'Trackbuster' Service Aims to Strip Tracking Information From Incoming Emails

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Trackbuster is a new service that's designed to remove invisible tracking codes from incoming emails, preventing companies and marketers from tracking information like the time an email was opened, IP address of the recipient, which links were clicked, and more.

Many of the popular email marketing tools on the market include tools for tracking various metrics of emails that are sent out, embedding cookies and web beacons, which are tiny tracking images that let the sender know when an email has been opened. Links or attachments that are clicked within an email are also often tracked using tracking codes.

There are often few options for blocking trackers embedded in emails and these involve feature-limiting functions like removing all images, but Trackbuster plans to change that by working in the background to analyze and remove hidden tracking codes from emails to prevent users from unwittingly sharing information.


Trackbuster is currently in beta and limited to Gmail and email accounts managed via Google Apps. The Trackbuster service can be connected to a Gmail account, where it scans for specific tracking strings. According to the team behind Trackbuster, the service only scans for codes within email addresses and it does not store, host, or read the content of emails. No data is shared and no data associated with the email is kept by Trackbuster.

After an email account is connected to Trackbuster, the service will analyze the last 100 emails received and all new emails going forward. Incoming emails with tracking codes are filtered into a [Bustedbox] folder, the code is removed, an [Untracked] label is added to the email and it goes into a dedicated [Untracked] folder.

Because it works by connecting directly to a Gmail or Google Apps account, Trackbuster works in web browsers and with any mail software on any device, from Macs to iOS devices.

Trackbuster will be available today in a closed beta for a limited number of beta testers, who can sign up on the Trackbuster website. The company plans to continue adding additional beta testers throughout the summer.

Article Link: 'Trackbuster' Service Aims to Strip Tracking Information From Incoming Emails
 

Albright

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2011
120
178
That looks like a great product. I hope it becomes available for those of us who use standard IMAP mail hosts. Removing these sorts of trackers from mail hosted by Gmail is a step, but, well, if you're expecting privacy while your mail is hosted by Gmail, you've already lost.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,668
5,570
That looks like a great product. I hope it becomes available for those of us who use standard IMAP mail hosts. Removing these sorts of trackers from mail hosted by Gmail is a step, but, well, if you're expecting privacy while your mail is hosted by Gmail, you've already lost.
There is is. An Anti Google email and you managed it in post 1. BRAVO!!
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,891
4,701
Let's flip this. Occasionally I would like to know whether a sent e-mail has been received and read. Rather than fending off other people's trackers, I'd like a piece of software that would permit me to add my own.
You are totally right. This is an amazing idea and I will do this right now. I've made email browsers before - this would be pretty trivial to implement, I think.

I'll probably throw something together in Python/Tkinter this weekend. It'll require that there be a dedicated server for read receipts to be sent to... I can set that up on my own personal server for now.
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,212
1,164
so if not gmail, what do you guys use for email, besides a personal mail server?
It's the best way. Domain is $8-12/yr. Not expensive.
Hosting varies, I've seen it as inexpensive as $4/mo for email and more webhosting tools than you can hope to utilize. There might even be an email only service somewhere even less expensive.

Doesn't change when you change ISP. You aren't sheep, to be indexed by an advertising company.

edit: late edit.
Hover.com
.com is 15/yr (private registration included, and 2way auth) and fancy email is $20/yr... or $2.91/mo
And you have personal control of your information. The prime spot where all your password resets go, your bills go, etc.

Take control for yourself.
 
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ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
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Between the coasts
Let's flip this. Occasionally I would like to know whether a sent e-mail has been received and read. Rather than fending off other people's trackers, I'd like a piece of software that would permit me to add my own.
Of course, you'd be "outed" by anyone using this service. ;-)

so if not gmail, what do you guys use for email, besides a personal mail server?
Yahoo, Hotmail/MSN/Outlook.com, iCloud, AOL (those are the other pre-configured IMAP profiles in iOS and OS X Mail).
 
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6836838

Suspended
Jul 18, 2011
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Or you could use any Apple mail app and turn off the downloading of all content. I guess this is a step further though.
 
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iMerik

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2011
603
444
Upper Midwest
Thanks! I'm going to try that out.

Let's flip this. Occasionally I would like to know whether a sent e-mail has been received and read. Rather than fending off other people's trackers, I'd like a piece of software that would permit me to add my own.
Also, for those wishing they could add tracking to your emails, the Trackbuster website says, "Browser Extensions: Simple extensions or plug-ins added to your browsers enable anyone to add a tracker to an email in a click. Just search “email tracking” in your favorite browser extension gallery to find out," so it seems possible to do exactly what you want.
 

Blackforge

macrumors 6502
Mar 8, 2008
269
13
so if not gmail, what do you guys use for email, besides a personal mail server?
I have my own domain(s) and use Office 365 Business Essentials (without the Office applications). $60/year/user

Includes things like a 50GB mailbox & 50GB archive mailbox per user and 1TB of OneDrive for Business. Also includes Skype for Business, SharePoint Online, etc. You can create as many "shared mailboxes" as you want if you want to additional email storage or separate addresses from you main mailbox, distribution groups, etc. You can also point your domain to Microsoft's DNS servers as the server of authority and it will automatically manage the Office 365 pieces within DNS.
 

Deelron

macrumors regular
Jan 30, 2009
234
113
I wouldn't be surprised to see this purchased by Google in the not too distant future.
 

dredlew

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2014
87
116
Paranoia is running rampant apparently. You knowingly open an advertisement email, why should that not be tracked? This is vital information for a business in order to most efficiently advertise a product or service. It makes the business better for the consumer. Just because you are not interested in something, doesn’t mean that others are too. This is what tracking is for, to determine interest/demand.

If you don’t want to be tracked, just delete the email without opening it.
 

allpar

macrumors 6502
May 20, 2002
313
64
Fastmail.com is a highly rated service. I use it for secondary mail.
 

misteroo

macrumors newbie
Aug 22, 2010
5
0
tel aviv
Paranoia is running rampant apparently. You knowingly open an advertisement email, why should that not be tracked? This is vital information for a business in order to most efficiently advertise a product or service. It makes the business better for the consumer. Just because you are not interested in something, doesn’t mean that others are too. This is what tracking is for, to determine interest/demand.

If you don’t want to be tracked, just delete the email without opening it.
well that is the point. it s not just businesses but also people who do it without permission thanks to a fluke of solutions that are mostly free to use on the market....
 

definitive

macrumors 68000
Aug 4, 2008
1,977
727
saw the word "scans", but not "free" ... i think i'm gonna skip this one for the time being.
 

Albright

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2011
120
178
so if not gmail, what do you guys use for email, besides a personal mail server?
I'm using Zoho currently, and have also used Rackspace in the past. Zoho is more affordable (they even have a free tier if you don't need much space), though Rackspace's spam blocking was more effective.
 

Alenore

macrumors 6502
Apr 7, 2013
423
426
Sometimes i wonder if people realize that by blocking ads and tracking, all they'll achieve is getting worse content because not targetted at them, instead of getting rid of ads.

If the target audience is harder to reach, then it'll cost more to get your message to people. Thus increasing costs for the company.
And we all know what it means for the consumer.
 

misteroo

macrumors newbie
Aug 22, 2010
5
0
tel aviv
Sometimes i wonder if people realize that by blocking ads and tracking, all they'll achieve is getting worse content because not targetted at them, instead of getting rid of ads.

If the target audience is harder to reach, then it'll cost more to get your message to people. Thus increasing costs for the company.
And we all know what it means for the consumer.
unfortunately that is not just ads. and that is the problem. it's also people or companies tracking individuals
 

jmbaker

macrumors newbie
Nov 20, 2014
11
6
Just a quick warning... I signed up for this to test this out earlier today after reading the article. It seemed to work pretty well and do what it said. About a half hour ago, almost all of my mail ever (going back to 2005) was suddenly archived, except for about 38 items. Doesn't seem to be destructive, definitely forcing my hand toward Inbox Zero. I've sent a message to support and have already heard something back from them, so at least they're responsive. We'll see how it goes.
 
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