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how can i track email if it is read

Posted on 2010-09-23
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hello i am using gmail how can i track if an email is been read ? there some trick to add an image but it get to my attention there many email provder like gmail also disable in the fact image or html content unless user enable it so what is the best trick ?
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Question by:Styleminds
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8 Comments
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Darryl Allen
ID: 33747728
I don't think there's a way to do this with GMail.

Read this:

http://knol.google.com/k/read-receipts-in-gmail#
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Expert Comment

by:john-formby
ID: 33747828
Hi,

It is not possible to do it directly in GMail.  There are a couple of options though:

1.  You can enable POP3 in GMail and then use something like Outlook where you can request a read receipt
2.  You can use a service like readnotify: http://www.readnotify.com/

Hope this helps,

John


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Expert Comment

by:DrDamnit
ID: 33750596
Best trick is to incorporate an ajax function into the body of an email, which reports back information about that email.

provided that the recipient can read HTML email (Outlook, hotmail, browswers, etc...) the ajax function will fire when the email is loaded, and the "web content" will be displayed for the user.

when this web content displays, you will be posting information back to your servers, which tells if an email has been opened.

You can also employ other ajax functions to fire when it is closed, or on other events.

Know when it was opened and closed can give you the"how long was it open" answer.

Alternatively, if the email has a call to action such as "download this" or "go to this link" you can generate individual hashes for each email sent out and track them in a database to see what user actually acted upon the email; however this is different from "reading" the email. This would measure actions not just opens.

Measuring opens is not entirely accurate because not all email clients allow ajax / javascript functions to execute.
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 33760543
Use Constant Contact.  And accept the fact that many people do not like being "tracked" so you will not get perfect results.  But if you use Constant Contact you will get better results than anything you can write yourself.  They have a full-time professional staff devoted to issues like this.
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Author Comment

by:Styleminds
ID: 33760883
Sorry Ray but don't get what you mean!
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Rok-Kralj
ID: 33764348
In the effort not to give the spam compaines the privilege to detect which email adresses are valid and read by the recipient, most mail providers decided to block all the methods for successfull detection.

There is NO RELIABLE method of detecting that.

There was a successfull method with images with appended query hash, which was then decoded, like http://host.com/da743d9e.png. If you don't need accuracy, go with this method.

Gmail blocks all the images from untrusted sources and user has to confirm the images to be loaded. The javascript and ajax is also disabled, so DrDamnit's solution is not reliable.
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Author Comment

by:Styleminds
ID: 34080239
so there no solution ?
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Accepted Solution

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Rok-Kralj earned 500 total points
ID: 34091420
I answered you, that is all. To sumarize again:

There is no reliable way. You can just somehow approximate how many users opened the email.

As I said, if there were a certain way, that would be a too big security threat. The Spam comanies would then know if the email is active (and email sent is being readl).
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