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When i send an e-mail, and i don't hear back from them in a few days, i wonder if the server is down or if they haven't received the message. So, how about you receive an e-mail from the ISP saying that it reached their srvers, then an e-mail from the client when they open it or delete it without opening it.

[...nothing, it doesn't matter...]

[ sctld ], Mar 03 2001

RFC 1894: Delivery Status Notifications http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1894.txt
Part 1: Baked crispy, though obscure. [egnor, Mar 03 2001]

RFC 2298: Message Disposition Notifications http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2298.txt
Part 2: Also baked crispy. [egnor, Mar 03 2001]

ReadNotify.com http://www.readnotify.com/
Reading RFCs and evaluating MUA features not your cup of tea? You might try this easy-to-use service. Sign up with them, then append ".readnotify.com" to any e-mail address; they'll add all the magic for you as per your configured preferences. They support DSNs, MDNs, and HTML "gif bugs". This is not a free service, and the operation is a little on the sleazy side, but the concept is definitely there. [egnor, Mar 03 2001]

(?) Readnotify test email. Subject "Foo", body "Bar." http://www.panix.co...kery/readnotify.txt
Here's what those messages look like "raw". [jutta, Mar 03 2001]


       Because generally, if the server is down, you get a message saying the server is down. Sending a message out every time a message arrives will double the traffic without any real utility.
StarChaser, Mar 03 2001

       See links.   

       What's your mailer? It may already support this feature.
egnor, Mar 03 2001

       Hotmail tells you that "Your message has been instantly delivered to the following recipients..." immediately after you send it.
nick_n_uit, Mar 03 2001

       Which is a blatant lie, for the most part. I've had it take a week to get to another Hotmail user...
StarChaser, Mar 04 2001

       The "native" Internet e-mail notification mechanism, MDN, requires user permission for a reason - its authors were trying to preserve recipient privacy. As Egnor points out, readnotify.com exploits a generic privacy problem in browsers (you can't load a linked-to image without accessing its server, but doing so gives away that you're rendering the message) to circumvent that. In essence, ReadNotify's users can spy on their recipients without giving them a chance to prevent that (they are told about it - by default, but they are *not* told that a "mail open" event has already been sent by the time they see the request), and smart people who notice this may be slightly miffed, or may play worse games in return.
jutta, Mar 05 2001

       You know, I don't even know about their MDN support. I am supposed to have MDNs turned on in my test account, but all I see is a Return-Receipt-To: header, not the Message-Disposition-To: header that I would expect.   

       What I really want to know is whether they have a funky hacked DNS server that reports attempts to resolve their dynamically generated hostnames (e.g., my test mail just then had links to www.yy4pikj5ra1d31.ReadNotify.com), or whether they're just doing that because they can.
jutta, Mar 05 2001


       They add HTML to the "text/plain" section; yuck. They also add an undecorated URL; I guess they hope you click it. I would expect some explanation before the colon; I wonder why it's missing.   

       The HTML section is a laundry list of tracking techniques. Some of them seem redundant; why load the blank2x2.gif if they're going to load footer.gif anyway? What do they gain from appending escape(self.location) to the URLs they load? (What's self.location for HTML in a typical mailreader?) Why does the CSS they load (presumably to trigger a hit even if image loading is off) actually contain content (which is unused)? And, as you note, what *is* up with those hostnames? Is there any client scenario where a DNS lookup would occur but an actual HTTP request would not?
egnor, Mar 05 2001

       Baked. It is called a Receipt Request.
-----, Mar 02 2005

       Well, no, that's different. A "receipt request" receipt is generated upon a user reading the email not upon the email arriving in the inbox of the destination.
bristolz, Mar 02 2005


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