Outlook.com using an image service of some sort now? Paths change.

Today I discovered that my (personal) inbox tests no longer work.

A little background:
A few days ago, I sent a test blast email through this tool I am building for my company. My tool just sends an email with absolute paths to the server for the image source attribute. This was working fine last week (locally and in our pre-production and production environments).

Our pre-production environment is inaccessible outside of our firewall, but the images still load when I am on our network because when the browser sees the URL for the image, it makes a request and is granted access since I am still on our network. This is expected behavior.

Today, however, it seems that Outlook.com no longer works with any of these environments - because they now replace the src attribute of an image with their own URL which is a service of some sort which tries to load the image as a parameter into the URL.

So for example:
I have an image that should point to http://example.com/images/header.jpg. When I send a test blast to yahoo, gmail, outlook, etc it works fine and loads this URL directly.

When I send a test blast to outlook.com, the image does not point to http://example.com/images/header.jpg any longer. Instead, it points to something like this:

Obviously this won't work, since my image is inaccessible outside of our network.

Is anyone else seeing this? Does anyone know if this is a permanent thing now? It's quite ridiculous!

erikwoods erikwoods, 4 years ago

If you're having a hard time understanding the original post...

It is very similar to a situation where you try sharing a nonpublic URL on Facebook and the thumbnail won't show up because Facebook is denied access to the domain.

This is the same sort of situation - https://blu171.mail.live.com does not have access to my domain(s).

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 4 years ago

Hi erikwoods, I haven't come across this personally, but it is really something curious. As a workaround, is it possible to host your images elsewhere, say, with us, or on a domain outside of your network?

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erikwoods erikwoods, 4 years ago

I am working on a solution with my infrastructure team, but I am more interested in the fact that Outlook.com is doing this at all.

What reason would they have to do this sort of thing? Is it for tracking?

I would imagine that the scenario I described in my original post is pretty rare, as most people who send HTML emails already have their images public - but I can't help but wonder.

I'm just looking for any insight anyone might have in regards to why this change was made on Outlook.com's end.

erikwoods erikwoods, 4 years ago

I've noticed that if I go to an email in outlook.com and then keep going back and forward with it, it will load another image each time. So initially it has problems loading all of them. But then I hit Back, then Forward, and it decides to display one image. Repeat this process, and then two images show. If I continue to do this, I eventually get all of the images but that's really annoying.

This is difficult to debug and is causing me more pain than it's worth.

erikwoods erikwoods, 4 years ago

For posterity and anyone else who is interested: I've posted a question about this on the Microsoft community:
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/wind … 4eee3e7efe

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 4 years ago

Thanks for being so proactive here, erikwoods - we're going to be watching this with interest. Outlook.com = pain :P

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