When Netscape came out with version 2.0, they included an email client. The big new feature was that it could display HTML in the email message, so suddenly you could have full blown web pages in your email. Images, forms, sounds etc. It was all very exciting, but people soon realized that HTML emails are a LOT bigger than plain text emails.
At the time, people were including the images and sounds and whatnot right in the email, so emails were suddenly 100 times bigger (literally). Eventually people got smart and started linking to the images externally. But the HTML to lay out a page is still quite large. A simple message I just tested was 15-20% bigger with HTML layout. That grows exponentially with the complexity of the message and layout. If someone makes a bunch of tables, it can get HUGE.
A result of all of this is that the amount of Internet bandwidth required for email has grown by leaps and bounds. Since email is one of the largest uses of the net, that kills a lot of bandwidth. For that reason, I’ve always been fairly against the use of HTML email. If you want someone to see a web page, make a web page and send them the address.
As the years roll by, and more and more people use HTML email, I get more and more pressure from people to use it at work. Newsletters, updates, whatnot. Several people have used this argument: "They’re proving to be very effective ways to not only communicate, but also raise money. Not only could we raise donor dollars, but we
could also sell advertising."
I don’t think the argument works because MANY MANY things fit that argument. Pop-up windows, porn, etc. On the other hand, if it’s carefully crafted to not be st00pid, is HTML email really that bad? I’m seriously questioning my decades long bias against it.
I’d like to know what you think. I kind of expect the geeks to be against it, but I’m curious as to whether the non-geeks amongst us like it, hate it, or simply don’t care.