How to Block Trackers in Incoming Emails in Gmail
Email trackers are commonly used in newsletters sent using a newsletter service to let senders know when you’ve opened their emails. With the help of a Chrome extension, that tracking can be blocked — to a certain extent.
How Does Email Tracking Work?
Email tracking is usually done using an invisible 1 x 1 pixel image included in the email. The tracker lets the sender know if the email has been opened, and can often relay information about your device, location, and which links you click.
While this information can be useful to content marketers, allowing them to improve their content based on their audience’s interests, it is still being done without the recipient’s consent, and in many cases, awareness.
How to Block Email Trackers in Chrome
Gmail users can identify emails that include trackers by installing the Chrome extension Ugly Email. After you install the extension, refresh your Gmail inbox, and any email that contains a tracker in it will be identified with a small eye icon.
Ugly Email is able to identify invisible 1 x 1 pixel images that act as trackers, and Ugly Email blocks that tracker so you can open your email without your information being relayed to the sender. That feature does come at a price: it requires read/write permission on Chrome, but promises not to store, transfer, transmit or save any of your data. You have to decide what is more important to you.
According to Ugly Email, emails sent using MailChimp, Boomerang, TinyLetter, and more will be blocked.
PixelBlock is another similar Chrome extension you can use alongside Ugly Email to cover all your bases, but if you prefer not to install another extension, you could at least change your email settings, by preventing images from automatically downloading in your messages. But remember, this, like any other method, won’t be completely foolproof.
To prevent images from automatically downloading in Gmail, go to Settings > General and scroll down to images and make sure Ask before displaying external images is checked.
Which of these methods would you use to block trackers? Or is it something that just doesn’t bother you? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Joe the Goat Farmer via Flickr
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