Archive for the ‘Failed e-mails’ Category

I’m Unclear On The GDPR Implications

Friday, June 29th, 2018 by The Director

So what happens if I regard this test email sent out to the production mailing list?

I mean, the only content of the message is a Forward to a Friend button.

Which works.

So, is this a successful test or not?

You’re More Than A Number To Us

Friday, May 11th, 2018 by The Director

A purported eBay missive tells me that I’m more than a number to them:

I’m an alphanumeric variable to them.

You know, it could be a phishing scam. Or it could be an expensive start to a research project that looks no better than a sophisticated phishing scam due to a failed mail merge.

I’m engaging it the same way in either case.


Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 by The Director

After ordering a video game from Amazon to-day, I received an email with an offer:

Spelling the product name right two out of three times ain’t bad. It’s worse.

Remember, every time you spell something wrong in a marketing email, you’re making it easier for the phishers.

Article, No; Content, Yes

Thursday, December 17th, 2015 by The Director

From time to time, and by “time to time” I mean “almost daily,” I get unsolicited offers from Social Media people to write a post for me to pitch their products. You can tell they don’t read the site because any in-depth reading of the site would indicate I don’t pitch products or generally say anything nice about anyone except heavy metal bands.

Still, it takes a special kind of company to offer to write exclusive content for a site called QA Hates You and then have a mistake in the email wherein instead of QA Hates You, appears:

Congratulations,! You’ve made QA Hates You the old fashioned way.

Outgoing Email Communications Could Use Some Attention, Too

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 by The Director

A year or so ago, I volunteered to help the Missouri Department of Conservation test its new Web site. The testing is ongoing, and little did I know it was only user experience testing and not testing testing.

But I periodically receive emails like this:

This indicates they’re not double-checking the outgoing emails, either.

I’ll Take The Pack of Rabid, Underfed Ferrets

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 by The Director

Do you even consider what truncation might do to your email subject lines?

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take whatever the choice is because I don’t want to win a baby.

When you’re testing emails, give some thought to the crazy and unfortunate ways they might get truncated by email clients, will you? We’ve all seen the business analyst or sales assistant job posting email and snickered.

Don’t let us snicker at you.


Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 by The Director

Fabusend is an email provider handles not large, mass emails, but small, individual emails. It (apparently) adds in letterhead images and whatnot for senders and allows the recipient to click through if the images are blocked in the client email program.

But if you click through a little late, you get all kinds of FUBAR.

There’s the JavaScript error:

Fabusend JavaScript error

If you’re looking at it in Firefox, you’ll see the tables are misaligned:

Fabusend JavaScript error

Now, you’re saying, Who’s going to see that?

Someone who stores important emails and then tries to click through them. Someone like me. And not “like me” in the QA sense, “like me” in the user sense.

It’s such a little thing!

You know, you’re right, it is going to be seen by only a few people. But it’s also not something that requires refactoring the whole application, ainna? Take a couple minutes, fix the little error page up, would you?

Your goal should be a quality application across the board, not just quality for most of the people, most of the time.

The Unfriendliest Friendlies

Monday, July 23rd, 2012 by The Director

Hey, look, it’s a spammer who might test:

From the test client?
Click for full size

Or is it a phishing operation targeted to QA, whom the attacker just assumes would open an email marked test like some salivating dog?

You be the judge.

Hit By Friendlies Fire

Thursday, June 28th, 2012 by The Director

Yesterday, Cafepress sent out a test email to at least some of its real email recipients:

A test email

Strangely enough, this email offer has an expiration date of July 15, 2010, so either it fails because the date has not changed or it spectacularly fails because it is actually a two-year-old email that was caught up in the mailing software somewhere.

Hey, speaking of Cafepress, don’t forget to hit the QA Hates You swag shop.

(Also spotted by reader abrothman, who, judging by the screenshots he sent me, really needs to get his inbox closer to 0.)

Stale Links Don’t Help Nobody

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 by The Director

So I remembered this article I got in a newsletter, so I looked through my email archives to find it, and then it included a teaser paragraph and a “Click to read more” link, so I clicked, and….

The Internet's dead end

The email links to the email service provider, not the actual link destination, to provide clickthrough metrics and measurements. When the email arrived in my inbox, this link redirected to the target, but now it redirects nowhere.

You might want to ask your email provider whether its links expire and consider whether the thing you’re emailing might be relevant beyond that time. With certain time-delimited offers, this isn’t a bad thing. But if you’re trying to drive traffic to your Web site generally or hope your featured whitepaper will get prospects now and in the future, it might behoove you to find an email provider whose links don’t.

Something to Ponder While The Music Plays

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 by The Director tries to get me to buy a “new” Pink Floyd album–actually, a re-release–with an email full of hidden meanings to ponder as I listen to the album:

Some obscurity in a Pink Floyd marketing material

What does it mean?

I think it means Amazon has joined the ranks of the indolent who don’t really care that much if their email marketing goes out rife with errors.

After all, so many others do. The users will forgive and forget.

Even Spam Generators Have Defects

Monday, October 3rd, 2011 by The Director

Come on, guys, put a little effort into trying to fool me. If you show me the whole decision tree, I’ll suspect you’re not really a reader.

The spam as Mad Libs

Doesn’t it remind you of The Lovin’ Spoonful?

Of course not. You’re all pups.

No Friendlies Fire

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 by The Director

A couple emails hit my email box last week with problems:

Missing a noun in the Mad Lib
Missing a noun in the Mad Lib

It looks as though someone forgot to fill in an important noun in the mass market email programs’ Mad Libs.

If you’re offering this sort of service to a client, wherein he or she can roll-his-own using your backend technology, you are at the very least offering a service wherein your competent quality staff can look over the client work for a small additional fee, aren’t you?

If not, why not?

Maybe They Were Testing Subject Lines

Friday, June 10th, 2011 by The Director

The amateurs handling Westlake Ace Hardware’s email campaigns show their chops again by sending me the latest circular three times, the last with the job and customer number:

Email Fail

Email vendors are outside the reach of interactive agency QA in most cases, and it shows.

What’s Missing From This Picture?

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 by The Director

QAHY quick quiz! What’s missing from this e-mail?

Blues clues?
Click for full size

Need a hint? Okay, if you fill out the form available here, the thank you page looks like this:

Blues thank yous
Click for full size

So what’s missing from these items?

UPDATE A couple of you guys got it right out of the box: the asterisk appears on both items, but the footnote identifying the limitations does not.

You not only have to look at what’s before you when testing, but you have to look at what’s missing. You get that with not only experience or business knowledge in the area of the software you test, but also from real world experience or business knowledge from outside the domain. The domain can be a blinder, and you have to look above it.

Good work, guys.

Free E-mail List. Some Assembly Required.

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 by The Director

You know, gentle reader, that I like to click the View as Web page link that I see in e-mail campaigns to see how they bollix it up.

You know, by including the link to see the Web page representing an e-mail as a Web page or including unsubscribe links when the static Web page that all viewers who click through see. Or to fail catastrophically like the guys at The Web Corner do with their Ace Hardware e-mails.

Here’s my e-mail as displayed as a Web page:

My coupon
Click for full size

Huh, it’s got my e-mail address in it, and I don’t see my e-mail address in the querystring. What I do see is a couple of numbers. And if I change one of those numbers….

Someone else's coupon
Click for full size

Hey, that ain’t me.

Okay, guys, what lessons have we been shown today that they will not learn this time, either?

  • Maybe you should check to see if someone has rights to see something if they alter the querystring by changing an obvious parameter.
  • Test your view as Web page option in your e-mails to see if maybe you’ve messed it up.

They Wonder Why The Campaign’s Response Rate Is So Low

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 by The Director

Reader Dave H. sends in this sample e-mail:

Hey, an e-mail with free stuff
Click for full size

Click that free reward button, and you get a reward all right. If you’re a tester, you want no bigger reward than a stack trace:

Click for full size

As I mention ad nauseum (disclosure: Pepto Bismol pays me to do things ad nauseum), when you’re doing an e-mail campaign or working with an application that triggers the e-mails, you always need to send the e-mail to yourself to test it. Click the dagnabbitic links, dagnabbit.

In the interactive world, they call the test e-mail sent through the bulk e-mails the friendlies, which is exactly what I would call a horror film about QA: “The Friendlies”. At least that’s what they called them where I worked. Apparently, the agency behind this campaign never heard of them. Or they’ve seen the script for my film and think that sending out friendlies is akin to saying “Candyman” the third time.

Regardless. Test your e-mails. Click the links. Period.

That’s Not The Friendlies List, Josh

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 by The Director

Josh at Mediababy LLC makes a mistake:

Josh sends out a beta e-mail.

Click for full size

Well, Josh, since you went through all the trouble to send me your beta e-mail, here are a couple things:

  • Your View as Web page offering needs work; the heading is not centered, etc.
  • Capitalization of your alt text should match the images or captions.
  • Your boilerplate footer has hard line breaks and does not stretch the width of the e-mail body.
  • A box surrounds supporter image in Firefox, but not IE (applies to Web mail only, but might impact Thunderbird vs. Office).
  • I did not sign up with Media Baby. You bought my e-mail from a list. Don’t lie to me.

Better luck with the next iteration, but if you want me to recheck or to review your future efforts, please contact me professionally (info available on the Sez Who? page) instead of sending your friendlies out to the list you purchased.

Putting Your Footer In Your Mouth

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 by The Director

A new e-mail from Wisk® includes something that every single e-mail from Wisk® includes: the stock footer.

However, this one does it badly:

Maybe this is actually a hoofer, not a footer.
Click for full size

The whole e-mail renders poorly when viewed through Hotmail, so I cannot tell if it’s a failure related to that or if someone forgot to copy part of the boilerplate before pasting into the new message. I can tell you, though, it ain’t right.

100% Chance Of Mocking Ziff-Davis E-mail

Monday, March 8th, 2010 by The Director

The following e-mail provocatively asked me in the subject line What’s in your forcast?

Forcast says!
Click for full size

I have to say: it was an effective subject line since it caused me to open the mail and to load the images to make sure they spelled it right in the e-mail, which they did.

You can test the e-mails’ HTML all you want, but you really need someone with an eye for quality to look at the friendlies, too. (The friendlies, for those of you not in the e-mail campaign world, are test e-mails sent through the bulk e-mail sender to a small list of internal people for final approval.)

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