Desparate need HTML coding help

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Forum' started by Tipstaff, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,734
    Likes Received:
    1,374
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Hey, guys.

    I'm in need of some HTML coding help. At work we use a program called Maestro for doing mass emaling, and at first I thought it was this software causing our issues, however I now know it's not. Here's the deal:

    1) The client is trying to support multiple browsers/platforms using 1 HTML email. By this I mean that, when testing, the client requires everything to be tested on Outlook, Gmail/Android, and Apple. However, we can never get the email to look correct on all versions. Being a newb to this, is there something I should be passing on to the guys doing the coding that they should be paying attention to, or that they need to include in order to have the email supported on a wider range of email clients?

    2) Every email sent to a Gmail address is either being flagged as SPAM, or in the case of the last email, malicious. I'm thinking it's the structure of the HTML code, so is there something, a piece of software, that they can run their code against? I've tried a couple HTML validation sites (which is how I figured out the issue is code related, not software), but all they really do is tell me the code is wrong, and what lines, but not how to fix it. Plus the errors look to be more in line with design issues, and don't seem related to what is triggering Gmails security. Any ideas?

    I should note that I don't have any part in the design/creation work (my HTML coding skills are so ancient it's not funny). However I know enough that I can spot irregularities, or issues in the code.. just not how to fix them. I only deal with proofing, conversion for the text version that accompanies the email, handling the mailing list itself (ie. bounces and unsub/subscribers), the deployment, and analytics work. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Mousey

    Mousey HH's Official Rodent

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Messages:
    7,902
    Likes Received:
    510
    Trophy Points:
    138
    Okay amma try my best here, i was summoned by @Calliers;

    1 - Email's a technology still stuck in 1990, it doesn't support a <head> tag, and it doesn't support the majority of the CSS in any uniform fashion, mostly due to the different views on security all the different clients implement, Outlook tends to be the most forgiving but mobile clients especially are fucking brutal, they strip out the majority of tags that aren't text or tables. If they're trying to style an email the best bet is either to use a third party email provider like Newzapp, or if they're willing to do the long painful testing process of firing a million emails off every time they make a change; they can try inlining the majority of styling information, ie;
    Code:
    <div id='main_content' style='background: #FF0000; font-weight: bold; text-decoration: none'> put your content here </div>
    You need to do that for Every. Freaking. Mother. Humping. Element. Of. The. Entire. DOM. though, so it's a bloody painful process. No stylesheets here, no sir.

    2 - Have you tried adding an SPF Record to the domain? The receiving end will be checking for an SPF Record from the sender's server to verify it's not just part of a spam wave. Images and things like that are pretty bad for triggering spam filters too if you're not running through a third party provider like Newzapp...

    No, i don't work for Newzapp.
     
    Calliers likes this.
  3. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator/Editor Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    60,438
    Likes Received:
    4,623
    Trophy Points:
    139
    Good to see that you found some time to come help Mousey. Thanks a bunch. +Rep.
     
  4. Mousey

    Mousey HH's Official Rodent

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Messages:
    7,902
    Likes Received:
    510
    Trophy Points:
    138
    Might as well put the web dev knowledge to use :p

    Oh yeah to give you an idea of just how BAD email really is, I send emails out from the deadlyLLAMA website via a postfix server running on the same server as the website, to a self hosted mailbox also running on the same server, and i STILL have compatibility issues, even though it doesn't even leave the bastard server!! wtf?!??!
     
    Calliers likes this.
  5. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,734
    Likes Received:
    1,374
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Thanks, Mousey. I'll either pass that style info along, or try my hand at testing it.

    As for SPF info, I had a similar idea along those lines, maybe that the email was missing something, some kind of extra header information to prove that this is a legit email that isn't being included. What I can say is that this kind of thing is outside of my my area of work. This is a Government job in a lettershop/insertion area. We're getting into mass emailing as that is the direction things are heading for a lot of our clients (other Ministries), shifting from paper to paperless, and we license the use of Maestro of another Ministry. So, any changes of the nature you're describing would be extremely difficult to put into action.

    Mind you, is there a way to insert the kind of info you're talking about into the X-Headers? I can override or add additional info into the email from within Maestro.

    In any event, here's where we're at:

    - One idea we have is that Gmail is flagging these as SPAM/malicous because the images are not being hosted on the same server that the email came from. To be clear, 9 images are stored on server A (so A.gov.ca), while the email comes from server B (and B.gov.ca). As a test we removed all the images, and sure enough Gmail didn't complain. I'm in the process of getting some test space to host the clients assets on the same server the email is coming from, and see if that works.

    - For yesterdays deployment I took a different approach. Maestro allows me to embed the images directly into the email. Bloody tedious job, but wouldn't you know it, it worked. Again, Gmail didn't complain, however there were 2 caveats: 1) the size went up from 20kb to near 500kb. Big deal right? Apparently it is to the client as they want to reach the most people possible, and size could affect this, so I'm going through several ideas to see if I can get the size down (got it to just shy of 200kb by compressing the images to 80% of normal), and 2) very few, maybe 10 or so, bounced back from non-Gmail providers tagged as possible spam. 100 extra emails going out vs. 10 coming back.. personally I can live with that, but I don't know if the client can.

    Thanks for the ideas and help so far Mousey. It's much appreciated.
     
  6. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Messages:
    3,386
    Likes Received:
    401
    Trophy Points:
    108
    I send and receive a metric fuckton of emails at work (>100pw) from design agencies, end users, clients, etc. The only type of "theme" that works well in my experience is an email signature with 0-1 pics and social media icons.
    If you haven't done so already, make sure that the headers show that the sender is a valid sender for the domain. Displaying the contents of the headers on a received email should denote whether it's an authorised sender.
     
    Calliers likes this.
  7. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,734
    Likes Received:
    1,374
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Both the Received SPF and Authentication Results show as "pass", and "google.com: domain of (reply email address) designates (our public IP Address) as permitted sender". Plus the "Received: from" domain name and IP address match the SPF/Authentication addresses as well. Going by that I'd assume everything is ok?

    I've tried asking those in charge of the Maestro server about the way they have the headers set up, or about the option within Maestro to add additional header info.... it's like I'm speaking Klingon or something, because I can't get any info from them.
     

Share This Page

visited