Ugly Email

See if an email is being tracked before you open it in Gmail

Ryan Hoover
Sonny T.


most upvoted
Ryan HooverΒ β€” Product Hunt
Yesterday, @percival spoke my mind:

Rational or not, I lose a little trust when receiving a person email from someone tracking opens and clicks. I pay attention to these things. πŸ˜ƒ
Sean PercivalΒ β€” Partner, 500 Startups
@rrhoover I turned off images on every client :( I understand why companies and marketers do this but don't think it's necessary for more casual email conversations from friends/colleagues.
Giordano ContestabileΒ β€” CEO, Bloglovin'
@rrhoover do people really do this? I guess I'm stuck to the old, passive-aggressive, read notification request :)
dunkhippo33Β β€” Partner @ 500Startups
@rrhoover @giordanobc To be fair, I have Signals installed on my Chrome, and it's on for every single email. For those of us who have a sales job, it's really important for our work, which may be a small fraction of the emails we send. To turn it off for the vast majority of emails I send would be impossible -- I would never get anything done.

In contrast, other occupations such as developers and designers don't need this tool to be successful at their jobs. So, do you think it's really fair to judge people just trying to make a living with the skills they have? :)
Ross RojekΒ β€” CTO, GoLocalApps
@percival @rrhoover Being someone who a) has a tracker running by default and b) has had multiple email conversations w Ryan I can only say some of us use tracking for work, and its more of a pain to swap out tracking from one email to the next, than just have it on.

Granted I don't really care about most of the info collected. I need to know if a client or prospective client has opened an email (or a contractor). Someone asks for more info on a project and I send it to them, or I send a list of deliverables I'm waiting on, I need to know when to follow up. I suppose one good options for these email tracking companies would be to let the user (me) white list people so you never have to think about it?

So sorry it looks like I'm tracking you Ryan. I really don't mean to. If only there were better ways to respond to emails. A checkbox that says "I've read this and don't need to reply" or "Favorite" or "On hold" that's also reflected in the sender's email box. Email needs a major overhaul in so many ways.
Tyler HayesΒ β€” Blab
@percival @rrhoover Do you feel the same way with read receipts in iMessage? Read receipts for me make chatting with someone way better.

(And just to head off any trolls with that most common critique: yes, I'm fine if I see someone reads my message but didn't respond.)
Blake RobinsonΒ β€” Worldwide Alliances @ Salesforce
@percival @rrhoover why? We use customer metrics, analytics, etc. to iterate and improve on everything else. Generating data on email is equally useful.
Sonny T.Β β€” Web Developer
@percival @rrhoover The main issue I have with the trackers is the fact that it's hidden in someone else's inbox. You're basically sending a trojan to get info like location, device, iP Address, view count etc.. You can do so much evil.

Yes some people just use it to see read receipts but the recipient never agreed to that or know the fact that they're being watched. On iMessage you have the option to turn it on and off your "read receipts".

Cheers :)
Rodrigo PriorΒ β€” CEO @
@percival @rrhoover Sounds like "I'm desperate for attention" please help my low self esteem and persuasion capacity :S
Thomas K. RunningΒ β€” Nomad, Teleport
@sacbookreviewer I like your idea of selectively turning off tracking. And I guess I'm kind of a hypocrite in this area, as I installed both PixelBlock and when I first saw them here on PH (I no longer use PB though, I don't really care if people track my email opens). But I do think email should have some sort of read receipts (with an option to opt out)
@rrhoover @giordanobc @dunkhippo33 I have Boomrang and it's so helpful ... so yes I am bad I "track" emails :(
Mehmet PerkΒ β€” Idea craftsman, Madde Us
@olivierpailhes @percival @rrhoover @sacbookreviewer When I was in Turkey I had experienced that many people in corporates don't use email at all. Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp is a much more common platform to communicate (even in business). To define, if the receiver is a email guy or a Whatsapp guy I was using those trackers. If my email was not opened and viewed by the receiver I started to switch the platform to communicate. In this case Polymail and Nylas N1 is a great client.
Jeremy CaiΒ β€” founder @OnboardIQ early @Shyp
Realization: sometimes, the easiest way to prompt a reply is to rapidly refresh/open an email they last sent you and set off their email tracker 10 times
Sonny T.Β β€” Web Developer
Hey Guys, I am the author of Ugly Email. I am excited about being on Product Hunt. If you guys have any questions, suggestions or just want to chat. Feel free to @ me :)
LanaΒ β€” Community Manager, Goodbits
@sonnyt What about Mixpanel or Intercom? Will customers get notified by Ugly Email when a business utilizes a tool like that to track customers' lifecycles? Or is it dependent on the tool used to track (only works with Streak, Yeswear, etc.)?
Sonny T.Β β€” Web Developer
@mstopham Hey Lana, nope it's not dependent on any tool. There are so many pixels out there, adding them one by one. Soon I will add a suggestion box on the site so people can help me discover more pixels :)
Mike RowanΒ β€” VP R&D, SendGrid
Fan of not being tracked in general conversation as well. Also, helps identify the posers that try to sell etc non stop.
Sasindu MendisΒ β€” Developer
Is there an alternative for Inbox by Gmail?
Sonny T.Β β€” Web Developer
@sasindumendis didn't get a chance to use Inbox yet. Is it a keeper?
GmeliusΒ β€” Gmelius
@sasindumendis Gmelius for Inbox provides a feature to detect and block pixel trackers in Inbox:
Brett SeylerΒ β€” Developer, Entrepreneur, Investor
Chrome is still pretty pitiful on Macs, especially on high res screens. Safari extension on the horizon?
Sonny T.Β β€” Web Developer
@relyes yep, Safari and FireFox :)
ayemoahΒ β€” Chief of Product, Boomerang
So glad to see this extension being made and getting to the top of PH. We (Boomerang folks) have been wanting to make this. This is a serious and major difference between us (Boomerang) and many of the Gmail extensions out there.

Like many of you, I don't think the sender of an email has a right to know my location and what device I'm opening it on just because he/she sends me an email and I open it. But we also see the need for the sender to know if their email has been read.

We believe this is a request from the sender to the recipient that should be explicit. So we implemented it as read receipts. There is a visible image that explicitly says that the sender requested a read receipt and the recipient is given an option to opt out. We don't report location, device or exact time the email is opened.

We have many pushbacks and complaints from our customers and users for not implementing it as an invisible pixel and allowing the recipients to opt out. We have actually lost customers over this. But we believe that developers should stand by what they believe is ethical. Email is a communication protocol and it should serve both senders and recipients. And we should serve not just the senders who are our users but also respect the recipients who are part of the email ecosystem.

I'm so glad to see someone is building a tool to protect everyone.
Kam Bain βœΒ β€” Founder @Craaave, Growth @BeyondPricing
Love that this exists. Always thought if you can track one way it must be possible reciprocally. Super useful for filtering (especially salespeople).
Nemanja CerovacΒ β€”, Fishingbooker
great extension! Agree that sometimes it's really useful to have tracker for sales/pitch/marketing but more and more people are using it for everyday emails and thats not cool :(
Benjamin YoungΒ β€” CEO, Nexercise Inc.
I'm going to post the counter argument... Email boxes are getting massively overwhelmed. There are more aggressive junk filters, Etc. There's a good chance that emails may get missed - even those Non sales related. I have used email tracking and have had it used against me and I don't see what the concern is. This is not as personal as text read receipts where people actually expect the mode to be more synchronous than asynchronous and get offended... This is like mail and you have a certified slip that someone actually received it...
Sonny T.Β β€” Web Developer
@obenyoung I do agree that sometimes it is good to know that your email is not buried in someone's inbox. However, I believe that there is a line between knowing if the person received your email and knowing recipient's device, location, time and email view count. In my opinion that just violates the recipient's privacy. Just my two cents :)
Mike CoutermarshΒ β€” Code @ Product Hunt
Just installed this. Totally creepy seeing which "friends" were adding tracking. I had no idea.
Nathen McVittieΒ β€” Digital, Leicester City Football Club
MailChimp and Tinyletter will never be the same!
Alejandro CremadesΒ β€” Author and CoFounder of Onevest
Great stuff, Sonny!
Jan WolskiΒ β€” UX Designer at Random
Great product name. I just had to see what it was about.
Tom LimongelloΒ β€” CEO of Truffle
just when we thought we had it solved...
Hank LeberΒ β€” CEO, Vytmn - Growth as a Service
Ha - this is just progress in action. Given the pushback here, soon there will be trackers to see if you're tracking email trackers, etc. ad infinitum.

In all seriousness, I think it's a healthy debate - and all the more reason to reinvent email to be more in line with the actual communications we all want.

FWIW I thought Google Wave was a good try (RIP)...
Pat CheungΒ β€” Founder |
@sonnyt I just tested this with mixmax...doesn't seem to be working with that tracker. I might be missing something though. Cool product!
Steve McGarryΒ β€” Product Grower
Simply turn off images...?
@sonnyt I just installed this and it's marking plaintext emails from my server (that I am pretty sure aren't tracking anything) as tracking.
Sonny T.Β β€” Web Developer
@silvamerica that is very strange, can you please email me? I would love to see what's inside of your email that is causing Ugly Email to go off.
Ouriel OhayonΒ β€” appsfire, CEO/ isai (VC) co-founder
unfortunately won t work where it matters most. mobile
I didn't think it was possible to track emails opened in Gmail anymore?
Just downloaded it, and saw a few emails have been tracked supposedly.

Is there a way to see specifically what the tracker is? How can you tell whether it's just a normal image, like a logo in a signature, or a tracker?
GmeliusΒ β€” Gmelius
Very nice to see this kind of entry/feature supported by the PH community. As a sidenote, I just wanted to highlight that Gmelius ( provides detection and *blocking* of email trackers since April 2014. It is available as a browser extension for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

Moreover, we just launched Gmelius for Inbox a few weeks ago, so feel free to try it. It is available in the Chrome Webstore:
Vincent CassarΒ β€” Vincent at
This looks a bit too similar to ?
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