffffff>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Hey Brad;</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2> 1) From your FAQ page at Webalizer.com the README 
file link in question 19 to <A 
href="ftp://ftp.mrunix.net/pub/webalizer/README">ftp://ftp.mrunix.net/pub/webalizer/README</A>&nbsp;brings 
a 404 Page Not Found error message.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2> 2) </FONT><FONT face=Arial size=2>My host recently 
added Webalizer and I am trying to find the best way to keep the program running 
correctly and to deny outsiders the ability to look at it. I would prefer not to 
give others access to my stats.&nbsp; I do web design and at any given time have 
client demos in various stages of completion and other things I'd prefer not to 
have the general public see popping up in my stats.&nbsp; Does Webalizer have a 
password protection mode or anything?</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>XXXXXX XXXXXXX<BR>XXXXXXXXX Web Design<BR><A 
href="http://www.xxxxxxxxxxxx.com">http://www.xxxxxxxxxxxx.com</A><BR>(xxx) 
xxx-xxxx</FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

Sending mail in a format such as above is not only rude, but presumptuous. Not everyone can or wants to receive messages with lots of embedded garbage that adds nothing to the content of the message, and in many cases, distracts from the content. It shows not only a lack of netequitte, but an arrogant assumption about the capabilities of the recipients mail client and a complete disregard for internet standards. This e-mail is a perfect example; there is not a single element in the above message that required the use of a markup language, with the possible exception of a link to a web site. Notice the liberal scattering of <FONT> tags, all identical and simply specifying a font that may or may not be present on the recipients machine; the use of &nbsp tags instead of simple space characters; and the use of <DIV> and <BR> tags when carriage returns were all that were needed. The friend you send this to who is trying to read it on their cell phone or PDA won't be very happy about all the extra garbage preventing him from reading your message, nor will your professor or aquaintance who is trying to read this on their VAX at work using VMS-Mail, or that government worker over at the department of transportation using a VT-320 terminal. The above is actually not too bad in terms of the added garbage.. at least the <STYLE> verbage was left out, which can add hundreds of lines and add nothing to the content other than change font sizes or colors. In any case, HTML tags are for web pages, where they can be viewed with a browser designed to display them, not for e-mail, where the intention is to convey information, not pretty backgrounds and cute dancing envelopes that add nothing but clutter and may not be able to be displayed by the recipient anyway.

For additional reading about HTML in e-mail, See:


Last modified by B. Barrett on May 9, 2008