Email-tracking companies offer the service of email tracking to their clients, promising them more effective consumer relations. By using these 3rd party services, the sender will know the following:
1. When and where you’ve opened their email.
2. What device you used to open the email.
3. Whether or not you clicked on any links within that email and/or opened any attachments.
All without you, the consumer, ever knowing about this.
Needless to say, the 3rd party company, too, will have your information. Yesware, Bananatag, Hubspot, and Streak are the names of just some of the popular email-tracking companies.
There are a few main methods of detecting an email that is being tracked. Let’s start with manual detection.
1. Look for hidden images. Your email, be it Google, Yahoo or Outlook, will always ask if it should open an external image or not because there might be a trackable image. Just decline this request and you will disable tracking for that email.
2. Don’t click on links in your email that you don’t absolutely trust. This is a general rule for email use, but it also works for tracking concerns.
3. Look for additional email addresses. Look for hidden senders by looking at the original of the email. In Gmail, it’s done by clicking on More (3 dots) and selecting show original and searching for the keyword “track” on the page by clicking Ctrl and F and typing the word “track” in the search box. If you see a result, your email has likely been tracked.
You can also detect and disable a tracked email automatically by using a dedicated app, such as Ugly Email, PixelBlock, or similar that scan your inbox for tracked emails and disable the tracking.
These apps are plugins that you install on your browser. They, too, have their limitations, as they are mostly compatible only for Gmail and can be installed only to Chrome or Firefox. That is why we recommend a combination of both methods to protect yourself fully from trackers.