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E-mail: Plain Text vs HTML

When it comes to the age old question of which is better, plain text or HTML e-mail, I’d have to say plain text is the way to go. It is just way too easy for someone to craft an e-mail that looks authentic, but underneath it really isn’t. I personally think the best approach is to always view your e-mails as plain text. Only when you know it is a safe e-mail, then convert it to HTML. This gives you the chance to review to the message to see if it is not safe or has something hidden in it. Things to look for are images that come from major websites that you know are safe, but the Click Here link goes somewhere else or links that go to a site that is just numbers. These are good indications that the email is most likely a phishing attempt to steal your information.

With Microsoft predicting more phishing and e-mail scams in 2008 (source: http://www.securityfocus.com/brief/656), one has to wonder as to why anyone would want to view their e-mails in HTML format by default.

Your thoughts?

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One Response to “E-mail: Plain Text vs HTML”

  1. Thom Craver on January 8th, 2008 5:00 pm

    Most email clients today offer a simple HTML or “half” HTML of sorts. This is a very good solution for most people.

    Of course, still other mail clients block scripting, regardless of HTML viewing level.

    With anything, education helps and ignorance is more expensive. As a society, we’re quick to use a Darwin-like analogy for people who don’t know any better about issues of life and death. Why should we take a different stance on email?

    Email is a great communications and marketing tool. Some messages are best communicated with more than simple text. People must learn how to see through fake links. Classes and seminars are out there. Many courses are offered for reasonable prices. “I didn’t know” is not an excuse anywhere else in the world. Why should it cramp my email style?

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