Phishing Concerns in Email Marketing

September 15, 2010 by Laura Williams
Filed under: Email Marketing 

Email Marketing

A definition from Wikipedia. Phishing: In the field of computer security, phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

It now affects your email marketing

In a promising move, some email clients are building phishing detection right into the software itself. I’m sure that like me, most of you have received a few PayPal or the Bank phishing scams in your time.

Phishing scam detection as now been added to both Mozilla Thunderbird and AOL 9.0 – and more to follow I am sure.

This will impact on how you or your marketing agency design your email creative.

So how do they know If you are a phishing scam or not?

The email client you use to read your emails will look for a link in your campaign where the display text is a URL (such as If the displayed link is different from the actual URL, the user is alerted that it may be a phishing scam.

The problem

Most email marketing software providers change every link in the code of your campaigns so that they can track link clicks for you. This means that even when you have a link like:

It is changed to something like:

This change will mean that your email may get flagged as a phishing scam.

The solution

Avoid using a URL as the display text for a link in any HTML emails. Use a word or phrase which describes the link itself. Such as:

Even though it will be changed by your email marketing provider to look like this:

You won’t ever be identified as a potential phishing scammer.


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