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Newsletter activation mail hotmail/outlook issue

Posted on 2013-06-21
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Last Modified: 2013-07-16
Hi,

When visitors of a site i'm working on sign-up for the newsletter, they get a email with an activation link. By default hotmail/outlook block these links.

When the link is clicked, hotmail asks if you want to de-block the link. if the user now clicks yes, the link will be de-blocked, and the images in the email will show. BUT when clicking de-block, the link is also executed. so the email is activated. but the user doesn't know this. If he now clicks the activation link, and is taken to the website activation page, the user gets an error message the link is not valid (as it is already activated).

How can i solve / handle this issue? I expect many have this problem?

Thanks!
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Question by:peps03
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9 Comments
 
LVL 83

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 375 total points
ID: 39265383
Why not just accept it (or appear to accept it) if is within a few minutes of the first one?  You won't be able to explain to your users what is happening so just make it easy on them.  Besides, what does it matter if they 'activate' an already activated account?  Just check the status and don't do anything if it has already been accepted.
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Assisted Solution

by:peps03
peps03 earned 0 total points
ID: 39265418
so i would have to trash all the websites activation 'error' messages because microsoft is failing to properly block / de-block links in emails?
i noticed this issue also occurs when an account activation email is sent.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:hankknight
ID: 39265865
Perhaps you could simply display URL for the verification link instead of making it a clickable link.  You could require recipients to copy the URL and paste it into their browser.
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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:COBOLdinosaur
COBOLdinosaur earned 125 total points
ID: 39266056
The problem is you are using images associated with the link.  That makes it look like spam.  It would not even make it to my inbox. unless I whitelisted you.

As for "... microsoft is failing to properly block / de-block links in emails?..."

The issue is you assuming you can send whatever you want to users.  You have zero rights when it comes to how a user wants email delivered; where they have their email account; and what filtering they do.

Send a plain text email with a link instead of shooting yourself in the foot trying to impress users who probably are not going to be impressed.  You might also want to give the user an option of getting the newsletter as plain text, as some email clients and user setting will screw up HTML email big time.

Cd&
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LVL 83

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 375 total points
ID: 39266578
Cd& is right.  If it doesn't work or doesn't appear to work, it will be considered your fault.  Your "websites activation 'error' messages" are for you it appears.  While they might be useful for actual errors, it is not a user error in the case you are describing.  You are supposed to be making it easier for the users, not them making it easier for you.

So Yes, if an account is already activated, I would trash the "websites activation 'error' messages".  Save them for the spammers you will undoubtedly get.
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Author Comment

by:peps03
ID: 39269928
Thanks for your replies.
I made a new email with no images and only a table, some css, text + the activation link and a footer with some contact info etc.

But the email still ends in the outlook.com spam folder, while gmail is totally oke.


I also tested with plain text, this also ends up in the spam folder..
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LVL 83

Accepted Solution

by:
Dave Baldwin earned 375 total points
ID: 39269943
There is nothing you can do to guarantee that it won't end up in the spam folder.  That is determined by the receiver of the email and by the rules of the email program.  If you have never sent an email to that person on outlook.com, chances are that it will either be blocked or put in spam.
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Author Comment

by:peps03
ID: 39317744
i didn't want to close, but accept multiple answers!
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Author Closing Comment

by:peps03
ID: 39329102
Thanks!!
Removed the images. And changes the error handling!
Sorry for late reply!
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