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Have you noticed in Gmail that some URLs are clickable and some are not?

Recently, email marketers, and other people who are using this powerful marketing channel, started noticing that some URLs are working and some are not! What’s the mystery?

I sent a few test emails to my own Gmail account and here’s what one looks like in this screen shot:
Gmail ruins some text URLs

As you can see, links which contain a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, and no “www” are not functional links.

I don’t know if this is a deliberate “feature” or a bug in the Gmail web client, but as email marketers we need to be aware of this quirk, and find a workaround, which is actually simple: if you like to use some caps in your URLs for emphasis, all you need to do is add “www.” and they will work just fine.

Alternatively, you can use ALLCAPS.COM or onlylowercase.com and they should work as well.

This is only a problem in plain text emails, which email marketers usually use in auto-responders. If you’re using HTML to format your e-newsletter or other email marketing messages, all your links will work fine in Gmail.

Thanks to Denise Wakeman for alerting me to this problem.

Read more on: Email Delivery Best Practices / Email Design / Email Marketing / Email Service Providers / Managing Email / Tracking and Split Testing

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    Joe Caffery Sep 19, 2016

    Any advice on how to fix this on incoming mails from other senders that used to work just fine before 5.1 lollipop
    Many thanks
    Joe Caffery

    @Joe, simply add “www.” before the domain name, e.g. use http://www.OntarioMortgageDeals.com instead of OntarioMortgageDeals.com

    Howard Feb 16, 2017


    I use GetResponse for the last few years. I set up my first campaign years ago and I made my confirmation message text-only to make sure people without HTML could be assured of it working for them. Back when I set it up, the confirmation email worked perfectly in GMail and the links were all hyperlinked.

    Today, I set up a new campaign, made my confirmation email the same as on my previous one – also text only – and then was surprised when I tested signing up that the links – both the confirmation link itself and the referral link that shows up at the bottom next to “Powered by:” – showed up in plain text, not hyperlinked.

    Then I tried sending the confirmation email from my years-old campaign and got the same issue, even though I have an old version of the same email in my GMail account and in that one the links were hyperlinked.

    I was confused, until I found this article:


    Basically, GMail now doesn’t hyperlink links in a text-only email if it has both upper and lower-case letters in it and doesn’t have “www” at the beginning. The GetResponse links fit that. So I guess that’s why they no longer hyperlink in GMail in these text versions.

    I wanted to see if anyone else had the same thing going on. So I searched for someone else using GetResponse and found you. I signed up for your newsletter and got the confirmation email to a GMail address. Sure enough, yours are the same as mine. Text only. And the links are not clickable.

    I don’t know how much of a problem this is. I still get GMail subscribers so some of them are managing to confirm. Maybe they are reading their GMail through another client though. I also see some uncomfirmeds that are GMail too and can’t help but wonder how many of those are people who got the confirmation email and couldn’t click on it and weren’t sophisticated enough to know to copy/paste the link (even though I do tell them to do that if they need to).

    I went to show GetResponse’s support, thinking they have the most to lose of anyone if they’re losing lots of possible subscriber confirmations, which equals dollars, and was literally blown off (as always with their support, which I think may be the worst customer support I’ve ever experienced.)

    So a few things:

    1) Did you realize your confirmation links are no longer hyperlinked in GMail?

    2) How concerned would you be about that? Do you think it’s worth switching to HTML confirmation emails over? Or no?

    3) I have a huge love/hate relationship with GetResponse. For the most part I love the product and I definitely love the prices. But their support is mind-blowingly painful to work with. Every now and then I wish I knew someone else using them to compare notes or see if we’ve run into any similar issues. So maybe we can be that for each other if you’re interested.

    Good to meet you and I’d love to get your thoughts on this.


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