There’s a lot of marketing emails that almost everyone receives every day. However, what may some not know is that most of those emails are being tracked. Yes! No matter how scary it sounds, it’s the truth. It gathers all the data from how many times you opened the message, your local time, and even what city you are in. This alone sends chills down the spine. And you know what the surprising thing is? It collects all this information whether you respond to the email or not. With the best internet offers available, the spread of such emails has increased rapidly.
According to a report by One More Company, 40.6% of all emails were tracked in 2017. The report also stated that 85% of the emails received by consumers were marketing materials, and approximately 99% of them were tracked by the companies who sent them. Also, the alarming data shows 45% of email tracking was for conversational exchanges. These figures are shocking!
How do Companies Send Tracking Emails?
After learning about the figures, you must be curious about how companies send such tracking emails. The answer is pixel tracking! As soon as you open a message, an HTML code generates an instruction, telling people to download a 1 x 1-pixel image. This is what creates a connection between the email recipient’s device and the pixel image’s server. Moreover, you can find this pixel in hyperlinks or special fonts, as well. Whenever a user opens his/her email, this nearly invisible image collects and sends some specific information to the pixel tracking server. This contains details like the type of device the receiver is using along with the time, operating system, and the number of times the email was opened.
Another thing that the companies can do with pixel is to track your physical location. How? Well, the pixel when downloaded can know what your IP address is. It is a unique digital number that corresponds to your location. If you used a desktop or a MAC to open the email, then the tracker will have your location. Whereas, if you opened the email on a mobile phone then someone could use the cell tower triangulation to locate you.
How to Stop Email Tracking?
Now that you realize the constant breach of privacy in your inbox, you must wonder how to avoid this data invasion. While the trackers are getting more sophisticated and easily accessible, thankfully, there are some easy solutions to avoid this sticky situation. There are both manual and automatic detection methods of email tracking routes you can take. Let’s have a look at what you can do.
#1. Avoid Downloading External Images
Marketing companies track emails via external images. Therefore, all popular email service providers like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook allow the users to have default settings that block external image download. Blocking automatic image downloads on your emails help you to disable the email tracking.
#2. Don’t Follow Unknown Links
You must avoid shady emails that ask you to follow a link to reveal the whole message. Do not click on email links until and unless you know that it is from a trusted sender. Most of these links are a ploy to track emails and may also contain malware.
#3. Investigate the Email Address
So, mostly the emails you receive through third-party tracking software, contain some sort of web URL or an email address other than the primary sender’s details. This indicates that the sender is trying to track your email. To detect all addresses for email tracking on Gmail, choose the ‘show original’ option from the expanded menu. This will reveal to you the sender’s, and the receiver’s address details. However, if you find irrelevant URLs and third-party addresses then it simply is a tracking email.
#4. Use Chrome Extentions
Although the above-mentioned manual methods are helpful in email tracking, they aren’t quite efficient. With so many emails popping in your inbox, manual methods are time consuming and inefficient. The automatic detection of email tracking is easier and efficient. If you are a Gmail and Chrome browser user then all you have to do is install the Chrome extensions such as Ugly Email and Pixel Block. These extensions detect & block the email tracking as soon as such messages pop into your inbox.
Emails for subscription and product promotions such as the best TV choice or sale on refrigerators might seem quite random to you. However, email tracking is a modern-day ugly truth that is a breach of data putting you at a safety risk. Therefore, the tracked email data in the wrong hands is a disaster waiting to happen. This article will help you rectify the privacy invasion happening in your inbox.