I agree, we've actually switched to using inline padding now and not so many spacer gifs, so hopefully will be avoided in the future. We haven't had any more clients come forward with this issue so either it was fluke or perhaps people aren't reporting it to us.
My colleagues and I got in the habit of always using spacer gifs several years ago because this was the most consistent way of ensuring exact spacing across email clients that we found (it seemed like for a while there, inline padding on a td or even cellpadding wasn't getting honored!). Judging from this post, however, it looks like we might be in the minority. I definitely don't like the bloat it causes with these gifs all over the place - am eager to try using the code I've seen here!
Good point on how they might come after you if you try to alter their footer!
If you can, I highly recommend switching to MailChimp. It is a dream to use and the interface is so modern and clean, plus they keep up to date with things and seem to make continual tweaks and improvements to move things forward. Good luck!
Thanks for that detailed explanation and link to that thread. Now things are making more sense. When I did a live chat with their support, they claimed they did support responsive code and that the code would remain untouched when sent - which technically is true. The fact that the footer throws things off explains why they make this claim, because they are not altering or stripping out media queries.
I can't say for sure because I haven't tested it, but I bet there might be a workaround for those stuck on Constant Contact. Something like targeting that footer table through the media query to make sure it becomes a percentage width from the 600px. But again I haven't looked at the code and it would be difficult since there probably aren't class or id names on their footer.
There is a happy ending to my problem because we ended up switching the client to MailChimp and are no longer experiencing this issue. The email renders as expected in Litmus and on iPhones. The client had just initially chosen Constant Contact not knowing all the problems with it and they were open to switching so it worked out in their case.
Thanks for everyone's responses!
Thank you Danielle for your response. I agree it's probably not too big of an issue but does look alarming in the test so it's good to know what's going on.
Ah yes, thanks for finding this. I had found much older threads but was looking for something more recent to confirm. Really frustrating that they are so behind the curve.
I thought I'd follow up because another team member ended up solving this for me.
This is an Outlook 2013 view setting. The fix is to have the person change their message preview option to either line 1 or off. If the view is set for line 2 or 3 that is when it shows the URLs.
I'm not exactly sure what this refers to because I don't have Outlook, but there you have it.