Is it possible to detect if an email newsletter has been forwarded?

Jonathan Duncan jonathan at
Wed Feb 6 14:15:51 MST 2013

I am probably not their target audience, but if I were, they would never know that I opened the message because my client is set to text only.  If their message entices me, I will click a link, if not, it gets deleted.  I am probably not a good use case though.

On 06 Feb 2013, at 14:10, John Shaver wrote:

> I've never worked with these type of emails much before, but if these are
> links they're clicking, couldn't you just save a cookie to their browser to
> tell if they've been there before?  Associate the cookie ID with their link
> ID.  Then if you get multple cookie IDs matching the same link ID, then
> it's probably  a forwarded email, or they opened it from multiple
> computers, or they deleted/didn't save the cookie.
> On Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 1:43 PM, Lonnie Olson <lists at> wrote:
>> In a web request you also have access to the User Agent info.  You can
>> combine this with the IP to get a pretty close approximation to a
>> single user.  Subsequent clicks from different IP and/or User Agent
>> will likely be a different person.  Though not foolproof, it's closer
>> than IP only.
>> On Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 1:10 PM, Ken Snyder <kendsnyder at> wrote:
>>> We have an email newsletter that includes a tracking image, plus each
>> link
>>> contains a hash so that we know which recipients opened the email and who
>>> clicked on what link.
>>> The client is asking if it is possible to detect a) if that newsletter
>> has
>>> been forwarded to someone else, b) if that new recipient opens the email,
>>> and c) if that new recipient clicks on the links.
>>> My only thought is that we could make a loose inference of second-hand
>>> opens and clicks by tracking the IP Address of each open and click. E.g.
>> if
>>> there are two clicks from two different IP Addresses it *could be*
>> another
>>> person.
>>> Is there any other way to detect second-hand opens and clicks?
>>> Thanks,
>>> Ken Snyder
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