HTML Email Image Embedding

Having spent many hours composing HTML emails, I’ve had a request to start using image embedding in the emails rather than linking. My initial reaction is that this is a bad thing due to the following reason:

  • It’s initially tricky to embed the image
  • It forces the user to download content they don’t want
  • It increases email weight, which in turn makes it slower to appear on slower connections/mobiles
  • It has a higher chance of being tagged as spam as a greater proportion of the email is HTML

Is my last point correct here? I understood that Spam Assassin etc looked at the content of the email and flagged it if it had too much non-text content. Would this trigger it?

Are there any other points worth considering? I’m not convinced to start embedding.

Afaik images embeded inside emails can be reported as spam because images could have callbacks etc and are used by spammers / hackers to lure unsuspecting users.

Cant remember where i got that from but its something along those lines as to why its a bad idea to embed images in an email. I think outlook and possibly hotmail blocks / marks emails with embeded images as spam.

The problem I have is that my client has received emails with embedded images successfully without them getting blocked and therefore thinks we can do it for them.

I understand that Gmail etc block embedded images. Does that sound right?

hmmm not sure, I’m sure someone else around here would be able to give a more definative answer. I wear I’ve read a few articles about it but i cant find them at the moment.

Im also from cheltenham btw, small world!

Interesting! Are you a freelancer/agency?

If you can find any resources I’d like to some links. I’ve seen most of the Campaign Monitor/ESP stuff though.

And that didn’t put you off? Their results made it not seem feasible to do this. You just have to ask the clients if they mind lots of people not getting the emails.

Here is a recent thread that discussed this:

CM recently did an updte of their image embedding article, in case you haven’t seen it:

I understand that Gmail etc block embedded images. Does that sound right?

My mail client ( blocks images but allows the mail itself to go through (even if it ends up in the spam box, I can whitelist it). I can specifically ask to have the images shown. In any mail client that acts like that, I would have no problem embedding images. If they’re blocked, oh well.

It’s a problem when it causes the entire message to be blocked.

Hm, nice link ralph, just read it.

Ah I’m agency, I work at a place called the nerv are you freelancing then?

In that case, do you know Ringo? I used to work with Lucie at Room 58. I’m now at Petersen. I’m Pete Jones.

ah nice, yeh hes sat across the office from right now! haha

I used to sit right opposite Lucie. Met him a few times. Ask him if he remembers a bloke with a big slap, and a hatred for Martin Jones ;o)