On May 22nd AOL officially introduced and rolled-out a new interface for customers who access their email using AOL.com & AIM.com. In addition to a number of other changes to the interface, AOL has decided to disable images in both of these web based email clients.
As a reminder, images have always been OFF by default for AOL 9.0 (AOL's desktop email software) but, prior to today, images were ON by default in AOL.com and AIM.com. The new interfaces for AOL.com and AIM.com now turn images OFF by default exactly like AOL 9.
Turning Images Back ON
Just like AOL 9.0, images will be turned back back ON in AOL.com and AIM.com by any of the following:
- the recipient enables the images by clicking the SHOW IMAGES link for THIS MESSAGE or THIS SENDER that appears for each email, or
- the recipient adds the mailer's from-address to their address book, or
- the mailer's IP address is on AOL's Enhanced Whitelist.
Expect to see a drop in open rates due to the new interface. Since open-rates are typically tracked via an invisible gif (image), when images are disabled, this method of open-rate tracking will result in no opens recorded when images are disabled.
Be proactive in getting images back on! Encourage your recipients to add your from-address to their address book; if your from-address is in the address book, your images will automatically display. In addition to an explicit add-to-address book campaign, strive to keep your spam complaints and unknown user rates low so you qualify for AOL's Enhanced Whitelist.