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Thread: How to track who has opened your emails?

  1. #1
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    How to track who has opened your emails?

    Hi, I want to be able to setup some kind of tagging system so that when i send out a bulk email (a member newsletter) I am able to report on how many opened it, clicked through.

    Is there a way to do this?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Nope, not unless you ask for a confirmation and most people will ignore it. Once it's sent, it's gone. You can only do with if you use a designated URL for the click-thru.

  3. #3
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    Even if your fears are confirmed, there’s little you do to prevent your organization from monitoring your electronic correspondence. There’s however a good online service called hidelinks.com that helps you password protect URLs that you share in email messages. The recipient has to type a password, set by you, in order to visit the site mentioned in the email.

  4. #4
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    But in my company, we use various marketing products (such as pure360) that are used for mass mailing. They can then report on who opened the email, who clicked through, etc.

    There is clearly a way of doing it. Some kind of tag or something.

    Anyone who knows anything, please help me out.

    Thanks

  5. #5
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    Well, I can understand the click-thru but once an e-mail is sent, and the user receiving it has a secure system, how can it possibly communicate with you unless the user allows it to? People have tried using different techniques but, from I have read, none of them worked that good. You say you have a product that does it, why not ask the manufacturer of the product? Worth a try .... We'd be very interested to know the answer ....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldscooter
    But in my company, we use various marketing products (such as pure360) that are used for mass mailing. They can then report on who opened the email, who clicked through, etc.

    There is clearly a way of doing it. Some kind of tag or something.

    Anyone who knows anything, please help me out.

    Thanks
    Some spammers include a link to an invisible image on their web site from the email. Anyone who opens the email from an email program that doesn't have propelr security in place to block linked images then has their email address logged on the spammers web site. That is why email programs now block linked images by default and you need to embed images in the email itself if you expect the recipients to actually see the images. Of course since this has been blocked due to abuse by spammers t also means that legitimate email senders can't use that tracking method any more either (except for determining how many of the recipients of their emails have nt secured their email program against spammers).

    Basically the same thing applies to requesting a return receipt on the email. Since there is a risk of accidentally confirming your email address to a spammer via a return receipt, many people now have that option permanently turned off in their email program.

    With proper security in place to stop spammers from being able to tell if you have received their spam you have effectively blocked everyone else from being able to tell if you received their legitimate email as well. This is just another way in which abuse of the email system by spammers has resulted in functionality that would sometimes be useful being removed.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the comments. This is all very useful.

    I have spoken to the providers of the mailing service mentioned previously and they assure me that they are definately still able to report on emails opened. We used them a few months back and I can agree with their claim.

    Apparently they gather the info by attaching a 1pixel image to the email.

    Is anyone able to elaborate on how this would work?

    Thanks

  8. #8
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    What i mean, is how are you able to log the email addresses that attempt to link to the 1pxl image?

  9. #9
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    Well it's an utterly useless method of measuring how many people opened the mails you sent out, but it'd probably be reasonably easy to implement.

    You could just make the address of the image something like
    Code:
    www.yoursite.com/images/the_image.gif?address=email_address_to_which_the_mail_was_sent
    Then it's a simple matter of parsing the server logs. Like I, and Felgall, have already said, though, it's an utterly useless and completely inaccurate way of measuring how many mails were opened. Not that an idea being utterly useless has ever stopped companies from trying to sell it to you in the hopes that you won't realize how utterly useless it actually is.
    I'm thuper, thanks for asking.

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  10. #10
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    Well, my system (Linux) doesn't allow something like that to "send" anything back to the sender w/o my permission. On my Windows systems, i delete any attachments and embedded items before looking at the mail. So what you're talking about only works some of the time. In addition, for many people, myself included, if I found you were tracking my e-mail that way, i would immediately unsubscribe and not deal with you. That is really an invasion of privacy.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldscooter View Post
    What i mean, is how are you able to log the email addresses that attempt to link to the 1pxl image?
    If you have logging turned on for your web hosting (as is the case with most web hosting) then all file accesses (hits) are logged automatically. It is then just a matter of the right program to extract the wanted info out of the log.

    Spammers always run software to extract all the email addresses from their log of anyone silly enough to run their email program with linked images enabled. That is why any sensible person has linked images disabled and only sees those images actually embedded in the email itself.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    If you have logging turned on for your web hosting (as is the case with most web hosting) then all file accesses (hits) are logged automatically. It is then just a matter of the right program to extract the wanted info out of the log.

    Spammers always run software to extract all the email addresses from their log of anyone silly enough to run their email program with linked images enabled. That is why any sensible person has linked images disabled and only sees those images actually embedded in the email itself.
    So people who are unaware of the potential consequences of having linked images displayed in their emails, being the vast majority of the entire human race, are disincluded from your classification of 'sensible' and don't get to join your elite group of sensible people.

    I'm only asking these questions to learn, and so the answers are there for others who are interested. I don't know why such a persistently obtuse attitude is necessary.

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