You can know for sure if your emails were opened.

Have you ever sent an email to someone asking for a response and not gotten one? It’s happened to me on a number of occasions. Usually if it’s important enough for me to follow up with them, they’ll be honest and say that they got too busy or forgot or whatever. Sometimes, though, they’ll take the easier way out and claim they never received the email. In those cases, I have my doubts about their honesty, but I can’t prove anything so I let it go.

But there is a free way to find out if and when your emails have been opened (and presumably read), as well as learning whether any links you included in your emails were clicked on. Marketing companies have been using this strategy for quite some time , but you can do the same thing for your personal email.

One company that offers this service free for five emails a day and $5 a month for unlimited usage is Bananatag (www.bananatag.com). They embed a tiny transparent image in each email hosted on their service and track whether that image has been accessed. Then they notify the sender.  In addition to tracking emails, Bananatag organizes and displays metrics to make analysis simple. You can learn more about it by clicking here.

Among the suggestions the article provides for avoiding being tracked are:

  • Refuse to “display images” when you receive an email.
  • Don’t click on a link unless you’re certain where it goes and whether you want to go there.
  • Hover over the link and check its destination in the bottom left corner of your window. If the link text doesn’t match the link that is displayed in the bottom corner, it’s going somewhere else. Even if it does, copy and paste it into your browser’s address bar rather than clicking on it.

Of course, Bananatag isn’t the only company offering this service. Others include Yesware, Thunderbird and IfRead. Have you used any of these services or others to track whether your emails are being opened? Have you taken any steps to avoid being tracked? Have those steps you’ve taken been effective?

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