I'm aware of read receipts in emails, but these mean that the reader has to agree to send back the read receipt.

But with Mailchimp (and perhaps others) they have a dashboard to show you which people in your list opened your email, and also if that email landed in a persons junk box, how is this done, as it doesn't seem to rely on read receipts?

I could image a system were you have a tracking pixel in the email, and you check whether the email tried to call the external tracking pixel from the server, but quite allot of email clients don't load images by default, so i wasn't sure how that could do it?

1 Answer 1


Basically, email providers include a small image with a unique identifier to see if the email was opened or not (if email is opened, the image is called from the server, hence the email was opened).

If the receiver does not load these external images, or if the email is sent (or opened) in plain text and thus no external resources are being loaded, then there is no way to tell if the email was opened or not.

another method also used, is to have all links within the email go through a redirection service (much like bit.ly) and thus the sender is also able to tell if the email was opened (and a link was clicked).

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