HTTPS is the standard: also for email marketing

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12, December 2018

One of the nightmares of any marketer: after hours of stress preparing a newsletter for sending. Just one more round of testing … and what do we discover? The browser identifies a link from your newsletter as not secure! And that is the very last thing you want to offer your subscribers: an insecure website or email, that could also damage your deliverability.

Over the past few years, the use of HTTPS has grown exponentially. And rightly so. Web browsers use HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) to create a connection to a website. Using HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) you guarantee use of a secure connection, too. If no secure connection to a website is possible, anyone who has the necessary knowledge and tools could tap into any traffic between the web browser and the website.

SSL-certificates
To secure a connection between the user and the website, an SSL certificate is used. An SSL certificate guarantees encryption of the data traffic, so that it cannot be tapped. Depending on the level of validation, an SSL certificate can also be used to guarantee improved trust in the website.

Encrypted website and security certificate

Today – in 2018 – it is more or less self-evident that your website features a green or grey padlock in the browser address bar. All the user needs to do is click on the padlock to check that the connection to the website is secure, so that his data are guaranteed private, when sent to the website. It is also possible to check the details of the security certificate via this padlock symbol.

Connection secure or not? Or not completely?

In terms of security of the connection with websites, there are broadly speaking three possibilities:

  1. The connection is not secure; avoid sharing any sensitive data with this website; they could be intercepted.
  2. The connection is not fully secure; a cyber attacker could look ‘over your shoulder’ and could even manipulate the not secure elements.
  3. The connection is secure (see the illustration above); any data you send to the website are guaranteed private when transmitted.

Secure is the standard

Until mid-2018, a secure connection in Chrome (one of the most widely used browsers) was shown by a green padlock in the address bar. This was based on the idea that ‘green is secure’.
This is no longer the case. Now the padlock is plain grey. This change may not appear thrilling, but it is the result of the idea that ‘secure’ is now the standard. That is the message Google wishes to pass on to its web visitors.

Although the green padlock is no longer used, if you are unable to make a secure connection to a website, a written warning ‘not secure’ is displayed. And indeed, Google is going even further. Their plan is to make not secure connections stand out even more. It is possible that in the near future, a visitor to a website with a not-secure connection will be shown a red warning triangle.

Secure hyperlinks in emails

But what has this got to do with email marketing? Effectively everything. Most Email Service Providers create a separate (sub)domain for your email marketing channel.

In every email that is sent from our platform there are hyperlinks. At the very least one: the mandatory unsubscribe link. These hyperlinks to images or landing pages all start with http, unless you have taken specific measures.

And even if your website uses https, you still have to take special measures for email marketing. Your ESP can take care of these requirements for you. Remember, it takes quite a bit more than adding an ‘s’ to all your http web addresses.

If you do not use the https protocol in your emails, you run the risk that your email will score negative points in the complex processes for spam filtering, used by mailbox providers. The ultimate outcome is that your email may not be automatically placed in the inbox. In other words not good for your deliverability.

Webpower takes care of your risks

We at Webpower can deduct this risk on for you and together with you guarantee that the emails you send from our platform satisfy today’s quality standard.

Do not wait until you see warnings flashing across your screen. Act now and ask Webpower how we can convert the links in your email to links to a domain with a secure connection. Save your receiver the shock of exclamation marks and warnings about not secure connections in the browser. Do it now. It’s nearly 2019!

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