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baskor
11-27-2008, 06:03 AM
I'm developing an application that needs to track when email messages are read by users. Do you know how this can be achieved with Dovecot, or other email servers (Cyrus, Courier etc.)?

If I use the maildir format, then I can see if a message is read, by checking if the message is located in the "new" or "cur" folder, or by looking at the Seen flag. But I can't figure out how to see when the message is read.

I thought that if the message was located in the "cur" folder, then I could just look at when the file was last modified to see when it was read/downloaded, but Dovecot changes the last modified field, so that it reflects when the message was received and not when the file was modified :-(

Any help or hints would be greatly appreciated.

webquarry
05-24-2009, 05:37 PM
Probably not. I don't think there exists a standard in the email RFCs that allow for this.

You can do it other ways though.

If you are sending html mail, included a graphic call that is really a link to a counter script. If you get fancy, you can create a unique graphic for each email. That graphic is really just a call to a script that logs the hit and returns a 1x1 pixel gif. If each request is unique, you will see a hit for each time the person opens that email.

nobaloney
05-24-2009, 07:15 PM
Which is exactly what spammers do, to see which email is being read. And that is why I don't open messages from links in email.

Jeff

webquarry
05-24-2009, 09:54 PM
Whether spammers do it or not, it is still a legitimate way of accomplishing what the original poster wanted. And given that we are talking about legitimate mail here and not spam, there is no reason not to use that method to count opens. Just cause spammers use something, doesn't make it evil. Spammers send email. I still send email. (oh the horror...)

Less spammer use it now than in the past since to gather any reliable data it demands that the site that is hosting the counter script remain up and operational for some decent time period (to allow the recipients to receive their mail). The sites usually get closed down shortly after the spam commences. People are pretty good about reporting them.

Dravu
05-25-2009, 12:37 AM
Whether spammers do it or not, it is still a legitimate way of accomplishing what the original poster wanted. And given that we are talking about legitimate mail here and not spam, there is no reason not to use that method to count opens. Just cause spammers use something, doesn't make it evil. Spammers send email. I still send email. (oh the horror...)

Less spammer use it now than in the past since to gather any reliable data it demands that the site that is hosting the counter script remain up and operational for some decent time period (to allow the recipients to receive their mail). The sites usually get closed down shortly after the spam commences. People are pretty good about reporting them.
Just because it's "not evil" doesn't mean it should be done. Many services like GMail disable images by default. When something is said to be popularly used by spammers, that should be a hint to look at what services are doing to block it.

floyd
05-25-2009, 11:42 AM
Forget spammers. I just want my privacy. I don't want anybody to know if I have read an email or not. Many want an immediate response. I might want to take a few days to respond. For me its more of a privacy issue than anything.

But why are we even commenting on something that is 6 months old anyway?