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Nick Gassman <[log in to unmask]>
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Mon, 3 Nov 2003 09:19:34 +0000
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New EU/UK ecommerce regulations require that recipients of emails are
able to tell who they are from, and to distinguish between marketing and
servicing emails before they open them.

The main relevant header fields of emails are the *subject*,
the *from name*, and the *from address*. Email programs will generally
allow you to specify the *from* field in the format

Nick Gassman <[log in to unmask]>

In this case 'Nick Gassman' is the *from name*, and
[log in to unmask] is the *from address*. Most email clients will
then give prominence to the *from name* in the inbox, but display the
*from address* if it is not there.

Where we're at is to say that the *from name* of servicing emails could
be e.g. 'British Airways Servicing', while marketing emails would just
be from 'British Airways'. We are also saying that the *subject* must be
clear about the subject matter, such as 'BA special offers from 50
pounds', or 'Your BA booking details to Paris'.

What I'd like some comment on is whether, if you have 'British Airways'
in the *from name*, is it also desirable to have 'British Airways' or
'BA' or 'ba.com' in the subject?

One view is that if people get special offers from a number of
companies, it's irritating to get a *subject* list that just says
'special offers', and to have to check the *from name* or *from address*
to find out who each email is from. The alternative view is that people
tend to check both fields pretty much anyway, and not including the
company name in the subject line makes it shorter and more snappy.

For the sake of completeness I'd also mention that we're mandating that
each *from name* must have a valid *from address* uniquely associated
with it. The *reply-to* field though, can be dictated by operational
needs, and could potentially be the same for all.

Please send me your comments and I'll summarise.

*    Nick Gassman - eCommerce Manager - [log in to unmask]     *
              * http://ba.com *

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