educational

Monitor Your Email!

Stephen Yagielowicz

E-mail: it is arguably the most important of Web marketing tools, and is found at the heart of nearly every e-commerce operation. Playing such a vital role in the potential success or failure of so many enterprises, it is amazing to me how so many Webmasters take its reliability as a means of business communication for granted; assuming that every e-mail they send is received, read, and responded to.

I can tell you from personal experience that not every one of the e-mails I send is received by its intended recipient – nor have I received every e-mail sent to me. Whether due to network issues, over-aggressive SPAM filtering, or simply being lost in the sea of messages which flood my inbox on a constant basis (which leads to me mistakenly fat-fingering the big red “X” as I wade through my daily digital deluge), “sometimes shit gets lost in the mail…”

The Problem
My current concern about the subject is three-fold: First, as a “telecommuter,” my ability to stay in touch with my co-workers is a daily necessity. Second, as I am getting ready to move again (and set up a nice new office), I find myself both backing-up, as well as analyzing the efficacy of, my current systems – and looking for ways to improve everything from my Internet connectivity to my ability to monitor server stats – since I will likely migrate much of my laptop’s duties to a new desktop computer, and I hate to include any ‘outdated’ or ineffectual software in such a move. And lastly, I just discovered a new folder in my laptop’s “MS Outlook” ‘inbox’ that contains a ton of mysterious, unseen e-mails – all of which I am sure that their authors assumed I have seen…

Could some of MY many e-mails be similarly languishing in an unnoticed ‘mystery’ folder, or have fallen through the cracks in Cyberspace? Would I even know? Probably not – and neither would YOU know if (when?) this happens to you! Sure, I’ve hit the “Request Read Receipt” button, and set “Priority” flags on many of my most important e-mails, but just as I don’t respond to every receipt request, I am certain that other busy Webmasters have not sent me a receipt for mail they have read – whatever their reason for not doing so may be. Is there a solution to the inherent uncertainty involved when sending my ‘vital’ business communications via e-mail?

A Solution
Leave it to my beautiful wife Dawn to (once again) discover a solution to my problems, and one (which if actually implemented) will only cost me either $2 or $3 a month (depending upon the choice of basic options). Welcome to MailTracking.com – a service designed to offer “a uniquely reliable and feature rich set of facilities to improve everyday email.”

An advanced remote software package that can be easily installed on an existing mail server or alternatively implemented as a stand-alone solution, the service is also offered through MailTracking’s secure facilities and accessible through a simple change to your mail server or e-mail client’s settings. Claiming a high degree of reliability, and the ability to function with a wide array of e-mail servers and client software, the MailTracking system utilizes secure, digitally time-stamped certificates to reveal the exact time and date that your e-mail was received – and read.

Additional notification options include how long it was read for, who read it, the approximate physical location of the reader, whether or not your email was forwarded to someone else (and sometimes who to), what kind of computer was used to read it, what file formats the reader can accept (ie: PDF files or MS Office documents), whether or not (and if so, where) your email has been published on the Internet, as well as reports on a host of other tracking mechanisms.

Want to retract a message you’ve already sent to someone? This software can handle it. Have a need for “Self-Destructing Email?” MailTracking lets you specify how long the reader has before your e-mail disappears, and can prevent marking, copying, pasting, printing, and forwarding, etc., helping to keep your sensitive communications more secure. As if all of this power and flexibility wasn’t enough to justify the $24 a year basic service subscription cost, the URL tracking option alerts you to if and when hyperlinks in your e-mails are clicked! And speaking of alerts, they are available via e-mail, SMS, ICQ, pager, as well as online!

While it may seem that I am sold on this technology, the proof (as they say) “is in the pudding” – or in this case, “in the putting” – as in “putting the free trial version through its paces to see if it will really work for me…” Given the importance of maintaining reliable e-mail communications, do I – or YOU – really have a choice, but to give it a try? Good luck! ~ Stephen

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