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The email Waiting Game
Use this email tracking software to see if your email is being read.
email tracking software

How long do you wait to respond to your email?

One of my favorite things to do is to write back to people immediately, minutes after I read their message. It surprises (and pleases) most people quite a bit. Now I can't do it with every email I receive - sometimes I'm away from my office, sometimes I'm too busy and sometimes I just procrastinate.

Realistically, I try and respond to all my email within a day, or at least by the next morning. I always try and put myself in the sender's place. Although their email may not be a high priority to me, since they took the time to click on my email link and send me a message, it is obviously important to them.

Of course, there is no email rule book. We are all on the honor system. The other day my wife asked me if was ok to respond to an email she received a month and a half previously. I would be embarrassed. She may as well just write to the person," You are so unimportant that I have blown you off for 6 weeks, but here is your answer..."

How would that make you feel?

I think one of the most frustrating things about email is the waiting. Not just the waiting, but the "not knowing." You have virtually no way of knowing if the person you wrote to even received your message. Was it blocked by the spam filters, or are you just being ignored?

Wouldn't it be nice to know when they received your message, when they opened it and what they did with it? You can utilize this feature with everyday emails, email marketing strategies and much more.

I found an email tracking software company, ReadNotify.com, that takes the "not knowing" part out of the email equation. I read through all their extensive FAQ's and tested it. I sent an email to my wife and am secretly tracking how long it takes her to read it.

Tracking your emails with ReadNotify is really pretty easy. All you have to do is add readnotify.com to the end of your recipients email address. (They'll never see it) Your email is then directed to pass through their server, where they assign it a tracking code, "strip off" the .readnotify.com part and send it on to your recipient. When they open your email, the assigned tracking code sends their server a message and they report the details to you.

ReadNotify.com doesn't use any kind of spyware or install anything onto your recipients computer in order to track emails. They promise not to read your email or send any spam.

Just using their basic tracking feature, you can...

  • track the date and time your email was opened, and how many times it was opened and even how long they spent reading it!
  • track the location of your recipient. (including a map)
  • track your recipients IP address.
  • track to see if your email was forwarded, or opened on a different computer, including their email address.
  • track your links. If you include any links in your email, they can track whether or not your recipient clicked on them.
  • track MS Word or Excel documents. You can find out if your co-workers are reading your attachments.

Unfortunately, they can't track deleted emails. If someone has deleted your email without opening it, you will just see a "not yet read" status indefinitely. At least you will know they have never seen your message.

Now if you want to incorporate even more control over your email tracking, you can have your messages stored on their servers. You have to send your email in the form of a link, but then you can "digitally sign" your email and insert a timestamp certificate. This certificate irrevocably links the body and headers of your email to the date and time they were dispatched - and may be offered as court admissible evidence if required.

You can retract your emails in case you realize you've made a mistake. (Yes, you can get them back!) You can even have your emails self-destruct after a certain time period, or if your recipient tries to copy, print or forward them. Cool.

This is not a free service, but of course you can try it for free. The basic service costs $4 a month for 350 emails. (unused emails do not expire; they accumulate indefinitely)

This software won't make those procrastinators respond to you any quicker, but it will give you some peace of mind in "knowing" that someone has at least read your message.