DidTheyReadIt? doesn't actually work, and may contribute to your e-mails not getting through. 

I finally got around to testing DidTheyReadIt?, which was mentioned in Charles Bermant's column in The Seattle Times. I had been skeptical before, but I figured I couldn't go wrong with a free trial (even if they sell my e-mail, it can hardly increase the amount of spam I get).

A I expected, it flat out didn't work.

I sent a message to two of my e-mail accounts, which run on different servers. Also, as it happens, I use two different e-mail clients (Eudora and Apple's Mail) to connect to them.

I read both messages, and then checked the web site to see if they had been read. Neither was.

The problem, which I had suspected in the first place, is that they include a 1-pixel image in the message. But in order to reduce the effectiveness of spam, I have both mail clients set not to load images. (If I were running Windows, I would be doing this to reduce the chance of getting a virus, since some of them spread via viewing JPEGs.)

To make matters worse, the spam filtering on one of the accounts marked my test message as spam -- probably because it contained a 1-pixel image, beloved of spammers (since they like knowing their spam was received, if only to learn that they have a valid e-mail address).

So I conclude that DidTheyReadIt? is at best useless (since you have no way of knowing if the recipient has truly opened the message), and at worst harmful (since using it may mark your messages as spam-like).

On the plus side, it was easy to use, and it did at least let me know that the spam-flagged message DIDN'T get read... 

Posted: Sun - December 5, 2004 at 12:33 PM