1) all the email vendors have added image blocking to their products
2) people seem to actually like this new image blocking thing
Do e-mail marketers want to get images back into their emails, or do they want to respect their recipients' new preference?
Although this image blocking is pretty new to most people, once they learn to accept it and like it, what will be the backlash of marketers returning images to their inbox in the (near) future?
thoughts about getting images back in "above the fold", then recipients would definitely be more likely to click 'Show Images' button to allow the rest of the images in the message to load...
i think a lot of recipients automatically assume messages with blocked images are spam, or even if they recognize the sender, are too afraid to open it. With above the fold images, they could more easily identify the sender, and get a better impression.
using above the fold imaging would help senders get their message across and make an better impact; better chances for the recipient to read the entire message
because above the fold imaging is a little restrictive on how much/many images can be displayed, i think that a hybrid message containing both above the fold and click to show images would be more effective than either a message with no images at all, or a message with just a few above the fold imaging images
It is totally up to the email clients (and the people using them) as to whether images are shown by default or not, so the marketers can't really choose to have images show up above or below the fold.
See our article on the status of image blocking at http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/archives/2007/02/current_conditions_and_best_pr_1.html
Since you don't have any way to control that, it is very important to design your email knowing that images may never be shown. It needs to stand without them, and still get your message through.
I've got to agree 100% with Mathew here - especially with the wild variety of standards support, the message really needs to have caught the eye before the images are even a factor.
Now, bear in mind that it's likely that, as your subscribers have indeed subscribed to your emails, they do know who you are and will recognise your name in their inbox. They aren't about to suddenly think, 'hey, this isn't ABC Widgets, it's some filthy spam!' if everything else about the email appears completely fine except that there are no images.
So long as the message you're conveying gets across without the images, you should be fine - just remember to use images to enhance the message, not to be the message.