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Flash and Email – Can it Work?

Every couple of weeks I wait with baited breath for the next installment of Tim Ferriss’s exciting life. Tim Ferris is a man who states that he only works 4 hours a week to earn more in a month than some people earn in a year. I have read his book and love it so it was an easy leap to get me to sign up to receive updates to his blog via email.

Sometimes Tim provides a little movie dealing with something interesting which automatically appears within my email client. In the last installment it was how to “peel” a hard-boiled egg without peeling!!

To view the movie within my email client all I have to do is play it. The movie starts in seconds and there is no latency and well – it just plays where it is – no trips to a web site or nothing.

I thoroughly enjoy watching the movies and told many of my friends to sign up to his email alerts.

What I forgot to mention was that unless you are using Apple Mail as your email client you are not in fact going to see the movies nor in Tim’s case will you ever know they were ever present!

You see Apple Mail as of this posting seems to be the only email client that plays flash movies.

In order to prove my statement I ran Tim’s latest email blog alert through our email test lab – see the results below:

Apple Mail

Go Tim!
Tims video in Apple Mail


Interesting that Entourage at least provided a blank space where the flash should be running. At least you know something might be missing.

Yahoo! Mail

There is even no mention of the movie not even a little broken icon to make me wonder what I am missing.


Nope – nothing here.


No surprises here. Outlook 2007 would be the last email application I would expect flash to run in.

Outlook Express (Windows Mail)

A warning about the flash file is all that Outlook Express can muster.


Thunderbird at least displays a blank area where the flash should be.

Windows Live Hotmail

Hotmail doesn’t want to know about the flash file either.

So is it Worth Sending Flash Movies in Email?
Looking at the results the only reason you would bother inserting flash movies in an email is if you knew for a fact that most if not all of your subscribers used Apple Mail.

If not don’t bother. You can try and fiddle with wrapping the flash in a table or a DIV and provide a backup image but I doubt that even the image would appear if its anywhere near the HTML that deals with the flash file.

In Tim’s case I doubt he is even aware of this issue and maybe its not a concern as most people would just visit his blog.

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