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Did You Read My Email Yet?

Contributor:
David Silversmith
David Silversmith
emailoracle.jpg

Ever wondered if people read your email?  Tried the reply requested?  Wondered if they were lying to you when they said "Yes, we read your note?"  Well services like EmailOracle want to end that mystery.

EmailOracle is a tracking plugin for your Gmail (hopefully other email clients in the future) that will let you find out if someone has read your email, how many times and can even keep track until they do.  Many folks don't realize that when they get email newsletters that are sent by companies like Constant Contact and Mailchimp - the senders are already getting this type of information about whether you are opening and responding to their emails. 

Check out how easy EmailOracle is to use:

EmailOracle is, like most web services, following the freemium model. There’s a base, free service which will let you track up to 20 emails per month - but you can't hide the EmailOracle logo when you use this service.  You can upgrade as well to get the option to suppress the logo in your emails and to get more trackable emails.  The upgrade options range form $9.95 USD a month to $99.95 USD a month.

There are other choices out there that do what EmailOracle does - it is not a new idea. ReadNotify, can actually dig in quite deep and gives you more information than EmailOracle. However, the plugin crashed for me and I have seen similar comments from other users - though if you are seriously interested (I did not find it as easy to use as EmailOracle) in tracking email it is worth looking at.  There’s also a service called GetNotify that can do a lot of the same functions as EmailOracle but with fewer bells and whistles.

Unfortunately, none of these services are 100 percent accurate do the nuances of the Internet.  These same limitations apply to the commercial services like Vertical Response, Constant Contact and Mailchimp. All these services work by placing a graphic image - it could be a near-invisible 1px by 1px tracking image or it could be a company logo image - into your email.  When this image is displayed, a message is sent back to the source, like EmailOracle, and that is how they track the open rate and tell you who has read your emails.

One of the limitations is that the tracking won’t work if you send to one of the many accounts where images are not shown by default.  Also utilities like ad blocking software might limit the display of these images. If the image is not displayed - then you will not know if the email was opened. 

For these reasons, EmailOracle can tell you that a mail "was opened" or that it "might have been opened."  To date nobody has a service that tells you "the email has NOT been opened."

But still, if you are curious about people reading your email, this is a free service that is easy to add to Gmail and perhaps you can surprise a few readers.  "Hey, I saw you just opened my last email - what are your thoughts, will you be able to reply soon?

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