Privacy-focused internet company DuckDuckGo is expanding into email with a free service designed to stop companies from tracking your inbox.
Email Protection sees your emails forwarded through DuckDuckGo first so nested tracking technology can be removed before arriving in your inbox.
“Ever open an email and see a related ad about it soon thereafter? Yup, blame email trackers,” DuckDuckGo said in a blog post.
“This data about you is usually sent direct to third parties, most likely without your consent.”
Marketing distribution platforms like Mailchimp offer granular data about email campaigns including who has opened the emails, at what time, where, with what device, and if any the recipients clicked on embedded links.
For organisations that send electronic marketing material, those metrics are useful for gauging a campaign’s effectiveness and learning more about their target audience.
But DuckDuckGo – which passed the milestone of 100 million daily searches on its search engine earlier this year – thinks emails, like browsing and search activity, should be a private affair.
It aims to achieve this by giving you a new email address (ending in @duck.com) which you can give out when signing up for other websites and services.
This Duck email address will be configured to forward any emails to your existing daily-driver email address – like Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo – but with all the marketing trackers removed.
We believe reading email should be a private activity. 70% of emails contain creepy trackers & can detect when you opened a message, where you were, & what device you were using!— DuckDuckGo (@DuckDuckGo) July 20, 2021
Email Protection helps block these trackers so you can read your email with peace of mind. pic.twitter.com/OsFOyIFuKn
“We believe the content of your emails is none of our business, so DuckDuckGo will never save your emails for this service,” the company said. “We don't need to!”
“When we receive an email, we immediately remove trackers from it and then forward it to you, never saving it on our systems.”
Along with email forwarding, DuckDuckGo will also yet you use private duck addresses when prompted to sign up on sites that look like they will probably spam or pass on your email address.
These are one-off, unique addresses that make it harder for marketers to connect you and your interests, similar to Apple’s Hide My Email feature.
Currently, Duck emails are in beta and can be accessed by downloading its app on iOS or Google Play.