Since GMail came out, I have started seeing many people add signatures and banners to their forums profiles and websites. The banners display the email address of that person. Why would someone do that? Well in the beginning the GMail was cool, not that it is not anymore, everyone wanted to show that they have an account. That is because to acquire a GMail account you have to be invited. How could one show off without getting his email inbox filled with SPAM? If a person wanted to display their email they would have had to type it out in they signature. That is plain text. Most of us know how a new email account can be spammed the easiest, leave it on some website as text so when the SPAM bots index the site they will pick up your address and store it in their database for the spammer to use or sell at a latter time.
The solution to the above predicament is to display the email address as a banner. Someone came up with the idea, whoever that might be, congrats. That is a great idea, from which many people have benefited. This simple idea rest in this, with the help of the wonderful language of PHP and its abilities to generated graphics, an image with your email address is generated. Many of you have seen this before in security images on websites, even I am using one! If you scroll down to the end of this page you will see one from which you have to enter a number if you want to post comment on my weblog. Whit little bit of knowledge, creativity and time that script can be modified to display any image you want with any text on it. Thus the email signature banners were born.
Soon after the GMail banners began popping up all over the web, I started seeing MSN/Hotmail and tonight for a first time Yahoo! email signature banners. I think that is due to Microsoft and Yahoo! increasing the storage size of people’s email accounts to 250 MBs and 100 MBs respectively. As a result, the two companies were able to retain and probably gain some new supporters, who were knowledgeable and creative enough to modify the script for the service of their choice. I am sure it will not be too long before we start seeing the same email signature banners for other web email providers. I have a feeling that the next one will be AOL. On Wednesday, Dec 22, 04 the company announced its planes for webmail service.
Although I am not planning on using any of the banners, I thought it would be a good idea to provide links to some of the sites which host the email signature banner generating scripts for the web mail providers. If in the future I come across any of the such for other companies I will update this post with links.
Gmail: http://gizmo967.mgs3.org/Gmail/ http://www.gmailforums.com/index.php?showtopic=6786
I did not find any specific sites for MSN/Hotmail and Yahoo!, but the following site will generate the images for hand full of emails, including the above two: http://www.nhacks.com/email/index.php