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What Is HTML E-mail?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2014
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An HTML e-mail is an e-mail message that is created using hypertext markup language (HTML). Often, businesses prefer to send HTML e-mail messages when they want to create visually appealing e-mails that catch the reader’s attention. A person may create an HTML e-mail that includes many of the same elements an individual might find on a Web page, but there are also some cons to sending this type of e-mail. For starters, HTML e-mails may load slowly, and people may be hesitant to open and view their graphics because hackers sometimes send viruses and other harmful computer code in HTML e-mails. Additionally, some computer e-mail programs may not be compatible with certain types of HTML e-mail elements.

In most cases, HTML e-mails are more exciting for the recipient that plain text e-mails. HTML e-mails often includes graphics, photographs, colored fonts, fancy type, and clickable links. Some may include icons, video elements, and even interactive forms. In general, HTML e-mail makes it easier for advertisers to gain and keep the attention of potential and current clients and customers.

HTML e-mail is popular because it is usually more visually appealing than a plain text e-mail. An HTML message may feature a burst of color and graphics that are similar to what one might see on a Web page. As such, advertisers often use HTML e-mail as a marketing tool to interest consumers in what they have to offer and draw them to their websites.

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One of the major cons of HTML in e-mail is that many people are leery of it. This is due to the fact that hackers sometimes send virus and other types of malicious computer code in e-mails. For example, a hacker may embed code in an email that automatically causes files to download on an unsuspecting person's computer. For this reason, many people use e-mail controls that block HTML elements. In fact, some people have their HTML e-mails sent straight to junk e-mail folders.

Another problem for those who use HTML e-mail may be related to compatibility. Some people with older computers and certain types of software may not be able to view some of the elements used in HTML e-mails, even if they would like to view them. In such a case, a person without the right software may only see the text of an e-mail and none of the graphics. In other cases, impossible-to-decipher code may appear where the normal e-mail text should be visible.

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