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check email

Posted on 2012-03-11
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Last Modified: 2012-03-23
hello there,
I have a forum with about 80,000 members.. I send a newsletter every week and I would like to know what approach would be the best to find out who read the email.. someone said to create a php mailer.. so when send emails include an image and each image would contain a unique string so when they open the email the image would load and the server would track the emails as read.. but sometimes some services like gmail dont open images automatically etc.. so what do you guys recommend?
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Question by:XK8ER
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4 Comments
 
LVL 84

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 37708496
Most email clients now do not automatically open images from external sources until the user gives permission.  But it is still the standard method for detecting opens simply because nothing else seems to work better.  Also nothing else will report back to the server.  I know that I almost never load the images on the emails from Experts Exchange.
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Expert Comment

by:dsmile
ID: 37708531
may be you should ask all of your members to add your newsletter address to safe sender list or something like that of members' email service
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:rakjosh
ID: 37708901
i think there is open source 'phplist' in which you can get your answers, you need to implement it in your script.
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LVL 111

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Ray Paseur earned 2000 total points
ID: 37712079
Email was written by academic nerds who never thought of it as anything but a tool for them to send information back and forth about academic nerd stuff.  The idea of HTML email came 20 years later.  As a result there is no accountability in email at all.  Any and all headers can be forged, etc.  And there is no email handshake (like a cookie) that confirm receipt.  The tracking image concept is fairly lame, but it is all we have.

I recommend Constant Contact.  They use a tracking image script.  They are an excellent service - easy to use and embarrassingly inexpensive.  If your clients do not invite their email reader programs to display images, you will get a false count, one that is lower than the number of people who actually saw the message.

The tracking image is not really an image, it is a PHP script that makes a data base update, then renders an image which is often a one-pixel transparent PNG.  The tag in the HTML message looks like this.
<img src="tracker.php?q=[i]user_identity_string[/i]" />

Open in new window

The PHP script puts the user identity string into a table of clients who saw the email.

Constant Contact can also follow who forwarded the script, etc.  HTH, ~Ray
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