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When you receive an HTML or Text Newsletter, you'll often see a "Having trouble viewing Newsletter? View Online" link at the very top of the email. When you click on it your web browser fires up and you can see the Newsletter as a webpage.

My question here is, should the "Having trouble viewing Newsletter? View Online" still be there when viewing as a webpage or should it only be visible when viewed in your email client? Is this a good practice or is it simply there because the EDM services is 'lazy'?

I ask this because I receive quite a few emails from large and respectable firms and they all seem to keep the link for the online version.

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Email them and tell them to fire their publicist –  Ben Brocka Sep 20 '11 at 21:54
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The "Having trouble viewing Newsletter" link is there for the specific case of reading it in an email client that doesn't support (or is set not to support) HTML emails.

The link in the online version makes no sense and adds nothing but confusion to anyone trying to use it. So, yes, it is either laziness or a poor understanding of UX that causes them to do it.

As a side note, most of the worst decisions I've ever seen have come from large companies where nobody is directly responsible for anything. So don't assume that just because it's a big company that they must have a reason for it.

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Very good comment in your last paragraph JohnGB. I can definitely see that happening. –  rlsaj Sep 20 '11 at 22:13
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No of course it doesn't make sense, and yes this is either lazy or forgetful (careless).

I can see how it happens quite easily - someone sends the content for the email release and someone else gets to put it online. Someone else wrote the content in the first place. The person who coordinates is busy or off ill or doesn't care. The person who puts it online just does what they are told and doesn't ask questions. Probably someone else already knows about this but doesn't say anything. Meanwhile lots of other people read it and and don't complain, or snigger at how silly it is. Others ask on Q/A groups and forums about whether it's a good idea. Everybody knows it's dumb. Nobody tells anybody though. So nothing gets done about it. Maybe someone will point someone at this answer and someone else will hear about it and pass the message on to somebody who can do something about it. Maybe that person will listen or maybe they won't because they don't like to be told what to do by someone who doesn't pay their salary. But maybe, just maybe, the message might get back to someone.

Please feel free to redirect any other laziness or silliness to this answer as well.

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Thanks Roger. I guess there is a case (perhaps a measly one at that) behind including the Link at the top of the online version. Some vendors might insist that the Online Version be exactly the same as the HTML version and will therefore include the link at the top of the page. –  rlsaj Sep 20 '11 at 22:56
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