How to Know If Your Email Has Been Read

By Techwalla Contributor

Have you ever wondered if and when your e-mail gets read? Maybe you applied for a job online and haven't heard anything back. Did they get your resume at all? Or maybe you had a lovers' quarrel and your partner won't answer your letters. Then again, perhaps you just want to be sure someone is okay and they just don' thave the time to answer you yet. There are email tracking techniques you can use that will tell you if your mails get read or at least opened) or not. Check this out.Please use email tracking for lawful, personal, non-commercial purposes only. Do not use it for e-mail marketing. Doing so could only brand you as a spammer. It could also hurt the reputation of those who provide free web site and e-mail tracking services.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet
  • HTML-compliant / Read receipt-enabled email server or program
  • Picture file (optional)
  • Message
  • Remote file host (optional)
  • E-mail tracker (optional)

Step 1

Request a "read receipt" if you use an e-mail client program. In Outlook Express, go to the Tools menu and select "Options." In the dialog box that appears, click on the "Receipts" tab. Check the box beside "Request a read receipt to all sent messages." You can also set your response to read requests from people who send you e-mail.

Step 2

Add a hit counter to your e-mail message. Many people use web hit counters as e-mail trackers. If the counter's code is compatbile with your mail server or program, just insert it at the end of your message. This usually means the hit counter must be HTML-only, with no Javascript. You can then check your counter's access log.

Step 3

Use a free e-mail tracker to track sent mails. A free e-mail tracking service will notify you when your mails get read. An example of this is SpyPig. Give an e-mail address where you'd like the notices to be sent to. Follow the instructions. Get ready to send your message. A timer will start once you've completed the instructions. Copy the coded image to your message and send the mail before the timer reaches zero. The procedure may differ for other e-mail trackers.

Step 4

Use Google Analytics to track URL clicks.Use this when you want to track an e-mail with a URL click, not a picture. The recipient must click on the URL for this to work. Get a Google Analytics account for free. Generate a trackable URL (see "Resources" below) and check your account for hits.

Tips & Warnings

  • Best way to be sure if your e-mail was read? Ask.
  • If you use a hit counter, please make sure that using it as an e-mail tracker doesn't violate the terms of use. One counter service for example, StatCounter, actively pursues and deletes accounts that use their counter for e-mail tracking.
  • Programmers can create their own e-mail tracking scripts but it's complicated to learn for novices. See link on PHP coding.
  • Please do not use e-mail tracking for spamming or illegal purposes. And please do not abuse it and try to invade others' privacy. It's not foolproof anyway.
  • Please don't start a quarrel just from e-mail tracking. This is for entertainment only!
  • There is no 100% guarantee that you will be able to track your e-mails with these methods.
  • A read receipt won't work if the recipient doesn't confirm it. (It works best if their e-mail program is set to automatically confirm receipts.)
  • An embedded picture file will work only if the images are displayed. If images are turned off, nothing will be reported to the server.
  • SpyPig requires both sender and receiver to use HTML e-mail, not Rich Text Format or Plain Text.
  • Google Analytics and similar URL click trackers are useless if the recipient doesn't click the links.