Dear HackCollege,

I’ve sent my professor three emails, and she hasn’t gotten back to me. Is there any way I can find out if she’s ignoring my emails?


Well, Wtf, some desktop email clients will give you the option of requesting a return receipt when the recipient has received the email. See Thunderbird’s Options here. However, the recipient can select “No” when they get this pop-up. Here’s another way: SpyPig.

Nevermind the cutesy pink and blue background colors. The service is legit, but you’ve only got a minute to set it up. For Gmail and Firefox users, continue reading. For all others, read the Limitations and Requirements listed at the site.

Step 1. Compose an email to your professor in Rich Formatting mode.
Or compose an email to yourself to simply try it out. If you don’t see the Rich Formatting Toolbar, click the Rich Formatting link (Click the links for images). Compose your email with To, Subject, and Body.

Step 2. Copy the Subject of this email.
Highlight the entire Subject, right-click, and Copy.

Step 3. Open SpyPig in a New Window.
For Firefox users, hit Ctrl n. This will give you a new Window, not a new Tab. Navigate to

Step 4. Give your email address, Paste Subject, Select image, and Activate.
Upon activation, you’ll see a red number ticking from 59 to 0. This is that minute I was talking about. Click, hold, and Drag the Tracking Image that appears down to your Windows Taskbar and on top of your previous Firefox Window (the window that has your Gmail). This window will Restore. Continue dragging the image onto your email Body and then let go. You should now see an image of a pig (or the white, invisible image) in the Body of your email. Click Send.

If your professor’s email client is set to automatically download images (which may very well be the case), this image will automatically load once they open this email, and SpyPig will notify your email address each time the image has been loaded (up to 5 times). Like any Hit Counter would.

If your professor opens the email a couple of times, you’ll be notified each time. Or if you re-read your Sent email, it will load, and you’ll also be notified.

And… I couldn’t resist: Spider Pig, Spider Pig does whatever a Spider Pig does…

Oink, oink: SpyPig