Hotmail Disappears – Now What?

Recently, Microsoft announced that the email service Hotmail will be closed. It is a decision that affects a lot of people, as the service has at least 360 million active users. Many more than that have at some point registered a free account on what was the first, globally used email service. A service that was among the first not to require that you had a software program installed on your computer in order to read email.

But Hotmail will not disappear. The web service is renamed Outlook.com and all old accounts will continue to work just as before.

For those who use the new service, the main difference will be a completely redesigned website. Many users will probably use the opportunity to get new addresses when it becomes possible to create new @outlook.com addresses instead of @hotmail.com.

How will it affect you as a marketer, who works professionally with email?

There will be no major differences to change the way you work with email.

The restrictions that have existed for more advanced newsletters, newsletters that use the more modern features we have come to expect from regular web pages, remain. It is no change for the worse but still, no improvement either.

Two changes may be of interest:

1. One-click subscriptions: To simplify for users, Outlook marks newsletters and promotional offers with a button to unsubscribe – like other large, web-based email readers. If the subscriber clicks, she will be unsubscribed and all messages from the same sender will be automatically filtered to the trash.

It is still unclear exactly how this will work. The worst-case scenario could mean that if someone unsubscribes by mistake or if they change their mind and want to subscribe again, the newsletters will be filtered out.

Our recommendation: To be on the safe side, make your own link for unsubscription clearly visible, so that the reader will use it if necessary. Then, you will avoid the problem.

2. Image blocking changes slightly: Images are still automatically blocked unless the user disables the function. But newsletters from “Trusted Senders” (senders marked as reliable) will have their images displayed automatically.

Our recommendation: Ask your recipients to add you to their address book. This will increase the chances of your newsletter displaying correctly.

More news from Microsoft: Outlook 2013 and Outlook 365

Outlook as a standalone application will also be updated this fall. There are major differences in the user interface, but the underlying technology will not change drastically. Newsletters are handled in the same way as in Outlook 2010.

The new cloud-based service Outlook 365 is revolutionary in many ways – but for you as an email marketer,  the service will not pose any challenges.

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