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About 2 years ago I came across an online tool that would allow you to append something to the end of a destination email address. When the email was opened, the tool would email you their geographical location. Does anyone know anything about this tool? If it still exists?

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1 Answer 1

I don't know of a particular service that does this, but it would work like this:

  1. A small and perhaps invisible HTML image is added to the email, with a unique identifier appended to the image source's querystring, like <img src="http://example.com/s.gif?recipient=myfriend%40example.org>
  2. For email clients that show images by default, or if the user chooses to "show images" in their email client, there is a "hit" to the image.
  3. The server hosting the image would record the unique identifier. Since this request would be coming directly from the recipients computer, the server could also log their IP Address.
  4. This service would use geolocation to estimate the recipient's location based on their IP address. There are plenty of open-source and commercial ways to go from IP->Location.
  5. You could log in and visual on a map where the hits came from.
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Of course, all sane email clients block remote images exactly because of this. –  grawity May 31 '10 at 18:28
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