Edo the Reliable

Posts Tagged ‘Outlook’

The Better Email Receipt Confirmation

In Email, Tools on July 20, 2004 at 8:16 am

Modified from the original post in the Gate 3 WorkClub blog

Was the resume you emailed ever opened and read? Was deleted, or was it excitedly circulated to a whole department within minutes? One never knows. Oh, how I wish for a “receipt confirmation” feature for email.

I know Microsoft Outlook offers a “Receipt Confirmation” feature, but it only works if the other party agrees to it – kinda defeats the purpose. If USPS “Receipt Confirmation” worked that way, I doubt people would find it useful. I would much prefer to have some remote vision into my email, like this:


Looks futuristic? Only because email itself is so outdated. Receipt Confirmation is but one of several glaringly missing features in Internet email service. Historically, email was an not a part of the basic Internet project, but an afterthought (explains Clay Shirky), a hack upon hack. A product development scandal to some, it’s an opportunity to others.

The screenshot above shows a real service available from  ReadNotify.com, one amongst a number of firms offering a sort of add-on registered email service.  I like their simplicity and their pricing at $3.99 a month. here’s how it works: after signing up for their free trial, add “.readnotify.com” to the end of your emails to make them registered (add-ons are avilable to makie this easier for you). For example, instead of sending email to user@host.com, I email user@host.com.readnotify.com. The new suffix is deleted by ReadNotify and is not seen by the mail addressee.

What happens next is interesting to some, and unsettling to others. Once the mail has been opened by the recipient, ReadNotify sends you an email informing you of the fact. But unlike registered USPS mail, ReadNotify’s tracking doesn’t stop there.

If you keep watching your ReadNotify online management center, you can track how many times your email was viewed, by how many users, and where in the world. This is a little Big Brother – so I don’t know if I want to use that regularly on my friends, co-workers and clients. However, I do see how this would come in very handy when, for example, I send a proposal, a quote or a job application — or a legal document.

I do wonder about the ethics involved. Any thoughts? In any case, if you do decide to use the premium, paid version of the ReadNotify service, use the promotion code “workclub” when prompted to get somewhat better terms.

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