Fun Fact Friday: GOTCHA! Webhooks and Revenge of the Rich Text

Marketo Employee
Marketo Employee

I recently encountered an issue where a webhook I was working with kept failing. The lead fields I was passing over in the webhook via tokens I knew were correct, yet the webhook continued to fail.

Here is part of the webhook payload:

&first_name={{lead.First Name}}&last_name={{lead.Last Name}}&country={{lead.Country}}&email={{lead.Email Address}}&parent_email={{lead.Parent’s Email}}

Did you spot the issue? It’s very, very subtle.

Okay, let me put it like this – do you see a difference between these two values?

lead.Parents Email

lead.Parent's Email

Yep, it’s that seemingly innocuous “curly” apostrophe in the first value. What Microsoft likes to call a “smart” apostrophe versus a straight one. Guess what? It’s a unique character compared with a straight quote, and one that many data systems can’t read/process. When the webhook was built, it had been built in a Word document and then copy/pasted into the webhook payload template in Marketo. And since it came from Word, Word automatically turned the apostrophe curly.

If you’re building webhooks, be sure to copy/paste from Notepad or a similar plain text program. Better yet? When it comes to data, apostrophes and punctuation is generally best avoided if you can.