Email vs web

In 1971, the first email was sent out across a network just a couple years after the creation of ARPANET (the tubes), the precursor to the Internet.  Over the past 20 years (the web debuted in 1991) innovation on the web has leaped forward.  Today we take for granted the fact that we access rich applications on the web, view streaming video (sorry), and find the perfect chili recipe in seconds. 

Meanwhile, email, the much older sibling hasn’t seen close to this level of innovation. Sure, you can now receive HTML emails but is that really it?  Why has email remained so stagnant?  A big part this of has to do with spam! ISPs (like Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail) fight a never-ending battle against spammers. It’s estimated that 90% of messages sent are spam. Spam pays. Unfortunately, this also means that ISPs have put the kibosh on email in order to stem the tide of junk emails. There’s also a legitimate concern around security and dynamic content in the inbox. All the cool stuff that enables the dynamic web like Javascript, Flash, and even full HTML support is under lockdown.

This really sucks for anyone doing email marketing. The web kids get to play with shiny new toys but email people don’t. There are plenty of brilliant, innovative ideas ready to burst free if we just had a conduit to bring rich content to email. It doesn’t have to be this way. We could be bi-winning. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to bring dynamic, real-time, and relevant content to email while respecting the inbox.

In the coming years we’ll all look at email differently. There’s a ton of innovation that’s waiting to happen. Over 1.5 billion people around the world use email.  It’s free, it’s open, and it’s about to get a lot better!