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adTech – Email Marketing Bozos

The original title of this post was going to be ‘Why I won’t be going to see the bozos at adTech’.  This was my knee-jerk reaction when I opened the email from adTech New Delhi.  And I didn’t even read the content.  


I then figured they’re probably geniuses at advertising but definitely shit-for-brains when it comes to email marketing.  


I then realized this is probably from the organizer.


Oh right.  Photoshop heaven.  This is probably one of these two bit operators who dress smart and flash swanky iPhones and Androids and have a couple of mini skirts to do the sashay with the goras.  Run the backoffice from a laptop in Ludhiana and beat up the hired help in a thick Punjabi accent.  Forgive the stereotypes.  Couldn’t resist though.  


They’re great at setting up the joint: arrange napkins 17cms from the edge of the table – check, mineral water 4 cms from the writing pad on the left – check,  but total monkeys when it comes to email marketing.


And I am not talking fancy multi layered tease-squeeze-salivate type of invites that will have your average marketer stealing his vacation budget to get in.  


All I wanted was a plain ole nicely done HTML newsletter instead of a freaking single image.


Sigh.  Ok dammit.  Display the damn image.  And ah yes there it is.  The moron map tag.


Hmmm.  Intuh-rusting.   They’re selling Search and Social training.  


(I was going to dis the course too but then I had a look at it.  It looks pretty good actually.  If you need to get clued in to whats happening on the web it will get you up to speed.  Early 2010 to mid.  The current stuff is still too raw to make any real sense of it but this course will keep you in the right direction.  Just remember though.  Using images for email marketing is like suicide.  Only worse.)


It’s just the organizers.  Any adTech friendlies here?  Please tell them their email-from-Ludhiana-on-a-laptop sucks.  






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  1. I am on the advising committee of Ad Tech.


    What is the ad that offended your sensibilities?

  2. Using an image.  Almost all email systems do not display images by default.  Image only email also has a higher chance of getting delivered to the spam box as this is also a spammer technique to sneak past the ISP spam and content filters.   


    It irritates me when reputed companies/orgs use image only newsletters.  It shows that they don’t really understand email marketing / or worse don’t care and are guilty of the same sin as Godrej’s inbox stuffing ‘spray and pray’ approach.  Kaise bhi ho inbox mein land karo.  Baki baad mein.


    So if it is coming from an org like adTech – somebody should get hanged.  Or at least bitch slapped.  


  3. Alok, it wasn’t an ad.  It was an image newsletter that landed in my inbox.  My sensibility flared into glorious rage at the format not the content.  🙂

  4. Sent to Ram Sundaram – CEO of Ad Tech India. He will revert


  5. Great! 🙂

  6. My Goodness!


    While I had a good laugh with your humor on calling all those who dont understand Email Marketing as Monkeys, I want to remind you that Monkeys aren’t that bad after all; Lord Hanuman was a Monkey, We were all apes and I guess those were also Monkeys. I have one small suggestion to you my friend, you are free and vocal to say what you want but calling people by names in an open forum shows your frustration of not being able to see the emailer but also shows complete immaturity of dealing with a situation. I am sure you have the right to say what you want and I would never take that away from you but I guess there is a bit of courtesy that is important in arrogance and humor, so would really be happy to see some of that going forward. 


    I dont know if Alok would endorse the above but Alok, I also would want you to consider rants that are not so good in taste unless you are considering such direct abusive content to make it stickier! 🙂


    That apart, let me try and address your question Abey. (How do you pronounce it like Abey Kuruvilla or Abhay, I guess its the former since you sounded like a mallu – feeling bad that I branded you? 🙂 dont be, just wanted to show you that it is bad manners to say such things in public and yes I have tons of mallu friends ;-))


    Point taken, the email has a lot of images and that’s part of what we intentionally desired because HTML does restrict you in delivering some key creative communication (I mean, you just get texts and one has to download the image, I am sure all of us know this) and we dint want to do that even when we knew that we will have a lot of wastes in terms of our reach numbers, which includes going into spam or not getting people to actually open in remote places where ISP, 3G or bandwidth is an issue.


    Now there are two things to this:


    1) Do we believe that this will attract the necessary right crowd from places like Ludhiana? No. We are targeting offline brand managers + people who are keen digital enthusiasts from cities which is of impact to the advertising business and I am quite certain that this email does open up there. Also I dont believe we will have more than 30% people in a capacity of 100 coming from city outside of Delhi, since the event is scheduled to take place here.


    2) We run a lot of campaigns where various databases are tapped from the trade portals and we have learnt from the past that they have massive issues when we have a lot of images in a email marketing creative, when sent in an HTML format and hence this was done.


    While this might not be the best practice in email marketing, it has worked for us in the past and continues to work for us even now!


    Finally, we are a frugal organisation that runs very tightly on costs and cannot afford fancy costs for email marketing, so we do our best in delivering the final product, while in some media communications we compromise, which is the case here but that does not warrant comment on how we work; while I still take your point I have my reservations.


    Also if you have further complaints – and I normally respond to every email sent to me, would appreciate direct communication there.


    BTW I just saw your LinkedIn Profile and I am a little confused on whether you are humorous or whether you are a sadist 😉 hurt? Sorry, just wanted to pinch you again!


    Good luck!





    PS: Alok, I am, CEO – NetworkPlay Media Pvt Ltd not CEO ad:tech buddy, ad:tech is one of our businesses like you know, thanks!

  7. And I just tweeted this entire thread (And my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts are synced, so this will potentially reach to 3000 unduplicated people, which include professionals, friends and family), so if you think I AM AFRAID OF PUBLIC ABUSE THEN YOU ARE WRONG, I LIKE CRITICISM BUT HAS TO BE CONSTRUCTIVE! CALLING MONKEYS DOESN’T HELP!



  8. yeah! let the games begin!


    I know ram and he is true to his brand, his people, his business and his trade


    And equally, Abey always talks sense…!!!

  9. Hey Ram, welcome to rodinhood, if this is your first visit! 🙂


    Glad you could join the fun n games we have here.  


    First let me apologize.  Calling those who don’t do email marketing right monkeys is an insult to monkeys and maybe even Lord Hanuman.  I have a great deal of love for the Indian pantheon so Lord, if you happen to pop in on this conversation, forgive me.  😀


    I may also have been a bit abusive, yes,   And I did consider apologizing for that.  But decided against it.  A little bit of abuse in the right spirit is better than the brittle politeness of constructive criticism. I prefer slashing through the clutter and laying it on the table.  Besides you are from Delhi (though your name looks southie) which I believe is the capital of verbal abuse.  So what’s a little abuse between friends.  Not to forget: har ek friend zaroori hota hai.  🙂


    Yup.  You got the Abey right.  Abey the kalluh swilling, fish eatin, mallu. Keralafonia edition.  Branding me as a mallu makes me feel bad?  It doesn’t.  Why should it?  We after all own the IP rights to God (God’s own country).    We also have the two of the hottest rock bands in India and maybe even Asia – Avial and Mother Jane.  So the shoe is actually on the other foot.  You should feel bad if you are not a mallu.  Ha.  🙂 


    I also do not believe in that decidedly British Raj construct – “good manners”.  Those bastards.  Itsy bitsy rules of protocol weighted in their favor to obfuscate the truth.   Fuck that.


    Now onto the issue at hand:  


    The objective with email marketing is to deliver the newsletter to the inbox.  NOT to the spam folder.  


    Images in HTML email is a broken piece of tech with no easy fix.  Switching to photoshop is not the answer.  


    When you use an image, you are already on the spam radar and it is only by the good graces of your sender reputation that you manage to avoid going there.  


    This becomes all the more riskier when you are using purchased lists.  With a purchased list you do not have 100% assurance that all the email ids are good.  If by chance you have tainted email ids in the list, one that the ISP knows about – known in the parlance as spam traps – your sender reputation is toast.  In extreme cases you will have to abandon the domain itself.  Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.  


    With image only email I believe you have also killed access to a key constituent to such events.  The Blackberry toting execs of India inc.  BB is famously text only unless they’ve switched to support HTML and images of recent.  General mobile viewing is also out.


    I know.   There is a shit load of grief that is involved in getting HTML email and images to work but it is not rocket science. Now this would be alright if we are talking Godrej.  Not adTech.  We come to adTech expecting cutting edge tech.  And delivering HTML email is hardly cutting edge.  The comment is warranted.  You guys are adTech.  The convergence of tech and advertising.  Not a hack shop in Ludhiana.  That’s what riled me.  adTech has no business sending out image-only email.  If you have a tech issue you have to solve it, not go to Ludhiana.  LOL.  Okay, sorry one too many Ludhianas.  🙂


    If it is going to cost you that much, you need to build it into the price of admission.  After all email marketing is just another channel that has to pay for itself.  But it is really not that expensive or complicated once you solve it.


    If you are successful with your current approach, great.  But at least do it right.  You can slice up the images and include alt text.  A good example is here.  I still hate it but it has the quasi-blessing of one of my favorite email companies – MailChimp so I guess I can grudgingly accept.  Alt text is viewable on a mobile even if the image doesn’t load.  


    Not sure whats sadistic about my LinkedIn profile.  Can you explain?  


    The intent was not to scare but to get adTech riled up and come out with all guns blazing.  I think I got that! 🙂

  10. @Johnny – Every email campaign is designed as per theme & what message to be spread out no matter how much text content or image ( up to a certain KB/MB) is there.

    Just subscribe Newsletter here & have a look on the received material. Hanuman Ji ki Kasam they don”t have text in any newsletter & they have more than Zillions of opt in list, backed by analytic team with Adobe Site catalyst & other kind of jazz..

    Just to let you know thoda bhaut about this company :, Inc. is a subsidiary of Systemax Inc. – a $3 billion public corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange and a Fortune 1000 Company.


    Adtech Newsletter is made to give a look & feel arena of coming event with last year shots….


    I think in 1 mbps Generation you need email in text bullet point like


    Dear Mr Shrimaan,  Abey John, 

    • my name is vishal
    • i go to ad tech
    • ad is held in new delhi
    • Do you want to attend ?
    • If Yes
    • Please click this link here
    • If No 
    • Then i don’t the link –  Please call Ad Tech Organizer 


    Just My 2 more cent :  People start thinking from where you stop.



  11. HOLY MOLY – BITCH slapped????

  12. Dear Abey, Vishal and Ram


    This thread is getting more into personal attacks rather than discussing(or criticizing) the strategies to a successful email- marketing.

    The question is not whether someone resides in North or South, but the rationalization of Good vs. Better Practices in the Email Marketing. It should be taken constructively. I hope you will refrain from any personal or regional attacks





  13. Ram – I dont curate the content on the site at all. The users do. The only thing that gets deleted in Spam. 

    Errr…Porn hasn’t shown up yet

  14. Agreed. Can’t believe guys who organize ad;tech event are getting in to such fights. I’m planning for the next ad;tech meeting but it sounds pretty immature of organizers after reading such comments from both sides.


    If someone abuses a big name that doesn’t mean that a big name should do vice versa. Comeon you guys organize ad;tech (world’s premier affiliate marketers meet in India). These guys should plan further and try to organize event like Affiliate Summit rather than getting in to mess with anyone who is calling names.

  15. Well, this brings us to a larger question. Are we becoming more & more intolerant to Email marketing?


    Probably we are going the western way, Email marketing is treated as rude if unsolicited.


    With TRAI regulating SMS marketing, i see more & more companies trying to tap Email databases. My own portal has seen the demand go up twofold. We have seen emails as a great way of bringing in consumers, but is it harming us in the longer run as people are fed up with too the information overload in their mail boxes?

  16. @Alok – What would you do if a gaming convention organizer used DonkeyKong tech to sell the latest iPhone app training?


    @Vishal – circuitcity is a retailer.  adTech is a thought leader in the space of ads and tech.  Image emails are the pits.  Also, large text to image ratio emails/text only emails have the higher conversion rates.  You are asking your visitor to process the fact that the email content has come in as an image and you need to turn it on before you can see anything.  A usability no-no.  Don’t make the user think.  BTW that circuitcity email is image heavy, not image only.  Turn off the images and have a look.  I bet you can still understand what the email is about.  With the adTech email we don’t know anything till we open the image.  It is that extra click which bugs the shit out of me.


    @Abhishek – This was a personal vent.  This had happened once before.  The last time my eyes popped: adTech sending out image emails like some dingbat retailer? I shrugged, immediately shot down any thought of attending their event, and archived it.  This time I decided to let it rip.  Was not trying to be very constructive and do gyan sharing.  If they are sending out image emails they have some serious catching up to do.  The quality of what they put out becomes suspect.  But I think that correlation does not pan out.  The course itself looks pretty neat.  This must be one of those chinks.  Hopefully I pricked someone’s ass on this and next time I won’t have to go for that extra click! 🙂    


    @Dheeraj – Dunno.  Maturity seems like a big thing.  I try to avoid it as much as possible.  🙂


    @Dhruv – No this is not intolerant to email marketing.  This is intolerant to image emails.  Just hate that.



  17. Ok guys a lot of us are judgemental in life and that’s how most humans are who don’t go through facts and detailing in the thread! Firstly my apologies, I was just being as humorous as Abhey and this was between him and me and all the other guests not invited to the party gate crashed and is now making a virgin bride look as if she has just been raped by one and all! Gaon basa nahin aur lutere pehle aagaye! Bhaiyon, ad:tech is the worlds most premier event and just saying unwarranted stuff is not going to help any of us while I will be happy to ensure that a world class event gets delivered, I seriously request you to consider the fact that the event is driven by stalwarts if our industry including Alok! Now this event is going be earth shattering this year and I really would love to see you alll there but assuming things that Int true without reading the entire response of mine is unfair so read it and relax!

    Abhey, I get your point and trust me that this to us is best solution for now and we will consider better practices in the near future! If these emails ate pissing you off then I will ensure you don’t get it, plz send me the email id where you are receiving this communication!

    Rest, even when Sachin Tendulkar gets out at 94 our opinionated country critices him and so I take everything in my stride, if not fir anything I definitely have learnt that temperament Sachin has!

    So to me this is the last response to this thread, all ate welcome to ad:tech New Delhi where we have a great line up to give you a real stimulation!

    Till then Adios….

    PS: thanks Abhey, and rest of you all chill a little, thanks! Apologies for any typo, this was replied from iPhone!

    Good Night!

  18. Chill Dhreraj! Look forward to hosting you at ad:tech 🙂

  19. Chill Vishal 😀 See you at ad:tech!

  20. Sure I will be there :-). If you remember we had a talk over phone before the previous ad;tech event but unfortunately I missed that. Wondering if any discount codes for this event 😀

  21. There exists early bird on the site but here is a 10% further off for all Rodinhood-ers for ad:tech New Delhi!

    Alok announce it plz 🙂

  22. awesome. thanks for the offer. btw I’m wondering what facilities are there for guests coming out of the town? The Leela Kempinski Fortune have horrible prices. Any budget hotels? btw I own a flat in Gurgaon in Vipul Lavanya but its under construction 😛

  23. woah!! i am just a kid here so i would definitely refrain from responding on the topic 🙂 but i luvd the way Abey & Ram have put their points here, nicely articulated



  24. @Ram : Mumbai is always hot 🙂 🙂  Missing Dili ki Sardi 🙂

  25. Ram, I’ve bitched and heaved.  You’ve said your piece.  Hopefully you be able will change things and not treat email marketing as a step-child 🙂 but please don’t remove me from the mailing list.  Like you say adTech is one of the premier events and I’d like to know what goes down.    




  26. Jyothi! 🙂 was wondering where you’d got to.  🙂

  27. LOL LOL LOL!!!

  28. Hmmm.  HBR got this one right.  There is no such thing as constructive criticism 🙂

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