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MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 - SAVE $700 - VIP PRICING ENDS THURSDAY
Oct 02, 2002
How To

Refer-a-friend from Plain-Text Email? Help Us Test!

SUMMARY: Last week we asked readers of MarketingSherpa to help us test whether a simple link inserted into a plain-text email newsletter (like this one) would work. This week, we report the results of our first test, in which hundreds of readers participated, and invite you to help us with a new test.
It is commonly stated that you can not insert a refer-a-friend link into a plain-text email message . The "workaround" is to put a link in your plain-text email message to a Web form, where the sender would type in his name and his friend's email address.

Why not just let the sender use his own email address book?

Last week, we asked readers of MarketingSherpa to help us test a plain-text link. The results were promising, but we do not have a link that works in all email software yet.

This was our test link:

mailto:?subject=Read%20This&body=http://www.ms0.org/s.c
m/11/2159


Here are the results by email client (listed in order of client popularity)

* Outlook Express -- worked for all users

* AOL -- worked for all users

* Hotmail -- worked for some users (including in our own tests), but there didn't seem to be any pattern of working/not working

* Yahoo -- worked for about half of users (including in our own tests), but, again, no pattern

* Outlook -- worked for the vast majority of testers (including our own tests), but some Outlook 2000 readers had trouble with it

* Netscape -- never worked, but very small sample set

* Eudora -- never worked; Eudora viewed the part of the link beginning at http:// as the clickable part, and opened the Web page

* Lotus Notes -- worked with newer versions; failed with old versions

We have made some refinements to the link. Here is the new test:

The Test (with improved instructions):

1. Click this link below:

mailto:%20?subject=Read%20This&body=www.ms0.org/s.cfm/1
/2159


2. Does it open a new message window with the message body populated with "www.ms0.org/s.cfm/11/2159"? Is that line highlighted in blue (indicating it's a clickable link)?

Does the subject line read: "Read This"?

3. If yes, please drop us a line telling us your email client (Outlook Express, Lotus Notes, Yahoo mail, etc.), your operating system (Windows 98, Windows 2000, Mac OS 8, etc.), and platform (PC, Mac). This link will create the message for you: [Note: this test is completed so the email is no longer available.]

4. If no, please let us know what email client, operating system, and platform you are using. You can write to Alexis, our technology editor, at alexisg@marketingsherpa.com. Please use a subject line of "Nope."

We will report the results of this test here next week, so if you are reading this issue because a friend passed it along to you, do not forget to subscribe.

Part Two: Refer-a-Friend From Plain-Text Email? Test Results



It works! Thanks to help from Sherpa readers, our Tech Editor Alexis Gutzman has discovered a way for you to add.

Thank you, once again, to the over-200 people who sent us their results last week.

Two weeks ago, we asked you to test this:

mailto:?subject=Read%20This&body=http://www.ms0.org/s.c
m/11/2159


Then last week, based on mixed results with the first link, we asked you to test this:

mailto:%20?subject=Read%20This&body=www.ms0.org/s.cfm/1
/2159


Almost universally, clicking on the link we provided gave readers a message with a blank (or ) TO address, a SUBJECT of "Read This," and the link we provided in the message body.

Users of Lotus Notes 5 and earlier, users of Pegasus Mail, users of Penguin Mail, users of Mail App for the Mac, and one Eudora user got everything after subject= in their subject lines.

For the vast majority of mail clients and the overwhelming majority of testers, the main problem identified was that the link in the body of the newly created message was not clickable either during the send, or when received. Some readers actually sent themselves the message to see whether it might become clickable when received.

==> Conclusion: Link above works in just about all email clients to create a new message, but recipients would have to cut and past the link into their browsers to use it.

Still Testing

Rich Tatum from Christianity Today suggested we go one step further and encode the ":" (in http://) so that Eudora, which did not like the mailto tag, preferring to highlight only the part of the link that began with http:// , would not notice that there was an http:// in the original URL, and the rest of the email clients, which wanted to see an http:// at the front of the new link in the new message, would see the http:// and make it clickable.

Please follow these steps:

1. Cl*i*ck this link below: mailto:%20?subject=Read%20This&body=http%3A//www.ms0.org/s.
fm/11/2168


2. Does it open a new message window with the message body populated with "www.ms0.org/s.cfm/11/2168"? Is that line highlighted in blue (indicating it's a clickable link)?

Does the subject line read: "Read This"?

3. If yes, please drop us a line telling us your email client (Outlook Express, Lotus Notes, Yahoo mail, etc.), your operating system (Windows 98, Windows 2000, Mac OS 8, etc.), and platform (PC, Mac). This link will create the message for you:

mailto:service@marketingsherpa.com?subject=It%20works%2
3


4. If no, please let us know what email client, operating system, and platform you are using. You can write to Alexis, our technology editor, at service@marketingsherpa.com. Please use a subject line of "Nope3." Please provide details of what you do get.

We will report the results of this test here next week.
See Also:

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