Email Standards – Can We Make a Difference?

We've all been there, a boss, a client, or a friend calls you up and says:

We want to do this email campaign and it's going to be wildly successful! What do you mean? Of course it should render properly, that's a given. SPAM? That shouldn't be a problem, these people have subscribed to our list!

Meanwhile your mind is racing at the vast complexity of this seemingly simple task. We all know that there should be a universal standard for HTML and CSS but the fact is email clients are far less concerned with compliance than web browsers. None of their users are complaining about the way advisements are rendered in their inbox. So can we make a difference? It may be wishful thinking but our answer to that question is: Yes!
Email Standards Project A few years ago, Campaign Monitor launched the Email Standards Project. It's a site that identifies current standards with a rating system for each email client. Their ultimate goal was to build a community dedicated to making a change.
Fix Outlook Campaign Soon after Campaign Monitor launched the "Fix Outlook" campaign - a Twitter based platform wherein people could tweet on behalf of fixing Outlook 2007. The goal was to get Microsoft to use an engine like Internet Explore vs. Microsoft Word in its next release. Although Outlook 2010 showed no signs of compliance, Microsoft has recently released that Outlook 2011 for the Mac will be using Webkit.  Congrats Campaign Monitor! We applaud you for taking initiative and starting a movement!
Blogging for Change Since starting our blog in 2009, we have also made some subtle strides at increasing compliance. In November 2010, we reported that images were not supported in the iPad version of Gmail. Within two days a representative for Gmail responded and notified us that it had been resolved.  Though our post was likely just an asside, it's good to know that they are listening in on conversations regarding email renderability. Just recently, we published an article regarding Hotmail's latest release and the fact that they no longer support image maps. Within a week, they responded and again the issue was resolved immediately. It may be optomistic but we have to believe that email clients are just as concerned with overall customer satisfaction as the next company. We are behind Campaign Monitor 100% when it comes to their visionary effort to bring universal standards to email developers worldwide! With that in mind, we've just launched a new project called Emailology - the science of looking good in the inbox. There, you will find a guide for universally supported HTML/CSS and several other handy tools for developing HTML emails. It may be a rough road ahead but until we start to see standards emerge, we are committed to help you navigate your "not so simple" task of developing and delivering HTML emails that render flawlessly across the board.