Support » Plugin: Subscribe2 » [Plugin: Subscribe2] YouTube videos in HTML notifications are just a black square

  • Resolved douglerner


    I’m testing Subscribe2. In the HTML outgoing mail sent to a registered user, the embedded YouTube video appears as a black square. And the square itself is not clickable and there is no indication there is a video there to look at.

    Is there a setting or something to make this work?



Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 37 total)
  • @doug,

    The code used to inset a video into your content online would be different from any code that might work to play a video in a delivered email.

    Embedding videos in your emails will probably always be fraught with difficulties as email clients are not really designed to play video or accept embedded video.

    I’d suggest that you avoid trying to embed video in email and instead link your readers to a online version.

    Hi, Matty.

    Well, what I’m doing is just posting a link to the video, not the embed code. It then appears embedded at my site automatically.

    Is there a way to get WordPress to just send out the link I put in the post?



    I see if I go into the media settings and turn off automatic embeds and then send a Subcribe2 preview to myself that it just sends the link, which is fine. That would be like me sending a link to my friend by email.

    It’s too bad though. It would be nice if the site could display the embed, but since the actual content stored in the database is just the link that the email notifier sent the link. Best of both worlds.

    Maybe there is another notifier which can do that?

    Anyway, thanks,


    Ooh. I just noticed something.

    For the posts I made via Postie, they were posted with embed tags. Those:

    (1) Show up as embedded videos at the blog and;

    (2) Show up as embedded videos in the email notifications! At least in on my Mac it does.

    Something to work with here.


    Yes, that’s a possible solution.

    Just turn off auto-embed in the Media settings.

    Then if you either:

    (1) Use the embed tags manually or

    (2) Use Postie to post as HTML mail with just the YouTube link (easiest),

    the post shows up in the web as an embedded video and the Subscriber2 notification which goes out sends the video so it appears embedded. At least in Mac Mail. I haven’t tested in other clients.



    I’m glad you have a working solution, maybe I’ll look into embedding in a future version of Subscribe2.


    Well, it’s not a perfect solution. While the embed tag goes out and embeds in on the Mac, it doesn’t in Gmail.

    So the notification that goes out from Subscribe2 just ends up with nothing at all where the embed was in Gmail (and also Mailplane). I imagine it’s a problem in some other Mail clients as well.

    If embedded videos are a problem in many mail clients, it seems the safest thing would be to send just the links.

    Of course one way to achieve that is, as you said, to make sure that just links get posted. But it’s a shame to do that when the blog itself can look nice with embedded video.

    There must be a combination of Postie and WordPress settings which work.




    How are you adding videos to your site? Are you using core WordPress functionality and the [embed] shortcode or are you using a plugin, or maybe just pasting in the embed code?

    Having done a little readin one solution with Subscribe2 might be to use the [embed] shortcode – that’ll get stripped out in the emails leaving just the link whereas on your site it’ll embed fully as the link will get filtered and translated into an embed.

    OK. Here is the “safest” combination:

    1. In WordPress > Settings > Media make sure Auto-Embeds is checked. This doesn’t change the content of the saved message (which contains just a YouTube link) but when displaying it displays as an embedded YouTube.

    2. In Postie > Settings > Messages > Advanced Options make sure that Automatically convert URLs to links is turned off. If on, it converts YouTube URLS to embed tags. We don’t need this because WordPress itself will display it as embedded if (1) is checked.

    With the above settings, posts via the web or via email will show the YouTube as embedded video. But Subscribe2 will just send out the YouTube link in notifications.



    There were two ways I was adding the videos:

    (1) Using the WordPress editor and just entering the YouTube URL. I was not using shortcode. I was depending on the In WordPress > Settings > Media setting to auto-embed. This apparently renders it as embed but leaves the URL alone. This looks to be safe with Subscribe2.

    (2) The problem was I usually post via email. I have been using Postie for this. But what Postie was doing was actually converting the simple YouTube URL to embed tags before posting. That was what was causing the problem with Subscribe2.

    By disabling that in Postie as described in my post just above, Postie just posts the URL itself. Then WordPress renders it as embedded by leaves the internal data alone. And Subscribe2 just mails out the URL. And all is right in the world.

    Thanks for checking!

    I need to go by this plugin now because I want public users also to get HTML mail.




    Sounds like you’ve configured your way around this issue. Does the link still go into the HTML emails rather than an embed? I was looking at ways to maybe remove the core WordPress embed filter in the emails but if what you have works then I don’t really need to do that.

    In this case just the link goes into the HTML mails, which is the safest as you point out. And with auto-embed it displays nicely in WP itself.

    Now if only the notifications themselves looked nice. They are sort of threadbare, don’t you think?




    The notifications can be configured to you own specifications. I prefer a minimalist approach to the notifications I send and receive (I always opt for plain text even when HTML is available). But, I accept no everyone thinks like me which is why HTML is available as an option giving you the tools to add as much polish and bling as you like!

    It turns out this is not resolved.

    I turned off the auto-embed that was going on, so the content of a post internally is just something like:

    But I had to turn on support of shortcode recognition or the old posts wouldn’t show up correctly.

    This results in:

    1. Posts like showing up ok in the web but,

    2. When Subscribe2 sends out the notification instead of just sending out the URL itself (which is all that is there internally in the post) Subscribe2 sends out a message with a big black rectangle where the URL is!

    Looking at the source of the HTML mail, it looks like Subscribe2 is taking the internal YouTube URL above and sending it as:

    <span class=’embed-youtube’ style=’text-align:center; display: block;’><iframe class=’youtube-player’ type=’text/html’ width=’584′ height=’359′ src=’’ frameborder=’0′></iframe></span>

    Why would it do that? That’s the cause of the problem.

    The HTML source of the actual post doesn’t have all that stuff in it.



    I guess I can just use Jetpack on my self-hosted blog.

    I just tried it and even though Jetpack is written by and even though it uses subscription management and email, unlike the notifications from it sends out a valid link. And unlike the subscriptions from Subscribe2 it doesn’t send out just a black square. It sends out the URL.

    I don’t know why Jetpack would work correctly while the email notifications from my blog don’t. And I don’t know why Subscribe2 sends out all that code I posted above. But I’ve spent waaaaay too much time worrying about this.

    The email subscriptions from itself sends out a still image with an invalid link, so I would like to do this self-hosted

    The only things I don’t like about Jetpack’s notifications are (1) Like with you have no control over the subscribers (e.g. you can’t help somebody unsubscribe) and (2) you can’t customize the confirmation messages, which include “howdy” and other expressions I don’t like. That’s why I wanted to use Subscribe2 if possible.

    But since the email notifications from have that bug, and the Jetpack notifications don’t, and Subscribe2 sends out a black rectangle, Jetpack might be my only choice.


Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 37 total)
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