November 20, 2004

Avoiding About

While browsing blogs this morning I saw mention of a new product called MailInfo, an Outlook plug-in that tells you whether a recipient has actually read your email or not.

Setting aside whether that type of product is worthwhile, the thing that struck me was when I landed on MailInfo's homepage:

Just seeing the About.com logo was enough for me to tune out to the rest of the page. Indeed, I assumed that MailInfo was using About.com for its homepage. I don't know if anyone else has this instant aversion to About.com, but whenever I accidentally land on an About.com page, say, after clicking on a result in a Google search, I move on to something else --- the value of About.com pages is so thin as to be wholly missing. So for a company to put About.com's logo above-the-fold (and twice as big as its own logo) on the home page, well, that's when I tune out.

Posted by brian at November 20, 2004 12:55 PM

Comments

The "have they read your mail" thing is just stupid. First, it requires HTML or multi-part mime encoding so as to insert an HTML web bug. The web bug, a single pixel gif let say, uses an has encoded URL that is tied to your user id. When someone retrieves that gif upon reading your email they take notice of that. The assumption is that if the web bug has been retrieved that the recipient has read your message. Spammers have been doing this for years.

I highly recommend not loading images from the web when reading email for this and many other reasons.

Posted by: dano at November 21, 2004 07:59 AM

I'll cosign - About.com is the worst website I can think of. Their sites are incredibly heavy and its horrible when you click on a link from a google search and its an about.com page. Close that tab immediately!

Posted by: chad at November 22, 2004 10:22 PM

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