These are the emails you get that start off by saying "Having trouble viewing this email? View it on our website."
How many other advertising (or communications) formats start off this way?
Somehow, I don't think companies would be willing to invest in TV commercials if we said "This TV commercial is going to be great, but most people won't be able to view it right away - they'll have to push another button, or watch it on our website."
Yet these fancy HTML emails persist. They persist at the expense of wasted hours from talented designers and coders whose time could probably be spent creating something way more beautiful and useful.
For a time, my hosting provider (DreamHost) used to send out plain-text emails. They were very simply formatted. They could be read easily and quickly digested. One of these was even sent from an Apple store on one of the demo versions of the first iPhone.
And yes, I'm sure I could set up my email so that that it always displays images and I always see how great these emails are. But I don't. And I bet a lot of other people don't either.
What do you think about fancy, well-designed HTML emails? Worth it or not? Do you read them? Does your email tool display the images for you, or block them?