Let’s just get clarity on a key point, right from the top: the Primary tab is intended to be the place for personal, one-to-one correspondence, and for other mail that Gmail’s machine learning determines is personally important to the individual recipient based on that recipient’s historical interaction with mail from that same sender. That’s a very high bar for marketing mail sent in bulk, and it’s set there intentionally.
Once the initial furor over the appearance of Gmail’s new ads in the Promotions tab died down, the ads themselves seem to die down, too. Until today, I hadn’t seen any of the new, email-like promotions appearing in my accounts for what must be at least two months. They were back this morning, and with a new and interesting change:
The ads now feature a graphical element in the preview pane that wasn’t there before. One of the many complaints from senders and marketers about the ads when they were first introduced is that they too much resembled actual e-mail, and therefore were an attempt to deceive recipients. Indeed, some marketers suggested in semi-private forums that Gmail should be sued for CAN SPAM violations in a class action (never minding that senders have no standing under the law). Continue reading →