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Deliveribility Tip: Why URLs Shouldn’t Be Used As Link Text

Jun 04 2009, 03:53 PM

Phishing is one of the greatest menaces on the Internet today and miscreants are using it increasingly to extract information from unsuspecting individuals. If you don’t already know, phishing is the process of getting personal data from people (such as their names, emails or credit and debit card numbers) surreptitiously by luring people into clicking on a link to a malicious website.

Fortunately, some email clients now have filters that block out phishing. The problem, however, is that these filters often block legitimate mail in the process making it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.

This happens because the phishing filter compares the actual hypertext reference (href) URL of the website with the link text displayed in the email to decide if it is a case of phishing. Your email tracking software converts your otherwise regular href URL into a format that enables tracking. This is done so that you know who has clicked on the link, you know the click rates and so that the reader goes to the desired web page on clicking.

The Problem:
Any Email Marketing Software including Benchmark Email redirects links in order to track them in your reports. Using the actual URL can cause the redirected link to look suspicious, causing some anti-phishing filters to disable the link or possibly block the email.

For example, your original HTML link could be something like this:
<a href="http://www.xyzfarms.com">http://www.xyzfarms.com</a>

However, after processing the code through an email tracker, your HTML code might end up looking like this:
<a href="http://xyzfarms.create...com/t/y/l/dijkdh/l/t">http://www.xyzfarms.com</a>

The Solution:
To prevent this from happening, we recommend that you not use the actual URL or your web address but rather use words in place of a URL.

For example, an effective solution to the problem illustrated above could be:

<a href="http://www.xyzfarms.com">The XYZ Farms Website</a>

This ensures that phishing stays out and authentic email reaches its destination.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Deliverability

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