Animated emoticons in Gmail Subject Lines

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gotitbro
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Animated emoticons in Gmail Subject Lines

Post by gotitbro » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:00 am

I have been receiving a lot of spam lately and most Subject lines in these spam emails contain animated emoticons or "goomoji" which were introduced in Gmail before the standard Unicode emojis.

Here is an article that tries to explain how these animated emoticons are added in Subject lines for Gmail.
https://shkspr.mobi/blog/2015/05/how-gmail-lets-spammers-grab-your-attention-with-emoji/

It says that emoticons are inserted via Unicode (Base64) in the email Subject lines. But in the email I received it didn't contain anything that would indicate the animated emoticons all I see is [?] instead of the animated emoticons in the raw headers.

I even asked the writer of the article cited above about how the spammers are adding the animated emoticons in my case. But even he had no idea about it.

Here are the email headers of a spam email I recently received which had these animated emoticons in the subject line: https://ctrlv.it/id/67486/4103314734 (personal info redacted) [You can notice the question marks that appear instead of the animated emoticons in the subject line]

Here is how the email Subject line appears in the Gmail web client on Chrome:
NSFW ImageShow
https://i.imgur.com/jvo69ZT.png
[The animated emoticons are loaded from a URL like this https://mail.google.com/mail/e/B69 (the part after /e/ is different for each emoticon)]

Can anyone tell me as to how the spammers are including these animated emoticons in the subject lines? And why they are allowed to do so?

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Post by gotitbro » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:47 am

The code for the animated emoticons is available on GitHub and it gives this description and ID for the emoticon I received in the Subject line of the above spam email:

Code: Select all

<e docomo="&gt;E6F9" glyphRefID="457" google="FE827" id="827" img_from="softbank" kddi="E5CA" name="KISS" softbank="E111" unicode="+1F48F">
<ann>= two people kissing</ann>
And mentions the same "id" (827) for it as the image I received in the Subject line: https://mail.google.com/mail/e/827

I still don't get how they are including the animated emoticons/images in the subject lines.

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Post by gotitbro » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:50 am

I found another answer on how these animated emoticon are inserted in Subject lines.
https://stackoverflow.com/questions/28095387/animated-icon-in-email-subject

Even in the above thread the Subject line contains some sort of indication that there are animated emoticons there, i.e., UTF-8 in raw email header Subject line. In my case I only see "[?]" in the raw email instead of the emoticons for some reason. No UTF-8 or any other indication that points to the emoticons.

@smed79 Do you know something about this? Also looks like someone added the NSFW tags to the SS image above. How do you add the NSFW tags? I don't see an option for them.

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Post by smed79 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:55 pm

gotitbro wrote:Do you know something about this?
No, although I already read something in the past about e-mail marketing and placing animated emojis to the subject to catch our attention to increase their open rate.
gotitbro wrote:In my case I only see "[?]" in the raw email...
Same here.
Better if you request for help at Gmail Help Forum.
gotitbro wrote:How do you add the NSFW tags?

Code: Select all

[spoiler=NSFW]text[/spoiler]
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