Have they read it?
July 23, 2012 3:37 PM   Subscribe

For the life of me, I can't find where Thunderbird keeps track of whether or not an email I've sent has been read. Yes, I get read receipts, but I remember in Outlook, I could check to see who read a particular message. Is this available in Thunderbird? And if not, is there an add-on that does it? The one Mozilla suggests is way old, and won't work with the current version. Thanks.
posted by gman to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
In short, there is no way to track whether someone has read a given email. Whatever Outlook is doing is client specific and most likely does not work with other clients.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:44 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Whoops. Sorry, I misread your question. It looks like you're asking for a way to easily display the results of return receipts.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:52 PM on July 23, 2012

I think you are looking for an option that was Exchange specific in Outlook. It only worked if you and the recipient were both using Exchange servers, and only worked reliably if you were both on the same Exchange server. It's not going to work in Thunderbird because Thunderbird communicates with Exchange servers via IMAP or POP and not Microsoft's proprietary protocol.
posted by COD at 4:20 PM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: COD: I think you are looking for an option that was Exchange specific in Outlook.

Hmmmmm... we don't use Exchange at my company. It was merely a record/list of who read a particular email, all in one place. It was called the Tracking Tab, I believe.
posted by gman at 4:29 PM on July 23, 2012

Any enterprise email suite (server & client) will track email within its own system. I can see who opened my birthday party invite if they're in my company's system. However, once the email leaves MomCorp, Inc, I can't see a darn thing.
posted by Mom at 9:00 PM on July 23, 2012

"Mom" has it right. If you're using certain e-mail systems at work (Exchange would be the typical setup, if your company uses Outlook on the computers), you may be able to track e-mail sent within your company. Other than that, no reliable method of tracking exists. You can request a return receipt, but many e-mail clients don't send them, and for those that do, they can always be turned off. I always switch my return receipt settings to "never send". I find return receipts intrusive.

Some marketing emails or advanced tracking software may try to track e-mails by placing images inside them and having the image load using a personalized URL so you can tell who looked at it. However, that's why most e-mail programs don't show images by default these days.

In short, what you're looking for likely does not exist, since there is no reliable way to track external e-mail, and very few companies use Thunderbird internally.
posted by Vorteks at 12:27 PM on July 24, 2012

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