Yesterday I went to a website to see what they offered in home meal deliveries. I didn’t set up an account. I didn’t request a quote. Just looked around the site.
15 minutes later there was an email from the company in my Inbox.
This was done with pixel tracking. While I was on the site, a piece of code gathered my information and added it to the company’s database.
Emails from Service Providers like Constant Contact and MailChimp use pixel tracking. That’s how they know who opened an email or clicked on a link in the email.
Facebook ads and Amazon.com use pixel tracking. Any search on Amazon will result in plenty of ads popping up on your browser offering the same or similar items.
So it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s helpful. But you should have control over who is gathering information.
First line of defense – Turn off image downloading. (Instructions here.) The pixels are hidden in graphics. If you don’t download the graphics, you can’t get a pixel tracker. You can always choose to download graphics in an email from a safe source.
You can gain additional control by installing extensions in Gmail or other email softwares to block the tracking. I’ve installed PixelBlock in my Gmail. Another option is Ugly Mail. Each software is going to be a little different. Google “pixel trackers in Yahoo” or something similar to see how your provider handles them.