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Dynamicaly generating images for emails

Posted on 2004-04-29
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
First off, I would like to say that I am not a spammer and my question is a philosophical one so it should be easy to answer.  I work for a financial company that emails customers weekly market commentary that is about 3-6 pages long.  We ran into problems with spam filters because there were some words (like debt, investment.) that the financial guys could not live without.  I made a program that flags potential spam words, and then we have to beg them to try to find Synonyms that won't get flaged.  

I had this great idea to modify the program so when it finds a potential spam word it will replace it with an image of the word that looked exactly the same.  I found a great tutorial about generating images on-the-fly using PHP.

My question is will this help email deliverability. And is it worth the effort?  Also, if anyone has created text images using PHP and would like to add some tips, that would be helpful.  
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Question by:navom1
6 Comments
 
LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:duz
ID: 10956791
navom1 -

Nice idea :) but I am sure it's not worth the effort.  That is unless you produce a generic version and then sell it to the spammers :(

If I was in this position I would get an intern to spend a week accumulating 'financial newsletters' and see if any of them have eased the problem and how.

There are some bright people here and I think there may be some better ideas coming along.....

- duz
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:leechoonhwee
ID: 10956828
Why not just send the customers a link to a web page that display the content?
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Author Comment

by:navom1
ID: 10959391
I fooled around with some PHP scripts and it dosen't look all that difficult.  the only problem I see is if someone was using a weird font.  

I saw some emails that used this idea about a year ago, but I haven't seen them since.  have they trained filters to look for this little trick?

I don't think that our customers would like having to take the extra step of clicking on the link.  most of our customers are older (we do a lot of retirement planning) and we want to make it as easy as possible for them.
0
 

Author Comment

by:navom1
ID: 11101037
I tried using the trick I found here:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web/Online_Marketing/Q_20448088.html

which was to load the content of the website using this code:


<html>
<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="Javascript">
<!--
rfsh = new Date()
rfsh = "?"+rfsh.getTime()
theurl = "http://www.yoursite.xyz/content.html"+rfsh
document.location=theurl
//-->
</SCRIPT>
</html>


This way I would not have to worry about the content and would solve my problem.  I tested this by sending this to a yahoo address and could not get it to work.  I think this is because it would solve alot of spammers problems as well.
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LVL 2

Accepted Solution

by:
harveykane earned 126 total points
ID: 11247466
This is a PHP script I use to display text vertically on a page (as far as I know, an image is the only way to do this). I'm not on my development machine, so I cant make a custom script but you should be able to modify this one. You need to use this with a 100x100 PNG as your background called "images/button1.png" - any PNG will do for testing purposes.

To use this script, GD needs to be installed on your server. GD is bundled with recent versions of PHP, but you do need to enable it - details at php.net

Also, GD defaults to a pretty lame set of 5 default fonts - I believe it's a mission to install more fonts. You will almost certainly run into font problems with your newsletter if some words are text and others images. I'm not sure what the best method of working with this is.

<?php
   //TEXT.PHP - makes a small PNG image with vertical text
   header("Content-type: image/png");
   $string = $_GET['text'];
   $im    = imagecreatefrompng("images/button1.png");
   $black = imagecolorallocate($im, 0, 0, 0);
   imagestringup($im, 3, 5, 145, $string, $black);
   imagepng($im);
   imagedestroy($im);
?>

Call the script using...
<image src="text.php?text=helloworld">
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