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The Rebirth of Hidden Text

Who doesn’t remember the days that search engines ate whatever you threw at them. Meta tags containing unrelated-yet-search-volume-laden keywords, doorway pages and my personal favourite: white-on-white text.

Now it looks like the latter is making a return from its heydays.

Etsy’s Hidden Text

Take a look at this snippet from my Google Mail inbox:

Google Mail inbox snippet of Etsy's newsletter

Google Mail shows the e-mail’s subject in regular text and then shows a snippet of text from the body. However, upon opening the e-mail I was surprised not to find the “Find the perfect gift for Mom.” string at the top of the message. What’s more: it was nowhere to be seen at all.

Upon closer inspection however, it turned out that the text was actually there. When I selected the first line in the e-mail it showed up. By matching the text colour with the background colour it was brilliantly concealed by the smart-asses at Etsy.

I love seeing Google getting out-smarted by the exact same practices that were abolished fifteen years ago.

Google Mail Etsy newsletter detail view - selected first line

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