We’ve changed how click tracking works to avoid false phishing detection

If you’ve sent mail merge campaigns with your Gmail account and have used GMass’s click-tracking feature, you’re used to having all of your clickable URLs altered to be tracked. In certain cases, however, phishing scanners were flagging the tracked links when a URL was used for the anchor text. Many email marketing experts have already written about this issue, so I won’t expound upon the history of phishing in this post.

The important change to be aware of is that GMass’s click tracking feature now skips tracking on links where the anchor text itself is a URL rather than a word or a phrase.

Meaning, if your links looks like this:

Go to http://www.wordzen.com for an awesome email editing service!

where the links is a URL itself, then we won’t track that link.

If your links looks like this, however:

Go to Wordzen for an awesome email editing service!

the anchor text is now “Wordzen” instead of “http://www.wordzen.com”, and so GMass will track this link.

You’ll also notice that if you’re a Google Apps user, the clickable links now point to our new domain gm.ag instead of gmass.co.

Interestingly enough, we tested other popular email marketing services to assess how their click tracking functions worked, including MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor. Surprisingly, none of these services skip click-tracking on links where the anchor text is a URL, meaning emails sent from those services will get flagged by phishing scanners if click tracking is enabled and links with URLs as anchor text are present in the message.

I believe GMass, despite doing it differently than these other popular email marketing tools, is now implementing click-tracking the proper way. We hope that the rest of the email marketing industry will soon follow suit.

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