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What Is Email Tracking and How to Prevent It?

With the rapid development of e-commerce, marketing commissioners and salesmen are learning to use more digital tools to track their business data. Email tracking is one of the most common ways to value the promote result. However, email tracking can sometimes be annoying and even dangerous.




How does email tracking work? In general, the sender will hide a static content such as a small 1x1 image in the body of the mail being sent. When you receive and open the email, your browser will send a HTTP GET request to get the image from its host server, which will in turn leave some fingerprints on the server in form of the access logs, so that the senders can parse it to find out if and when the email has been opened or how many times it has been read.

Email tracking can be convenient for business use, for it allows people to see which costumer is valuable to follow up with. But it is also annoying because your information including the location and online fingerprints will leak to the companies without your knowledge. They will retarget you and send you promotions continuously if they think you are interested according to the trace data. What is worse, they may track your location or get your personal contact info with just an email address. If the email tracking is from a hacker, things will be extremely dangerous.


So for your online safety, how can you stop email tracking? Here are some ways.

Firstly, you can disable image loading in your email by changing the settings on your email service. For example, you can find an option called ‘Ask before displaying external images’ on Gmail following the steps below:




Secondly, you can go one step further to install a browser extension to check for email trackers, which will notify when they detect that you have opened an email with tracking pixels and block it. But you should note that the browser extensions will require access to your inbox and may access your emails.

Finally, you can use a VPN to stop your IP from being tracked. Imagine that you open the email after enabling X-VPN and choose a remote server, the email trackers will not be able to accurately know your location because you have temporarily changed your IP.


Email tracking technology can be a double-edged sword. You can use it to collect essential data for your business, but if you are worried about your information creeping out, take actions to ensure your online privacy as soon as possible.


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