Back in the Blackberry heyday, its messaging service was a huge source of contention since there was no way to opt out of letting the sender know you read their text. It led to a lot of awkward conversations — "So uh, I see you saw my note and ignored it" — but that mostly melted away with Blackberry's stock.
Until today, when Upworthy sent a pretty passive-aggressive email with a subject line referencing the boom box scene in "Say Anything" — just to, you know, let you know that they know that you've been deleting their emails.
"This Is The Email Equivalent Of Us, Standing In Your Yard, Holding A Boom Box Over Our Head" is smarmy as hell:
Oh wow! You're here.
We were just starting to think you'd lost interest in receiving these emails.
(Or, you know, that you were trapped under something very heavy in your apartment for a while and couldn't reach your inbox. We get it.)
The point is, you're not going to want to miss any more of these. Because that would mean you wouldn't get to see stuff like this news anchor totally destroying her rude bully on the air.
[Which, side note, I did, more than a year ago, when Neetzan posted it.]
Anyway. Open tracking isn't a new thing, and it isn't going away — despite new changes to how Gmail delivers your images (you no longer have to "enable images"), marketers will still be able to track whether you've opened the email, and certainly to tell whether you've clicked anything inside of it.
But the smarmy emails? Upworthy is certainly growing, and its headlines are even more contagious right now than the material it's actually trying to make viral. So why send emails aimed basically to let potential visitors know they're being monitored?