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  1.    #1  
    I was at a sales seminar a couple of days ago and the speaker mentioned an email tracking service. Now this has special meaning to me as I am in sales, but I thought it was cool enough to mention here. I have pasted a couple things from their website just to get the verbage right.

    It's called Readnotify.com and for a low annual charge you can track all the emails you send. $36 bucks for a year, for the premium, $24 for basic.

    ReadNotify will endeavour to provide the following in your tracking reports:

    * Date and time opened
    * Location of recipient (per their ISP city /town)
    * Map of location (available on paid subscriptions)
    * Recipients IP address
    * Apparent email address of opening (if available)
    * Referrer details (ie; if accessed via web mail etc)
    * URL clicks
    * How long the email was read for
    * How many times your email was opened
    * If your email was forwarded, or opened on a different computer

    Note: ReadNotify.com does not use any kind of 'spy ware' to track emails.

    It also has options for destroying a sent email so you can change your mind before someone reads what you've sent. more features...

    There are lots of great features available to you - these include the following sending options:Readnotify.com

    * Certified email
    * Ensured-Receipts and retractable emails
    * Invisible tracking
    * Self-Destructing emails
    * Block printing
    * Track MS Word or Excel documents

    You can also choose how to receive your receipts:

    * In your Personal Tracking Page (when you log in)
    * Email ReadNotifications
    * Legal Proof-of-Opening receipts
    * Delivery Service Notifications (DSN's)
    * SMS alert on your cell-phone or pager
    * Instant Messenger

    There is a trial that gives you 25 test emails to send and track and it works really well. Nice to be able to see when some one opens an email, especially when they tell you they never got it. (happens a lot in sales)

    Anyway I signed up for it and thought some folks here might think it was cool.

    Readnotify.com

    For those who care, I have signed up as an affiliate with these guys so if you sign up from the link here I'll make a couple bucks. If you dont want to do that, fine but check it out. Great way to insure your email got there.
    Last edited by Woof; 05/19/2004 at 10:49 AM.
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  2.    #2  
    Lots of views but no comments. I'm interested in what people think of this.
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  3. pabo's Avatar
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    #3  
    very interesting premise, but all it takes is the readnotify server to end up on a blackhole list and all your email will be blocked at the recipient's server. All you can really do is confirm that an emial has been delivered to the recipient's server, beyond that, anything else can be blocked or thwarted.

    nothing beats face time in sales....
  4.    #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by pabo
    very interesting premise, but all it takes is the readnotify server to end up on a blackhole list and all your email will be blocked at the recipient's server. All you can really do is confirm that an emial has been delivered to the recipient's server, beyond that, anything else can be blocked or thwarted.
    Asking the readnotify team about this and what happens if they do get blacklisted. For what it's worth the service doesnt confirm delivery to the server unless you ask for that. Actually opening the email is what triggers the response. As far as being blocked or thwarted, I'd like you to explain that. Since there is no visible tracking to the recipient of your mail how would they know to block the service. Unless you set it up to ask for a return reciept like outlook does, how would they even know mail is being tracked?

    nothing beats face time in sales....
    wow thanks for that. I'm sure it will help my sales knowing this.....
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  5. pabo's Avatar
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    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by Woof
    ...wow thanks for that. I'm sure it will help my sales knowing this.....
    I hope you were being sarcastic

    I looked at their website, and it indicates that you send an email and it goes across their server before getting to the recipient. If I understand this correctly, the email looks like it came from you (you@yourdomain.com) but is in reality coming from readnotify.com. THis means the ip address of their server is attached to the email header. a quick search of the header info shows that while the email looks like it came from yourdoamin.com, it actually came from readnotify.com. This is how some folks id spam, ie, it is not really coming from where you think it is coming from. A good IT admin gets this reported and the readnotify.com ip addresses are blacklisted or blocked at the server (at least this is how I would do it).

    I manage a website for our church. folks were getting spam with viruses that looked as if it were coming from webmaster@mychurch.org and I was getting a lot of nasty replies. I looked at the headers to get the real sender's ip address, went to samspade.org, found the host for the originating ip addresses and asked them to shut down the offending server or I would be forced to go to the Attorney General. they had it resolved in a day.

    this is a good concept, it seems to me that it would take very little effort by the receivers to completely shut down the premise. does it seem reasonable that an it director would want info going back out of their company with no one really knowing ??
  6.    #6  
    Ya I was being sarcastic.

    Dude I never said it was perfect. Most people dont have a problem responding to a return request. And really how many people deal with an "IT admin"?
    does it seem reasonable that an it director would want info going back out of their company with no one really knowing ??
    Besides many companies use the return request option, why would they have a problem if someone did it to them? I mean does the IT guy read all they out going mail so nothing inappropriate gets sent out without his knowledge?

    And it seems it would be very important to readnotify to keep their ip's of the blacklists so they are going to monitor all this very closely.

    You come across as just a tad paranoid about the whole email thing. You do have the option of turning it off if you think youre being blocked. Nothing is perfect, but it sure seems like it would be useful alot of the time. And if you dont think so, don't use it.

    I have been using it for about five days now and no one has complained to me. I even had an email that didnt show as read but was replied to. Clearly this isn't hurting anyone.
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by pabo
    very interesting premise, but all it takes is the readnotify server to end up on a blackhole list and all your email will be blocked at the recipient's server. All you can really do is confirm that an emial has been delivered to the recipient's server, beyond that, anything else can be blocked or thwarted.
    In response to this comment I sent an email to tech support. Here is what I sent and their reply.

    "I sent a link to your service to an aquaintence and the is part of his response. "very interesting premise, but all it takes is the readnotify server to end up on a blackhole list and all your email will be blocked at the recipient's server." Would you care to comment on this? Can you please tell me if he is right?

    Thanks"

    Here is the reply I received from Tracy in the tech support department.

    Hello again Jason,

    'Blacklisting' is only for spam sources. We do not send unsolicited mail, nor do we allow our service to be used for unsolicited mailing (which is why we limit the amount of emails you can send each year / month).

    So, in short - your friend is wrong :-P

    - Tracy.

    Personally it's not something I am worried about.
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  8. pabo's Avatar
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    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by Woof
    So, in short - your friend is wrong :-P
    I guess I've been told.

    Blacklisting is not necessarily confined to folks who send spam, but then again, she must be right because sales people NEVER shade the truth in their favor....

    You like it - use it, enjoy it, have fun with it, make a million bucks with it.

    In sales, nothing beats face time......
  9.    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by pabo
    I guess I've been told.

    Blacklisting is not necessarily confined to folks who send spam, but then again, she must be right because sales people NEVER shade the truth in their favor....

    You like it - use it, enjoy it, have fun with it, make a million bucks with it.

    In sales, nothing beats face time......
    Ok fine, Pabo is smarter than everyone, especially me.

    For what it's worth, 1. I dont use this to solicit customers. That's spam. I use it to make sure the people on my team that I regularly email aren't trying to get away with the old excuse "I never got your email". It is also handy to know when a client that has requested info from me has read their mail. I can usually call them or stop by shortly after I am notified they read it and follow up while my info is still fresh in their mind. But then I am probably wasting my time because Pabo knows more about sales.

    2. Tracy is not in the sales department at Readnotify. She is in the technical support area and I emailed her about this because she helped me with a tracking issue I had early on and I figured she could give me a straight answer. I know better than to ask the sales department.


    Chick in reply to your question. The service emails or sends an sms to you when someone reads your mail. This is invaluable to me and with the treo, just keeps me that much more informed. It may not be for everyone, but I thought it was cool.

    Please dont try it for yourself, listen to Pabo cause he knows it all and just ignore this thread altogether. Nothing good could come of this because someone once spoofed his church's email and sent spam, so all email related services and products are bad.
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  10. pabo's Avatar
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    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by Woof
    Please dont try it for yourself, listen to Pabo cause he knows it all and just ignore this thread altogether. Nothing good could come of this because someone once spoofed his church's email and sent spam, so all email related services and products are bad.
    holy crap, grow up Woof. How do you make it past day one if you are in sales and can't take a little criticism. I never said it was bad, I actually said it was an interesting premise. I also said that if you like, use it - I couldn't care less. YOU were the one who asked for comments, and when mine don't meet your expectations, you slam me ??

    For wht it's worth, you don't have to be a spammer to be impacted by "blacklisting".
  11. pabo's Avatar
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    #11  
    never mind

    I think this is a great idea, and everyone should sign up for it right away or at least check it out.
  12.    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by pabo
    holy crap, grow up Woof. How do you make it past day one if you are in sales and can't take a little criticism. I never said it was bad, I actually said it was an interesting premise. I also said that if you like, use it - I couldn't care less. YOU were the one who asked for comments, and when mine don't meet your expectations, you slam me ??

    For wht it's worth, you don't have to be a spammer to be impacted by "blacklisting".
    Damn I had a response all typed out for you and the you go and post the next one. Ruin my fun.

    All I was looking to do was share an idea and get people looking at it. I'll admit I kinda started this little pissing match when I called you paranoid. Sorry for that.

    Pabo I noticed the site samspade.org in one of your posts. Assuming it's an antispam tool. (their site is kinda flaky) Can you share some info about it?

    I'll try to be more civil with my responses.
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  13. #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by Woof
    Note: ReadNotify.com does not use any kind of 'spy ware' to track emails.
    I fail to understand how ReadNotify knows that an email has been opened UNLESS they are using some sort of "spyware". I define spyware as a program that sends out information without my knowledge.

    Once an email has been downloaded from my ISP's server to my PC and I drop the connection (assuming I am on dialup), how would RN know whether I've opened that email unless the next time I connect there is "something" that is sent back to them?

    And how is this different from requesting a Read Receipt on each of the emails that are sent out?
  14. pabo's Avatar
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    #14  
    no prob....

    apparently, there are a lot of things you can research there - all I've used it for is to track down an ip address. as i understand it, it is pretty hard to mask the ip address an email comes from. if you look at the email header, then enter the ip address it originated from into the ipwhois at sampade, it will tell you who hosts the email server that sent the email. then you can bug the hosting company about the spam.
  15.    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by pabo
    no prob....

    apparently, there are a lot of things you can research there - all I've used it for is to track down an ip address. as i understand it, it is pretty hard to mask the ip address an email comes from. if you look at the email header, then enter the ip address it originated from into the ipwhois at sampade, it will tell you who hosts the email server that sent the email. then you can bug the hosting company about the spam.
    Cool, I'll be bookmarking that one.
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  16.    #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by Texas T
    I fail to understand how ReadNotify knows that an email has been opened UNLESS they are using some sort of "spyware". I define spyware as a program that sends out information without my knowledge.

    Once an email has been downloaded from my ISP's server to my PC and I drop the connection (assuming I am on dialup), how would RN know whether I've opened that email unless the next time I connect there is "something" that is sent back to them?

    And how is this different from requesting a Read Receipt on each of the emails that are sent out?

    Good questions. I'll share what I know. Hopefully other will do the same.

    I think Spyware is software loaded on your machine unbeknownst to you that collects info and returns it to a specific source for marketing or nefarious purposes. While the email tracking is in a sense doing that, nothing is loaded on your pc to accomplish this. It's part of the email.
    As far as disconnecting, I can only assume the way you have, but again it is email specific and only sending notification that a mail has been opened.

    The difference from Return Receipt is, I am told, a question of reliability. You can also make readnotify completely visible to the recipient if you choose.
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  17. #17  
    I think that the whole idea behind "Read Notify" is interesting and brings up all sorts of questions. There are some people that can't stand the idea that they are being tracked in any way. On the other hand, calling "Read Notify" spyware is a little misleading (web cookies also provide quite a bit of information and we don't typically think of that as spyware).

    I don't think you are going to have a major problem with being blacklisted (although this is within the realm of possibility), but I do think that you may run into a problem with the e-mail you send through "read notify." The problem I forsee is that the e-mail that you send through "read notify" is much more likey to be labeled "spam" by e-mail clients/webmail.

    I will just focus on two possible senarios, you send mail to a person with hotmail or mail clients/webmail that use spam assassin. If you send something like this to someone that uses hotmail, more than likely, it will be funnled into a "junkmail" folder. Now this may or may not be a problem as many of the people you send this to may not be using web based e-mail like hotmail. A larger problem might be cleints that use spam assassin and the like for spam filtering. When spam assassin catches the "web bugs," "html images" and "relaying frames," it's going to give the e-mail a markedly higher spam score. This in turn, may mean that your clients don't see the e-mail.

    Anyway, just thought I would throw that out there to add to the discussion.


    Quote Originally Posted by Woof
    Lots of views but no comments. I'm interested in what people think of this.
  18.    #18  
    Excellent point paulsjmail. I have already run into a situation with MSN. One setting allows you to retract an email if you change your mind. MSN wont display this at all. It will work fine with normal tracking though. I havent heard from any of my group about any other issues but if it comes up...

    My email uses spam assassin and I am not having any issues with the readnotify stuff from another member in my sales group that uses the service
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by Woof
    ReadNotify will endeavour to provide the following in your tracking reports:

    * Date and time opened
    * Location of recipient (per their ISP city /town)
    * Map of location (available on paid subscriptions)
    * Recipients IP address
    * Apparent email address of opening (if available)
    * Referrer details (ie; if accessed via web mail etc)
    * URL clicks
    * How long the email was read for
    * How many times your email was opened
    * If your email was forwarded, or opened on a different computer
    You can't get any of that information via standard mail protocols. They can get most of that information the same way spammers do: via embedded HTML img links. They would be able to get "URL clicks" via rewriting of URLs you included in the message to route through their web server first. It is impossible to get "How long the email was read for" (unless they are including onclose javascript code in the HTML". They would have to use javascript to attempt to get the "Apparent email address of opening".

    All of the above requires the mail to be HTML, and as I already mentioned all of the above is typical of spammers.

    Note: ReadNotify.com does not use any kind of 'spy ware' to track emails.
    I would say it easily qualifies as e-mail spyware (i.e. uses HTML img link tracking, uses javascript scrpting for tracking).

    It also has options for destroying a sent email so you can change your mind before someone reads what you've sent. more features...
    It is impossible to do this once the e-mail has left the readnotify mail server without the destination mail server supporting proprietary mail protocols (i.e Microsoft Exchange).

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