Would you prefer to receive the ORIENTED Email Bulletins in

[b]A number of email newsletter publishers these days offer newsletters in both plain text and HTML format. On the other hand, many online professional business publications provide newsletters in plain text format only (see example from the Industry Standard).

The ORIENTED Email Bulletins are currently published in plain text format. Would you prefer to receive them in HTML format, if given the choice?

Click on the “Post Reply” button to submit your comments.[/b]

September 25, 2000
Regarding the format of newsletters, personally I prefer the plain text format. I believe that a number of my friends have the same thinking. If there is something in the newsletter that may be relevant to a friend for example, we may just copy out that section and include it in an email to an associate or whatever. It is often not practical to refer him/her to the entire text, or forward a copy of the entire newsletter. There is so much extraneous information out there on the internet these days (including unwanted email) that most people do not have time to go through it. Therefore we feel that by passing on the relevant “snippet” directly, it is more likely to be noticed, and perhaps acted upon.

On a related note, have you considered that there are two general types of design styles for the pages on internet sites: the full page style and the frame style. What you often see on many ROC government websites is the frame style, however this has the serious drawback that the subsidiary pages often do not have unique site address https.
For me, this is a great bother. People ask me for the location of relevant regulations regarding residency and immigration into Taiwan, and I give them the website of the Bureau of Entry and Exit at www.immigration.gov.tw however that site uses frames extensively and the relevant information that they want is buried down inside there several levels. Often as not I get an email back saying “I cannot find what I want.” Hence, I consider the information being made available in something as close to pure text as possible to be the most useful. For website design, I recommend the full page format. These comments are for your reference.
—Richard W. Hartzell
The H Agenda
Fridays in the CHINA POST

I am on a several newsletter lists, and in my honest opinion though I can’t explain why, newsletters in plain text format feel much more “professional”, and for an audience such as that of ORIENTED, I personally feel that plain text is more appropriate.

Most of the time, newsletters in HTML give me the impression that it is one big advertisement (and it usually is), gimmick, or contest that I don’t really care for, at least not with the ORIENTED newsletters. If I sign up for a newsletter because I WANT to receive ads, gimmicks and content announcements, then I guess HTML is appropriate, so it depends on what your objective of your newsletter is.

I also agree with Richard Hartzell’s comments above. Further, HTML format takes up a lot more space in my inbox than plain text, and for my browser emails (Hotmail and Yahoo) where space is limited, HTML newsletters are a pain to have to manage.

My two cents.

Is that referenced somewhere (and do you have those stats) or is this a personal observation on your part?

Originally posted by Ian Chin: [b]The bottom line is that advertisers are going to want RICH TEXT emails because the response rate is exponentially better.[/b]

Response rates better on rich text? You must be talking about HUGE volumes if you are finely tuning your e-mails that much!

I think that text e-mails conote “usefulness and personalization” and HTML e-mails (will) conote “this is an electronic flyer.”

Also, it depends if the e-mail is opt-in. Generally, people are very happy to have an e-mail containing useful and informative information in text since they requested this themselves (that is why it’s a good idea to remind them with a message: “this e-mail was requested by _________ etc. etc.”

At the moment, people still respect and enjoy e-mails; but if HTML becomes the norm, e-mails will lose all credibility IMHO.