Go check out email-marketing-reports, where David Greiner, the initiator of the Email Standards Project, gets interviewed and gives his take on why the Standards project was made and what it’s for.

One of the highlights of the interview has to be the hint that one of the email client industry’s key players (such as MS, Yahoo, Google, Lotus, etc) have already approached David and his team to get more information on the ESP and, hopefully, are willing to do something about it.

The real goal of the ESP is for change.  Actual, black and white change.  Any other project similar to this one might go half the distance – which would still be a great thing – but they’d stop at making a resource website that shows how an email acts in different email clients.  Greiner and his ESP are going the full mile – they’re not only showing the behaviour of emails in each client, but they’re also pushing for change to those email clients who need changing.  We’re talking Microsoft’s Outlook 2007, Hotmail, Google’s Gmail, and Lotus Notes here – major players in the email client market.

Obviously a lot of onus is being put on these big wigs to sit up and listen, but, just as I ranted on about in my manifesto, the beauty of today’s web is that anyone can step up on a soapbox and be heard.  The power has shifted to the user, and the ESP will be a perfect example of just how much power we the users now have.

I think I’m quickly becoming the Email Standards Project’s biggest fan.  What they’ve achieved, in less than a week, is monumental.  Its one thing to think of doing something, or wishing something had already been done, but it’s quite another actually doing it.  These guys have addressed one of the major obstacles in the email marketing industry, one that affects everyone, not just email designers, and they’re clearly willing and able to tackle that obstacle head on.  Effectively they’re pulling the weight of anyone connected with email marketing on their shoulders, and the least we can do is help.

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Email Standards Project

November 28, 2007

It seems that the guys at Australia-based Campaigner Monitor are officially carrying the torch for email marketing design and implementation.  I for one couldn’t be happier, and think they are doing a fantastic job with their new initiative.

It’s called the Email Standards Project; its aim: to create a universal standard for email design, akin to the existing universal Web Standards that every web designer adheres religiously to, so that we can all code faster, easier and better HTML emails that will work across all email clients.

The email client environment is similar in many ways to the current web design environment:

“Hey, my __________ looks great when viewed in/on ___________, but looks like total garbage when viewed in/on ____________.  What gives? Argh. Damn you Billy Gates.”

If you design websites or email campaigns, you’ll fill in the blanks above with ‘website/email’, ‘Firefox/Outlook 2003’, and ‘IE6/Outlook 2007.  All web designers have been there and cursed in the general direction of IE6, and most email designers have been there and cursed in the general direction of Lotus Notes.  I have the privilege of cursing both, which is why the Email Standards Project is like a breath of fresh air.

The Project has already done 1 ‘acid test’ on the most common email clients out there, with results that won’t surprise any email marketer, but will definitely give a fantastic, comprehensive, and useful insight into what exactly doesn’t work in which client, and why.  Have a look by visiting the homepage at http://www.email-standards.org. Outlook 2007, which I wrote about back in January, is definitely no surprise with a rating of ‘poor’ due to its use of MSWord as its rendering engine, but the depth of analysis the ESProject goes into is amazing.

I’m so full of support for the Email Standards Project that I’m including their badge on my blog from now on.

Keep up the great work guys!