Yesware has been around for a while, but this free email plugin for businesses seemed to get noticed early in 2013. It provides a few things like templates and Customer Relationship Management integration, but it main attraction seems to be email tracking. A great asset to marketing Yesware can tell you if the email you sent has been opened and where the receiving party was at the time they opened it. You even get to know the links the email’s receiver has clicked on and type of device (mobile, personal computer … etc.) that they used to open it. The interface is about as good as you could hope for, so you just have to click on a tab if you want to tack an email, then a pop up alert notifies you whenever the email is opened. When you want to know where it was read you get a global map view with little icons showing where the recipients opened your message.
Though this last feature may be unreliable. Versions 2.0.90 of Yesware accurately reported if an email was opened, but would sometimes falsely claim the recipient was somewhere in Mountain View California. Additionally it could mistakenly report that the recipient opened the mail when it was actually the sender reopening something already sent. This makes for confusing information, but the issues appear to be abating.
But if the information is accurate the marketer has a great way on knowing what works well and what doesn’t. Some emails are read while the individual is out of the office; some are opened more than once. Are they opened more than once because they are two long? Or the recipient is considering the contents? Do people skim over emails while out of the office only to return to the relevant ones when back behind the desk? Some emails are opened the minute they are sent, so I know when the person is online. Though this is self –evident interpreting some data, like why they open more than once, or why they ignore some data, can be troublesome. And there’s always the question of whether something opened has actually been read.
The downside is that people may not want to be tracked. Or the double standard where we want to track others for business purposes, but don’t like our own email being tracked for other reasons. It seems the recipients won’t know if they are being tracked, but an opt-out-of-tracking option might be a good idea for a mail service. But even this provides information of a sort, knowing how the recipient feels about privacy and marketing.
At least one source points out that this is all older technology. Virus hackers could do this years ago.