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  • April 28, 2009

Alert: Gmail defaulting to images off for whitelisted senders

There’s growing evidence that Gmail is disabling images for senders that users had previously whitelisted and enabled images for. Near-term this means that your open rate may dip, especially if a considerable percentage of your subscribers use Gmail, which is very likely if you’re a B2C marketer. Depending on your exposure to Gmail, you may consider adding whitelisting instructions to the top of your emails for a few weeks or emphasizing it if you already have it.

Under normal circumstances I don’t recommend running a whitelist request at the top of your emails. The real estate at the top of your emails is precious and if subscribers haven’t whitelisted you after a few requests (including the requests on your sign-up confirmation page and in your welcome email) then they’re not likely to ever whitelist you.

(Tip of the hat to Darren Schott at Blair for helping me realize that this was a widespread problem.)

4/29 UPDATE: It appears that even when users re-enable images for a sender that images are being turned off for future emails from that sender. Gmail is aware of this issue and reportedly working on it. In the meantime, your open stats will continue to be affected.
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