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Free Gmail plugin lets you see if your emails are being tracked before you open them

Email Tracking

Marketers are getting more and more crafty each day, constantly coming up with new ways to woo clients with tools they claim will increase their sales. This is obviously especially true online, where new software tools are constantly being developed with the goal of slapping companies’ messages in front of your eyeballs as quickly and efficiently as possible, and then monitoring the success of each campaign as closely as possible.

One particular tool marketers use all the time is email tracking, which helps companies measure how successful email campaigns are by automatically — and without your knowledge — tracking each time you open an email. This, of course, is a huge invasion of privacy.

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Unless you have HTML disabled in your email client, it couldn’t be easier to track whether or not you open an email. The real problem is that the tracking happens behind the scenes, so you have no idea when you’re being tracked and when you’re free to open an email without having to worry about some company knowing about it instantly.

…until now.

Ugly Email is a free Chrome browser extension that works on the Gmail website, and it serves one purpose: To let you know when an email is being tracked before you open it.

Using the extension couldn’t be easier. Simply download and install it by visiting this link in your Chrome desktop browser. Click the “Add to Chrome” button and follow the on-screen instructions to install the plugin.

That’s it.

Now, while checking your email at Gmail.com, you’ll see a new icon that looks like an eye next to any emails that will be tracked the moment you open them. Here’s what the icon looks like:

If you see that icon and you don’t want to sender to know the instant you open the email, just delete the message.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.