Originally Posted By: ecrofutt
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
I started getting a sudden increase in the amount of junk e-mail I received. I found out why and wanted to share the knowledge with y’all.
I hadn't done anything recently that should have resulted in the flood, but it was happening anyway.
Now, I have figured out why. Junk e-mailers are using a web beacon that lets them know when I preview or read or display on my screen their junk mail. That goes back to them and validates my e-mail address as a live address that they can continue to send more e-mail to and sell the address.
I was using outlook express. When I highlighted the message in my preveiw pane to delete it, it downloaded the web beacon and reported my address as "live".
I found out about this when I upgraded to Outlook 2003. Outlook 2003 automatically blocks the download of the web beacon. I'm sure other programs also have a way to stop this reporting back to the sender.
Here's what Outlook has to say about it.
Messages in HTML format often include pictures or sounds. Sometimes these pictures or sounds are not included in the message itself but are instead downloaded from a Web server when the e-mail message is opened or previewed. This is typically done by legitimate senders to avoid sending extra-large messages. However, junk e-mail senders have used this capability to their advantage by including something called a "Web beacon" in these messages. A Web beacon notifies the Web server when you read or preview the message, validating the e-mail address and often resulting in more junk messages being sent to you.
To help protect your privacy and combat Web beacons, Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 is configured by default to not automatically download pictures and other content from the Internet when you display a message in Outlook. If an e-mail message tries to connect unannounced to a Web server on the Internet, Outlook blocks that connection until you decide to view the content. However, e-mail messages from or to e-mail addresses or domain names on the Safe Senders (Safe Senders List: A list of domain names and e-mail addresses that you want to receive messages from. E-mail addresses in Contacts and in the Global Address Book are included in this list by default.) and Safe Recipients (Safe Recipients List: A list of mailing lists or other subscription domain names and e-mail addresses that you belong to and want to receive messages from. Messages sent to these addresses will not be treated as junk e-mail.) Lists are treated as exceptions and the blocked content will be downloaded. This feature can also help you to avoid viewing potentially offensive material (for external content linked to the message), and, if you are on a low-bandwidth connection, to decide whether an image warrants the time and bandwidth to download it.