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  • September 14, 2007

Alert: Rendering problem in Yahoo Mail Classic

UPDATED 9/16, 9/21

There appears to be an incredibly serious but thankfully not common rendering problem in Yahoo Mail Classic. How serious? Take a look at these two emails that were affected:

1: 2: 3:

I know the screenshots make it impossible to see the fine details, but it’s easy to see that images—especially those toward the bottoms of these emails—were repeated several times. I’ve seen this problem affect emails from TigerDirect, Chadwick’s, PetSmart, SmartBargains, Norm Thompson, REI, Orvis, Furniture.com and ShopNBC.

The Issue: Bob Cahill (see comment below) says that the problem is related to Yahoo Shortcuts, which is turned on by default, and that if the recipient turns this feature off then the problem goes away. I tried it and it worked. But the question remains: How do we code around this issue? That’s hopefully easier than getting all of our Yahoo Mail Classic users to turn off Yahoo Shortcuts.

Interestingly, if affected emails are forwarded, the issue also resolves itself.

ExactTarget sent an internal alert to staff telling them that “Emails that use some style tags (still trying to discover what causes the problem) show up in Yahoo as a scrambled messages (duplicated content, layout all strange.) This appears to be related to the Yahoo preferences and their use of Ajax in Yahoo e-mails.” ExactTarget confirms that the if Yahoo Shortcuts are turned off that the problem resolves. (Thanks for the heads up, Jean Jimenez Greenwell.)

Coding Fixes: Two people have suggested to me that putting style tags 'inline' might avoid the issue (see comment below). If someone tries this, let me know if it works.

If anyone has any other insights into how to code around this issue, please comment below or email me at chad@emailexperience.org.

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