Learn About Email Delivery Receipt

Proving Your Emails Were Received and Opened

••• Gregor Schuster / Getty Images

What do you do when you receive an email, and that box pops up asking you to indicate that you've received and/or read it? I almost always delete them. I have had reasonable results from clients if I explain to them at the beginning of a transaction that I would appreciate the return of the receipt so that I'm sure they received their documents.

However, many still do not, for whatever reason. They may not get the popup, or they may not want to acknowledge receipt of the document until they've had a chance to open the attachment and actually read it. So, how do I reassure my paranoid side when it comes to liability down the road for proof of document delivery? Or, if a deadline is involved, how can I prove without a doubt to the other broker that I delivered on time?

I'm researching services for this, and the first I've found that is working for me is ReadNotify.com. It has a plugin to work with MS Outlook, Thunderbird, and other email clients. There is even a way to integrate it automatically with HotMail and Yahoo Mail. Unfortunately, I use Gmail, and there's nothing yet. Our Email Guide has written a review of ReadNotify.

However, it just adds a few seconds to my email addressing time to add ".readnotify.com" to the end of the recipient's address, as in "theirname@theirsite.com.readnotify.com." They don't see this addition, nor is there any noticeable change in the message.

However, ReadNotify.com takes it from there. It separately tracks the email and each attachment. When it is received and opened, I receive an email with confirmation, and it is on my account at their site as well. It shows date and time of receipt, as well as a map of the indicated IP where received.

As this is seamless to my client, this is the approach I like. There is no inconvenience for them, and they don't have to wonder why I don't trust them to let me know they received something. I just file the confirmation emails with the transaction emails and it becomes part of my permanent transaction email history file.

I'll be checking on other services that can work this way for a real estate professional. You should be concerned about delivery proof when working with documents in a transaction. The inability to prove delivery in a tight and important deadline situation could be a liability issue.

Update: ReadNotify is still in business and still a value as a service to prove receipt of emails. However, if you want to tie your proof system into your CRM or Transaction Management, you could try Streak. Streak works inside Gmail to provide excellent CRM and transaction management capability. One of the features is also a notification that your emails were received and opened.

I've written here about Streak as an amazing totally integrated tool in Gmail. I'm always searching for ways to minimize my work (lazy that way) and combine services and products to get the job done with less hassle. Give Streak a look for your email delivery proof.