Visual icons encourage email users

Users are more than twice as likely to open e-mail messages marked with a visual icon as opposed to unmarked messages according to a study by ICONIX.The study included approximately 15,000 users of the Iconix(SM) Truemark(SM) service in a test conducted by ICONIX between December 2005 and June 2006.

The data is based on actual e-mail behavior and the results varied according to the type of message, with personal services topping the list:

—Online auctions—404% increase

—E-cards—192% increase

—Travel services—189% increase


—Social networks—115% increase

—Dating sites—107% increase

—Financial institutions—73% increase

—Online payment services—68% increase

—Online retail—40% increase

—News/information services—26% increase

“We were surprised at the significant impact the visual icon has on personal services such as e-cards, social networking and online dating,” said Jeff Wilbur, vice president of marketing for ICONIX. “End-users take safety more seriously when it involves personal interaction and the exchange of personal information, as opposed to receiving a daily news service. Overall, we found that users recognize the value of this service and really like it.”

One company that has recently adopted the Truemark service is LiveJournal. “Our users are concerned about privacy and control of personal information. We authenticate all our e-mail communications, but our users are always keenly interested in having more ways to guard their information and control unwanted e-mails,” said Patricia Mitchell, vice president of worldwide sales for LiveJournal. “The visual icon makes it easier to identify which messages are really from us and safe to open, so we’re glad to make this service more available to our LiveJournal users.”

E-mail messages from more than 300 major companies are currently identified by the Truemark service. By the end of June more than 30 additional companies will be enrolled, including the American Red Cross, Best Buy, Chase, HP, and NASCAR.

“Users are trying to control the overwhelming amount of unwanted e-mail flooding their inboxes, and are plagued by the amount of time and effort it takes to determine what’s legitimate and what’s malicious,” said Wilbur. “This simple visual indication of legitimate e-mail can make a real difference as demonstrated with LiveJournal, where more than 85 percent of its members who use the Truemark service open their messages.”

In addition to Yahoo! Mail, MSN Hotmail and Gmail, Iconix eMail ID software now also supports Microsoft Outlook Express and Earthlink Web mail. Support for Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 will be available June 30, 2006.