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Is this possible... Web Site knows I'm there?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Obi Wan, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Obi Wan

    Obi Wan

    Oct 13, 2007
    'Round the bend...
    Just had something weird happen...

    My morning email had two emails from a recruiter for a specific position in this area... a 6 Month Contract job. Not being familiar with the recruiter's company, and wondering about his (East) Indian name, I wanted to make sure it was a legitimate email so I went to their web site after doing a Google search since I didn't want to trust the link in the email.

    I was on the site for maybe two minutes and closed it out. Just then the phone rang and it's another recruiter from the same company asking me what I thought about the position! Other than the fact I could barely understand her English, despite her being located in Raleigh, NC, I just told her I'd have to study the JD in greater detail.

    My question is... is there any way they could have tracked that I was on their web site? If so, how would they have linked it to me, specifically? They've got my resume from CareerBuilder, and my email address, but I entered nothing into their web site itself.

    Was this just a crazy coincidence... or possibly more?

    Btw, they are also an IT recruiter/outsourcing company... so they do have some IT expertise sitting around, apparently.

    What say ye? :dunno:
  2. gemeinschaft

    gemeinschaft AKA Fluffy316

    Feb 7, 2004
    Houston, TX

    I would be especially weary of companies contacting me like this. They could potentially had a return receipt attached to their e-mail so that they would know when you read your e-mail or a referral link in the e-mail so they would know when you were "referred" to their site.

    Just for fun, shoot me their web address via PM and I will check them out.

    I am very cautious about "Employment Opportunities" and companies that seem eager. If I was the only person who could create a certain widget, it would make more sense, but in general, I am sure you are not the only fish in the sea; if that makes sense.

  3. doktarZues

    doktarZues I'm anti-anti

    Nov 11, 2003
    Brevard County, FL
    I have 12 years working in IT but am far from an expert in this area so take this for what it is (me thinking out loud).

    Due to the exponential growth and acceptable of all things Internet, "Tracking cookies" that pass as par for the course these days would have probably shot up major concern 10 years ago. They can do some seriously creepy stuff with them so it's definitely possible that they could correlate someone visiting a web site if they are running software looking for that and the vistor has the right kind of cookies on their machine. I would say that's very unlikely, though. Sounds like it was probably a coincidence but if it WASN'T, more than likely they were keying off of the e-mail.

    They could be alerted to read receipts and even in cases where read receipts are disabled, the vast majority of e-mail systems will allow clever use of HTML to provide the exact same function (they know if it was delivered to a real address and also if the message has been read).
  4. Obi Wan

    Obi Wan

    Oct 13, 2007
    'Round the bend...
    Vewwwy intewwesting... as ol' Elmer used to say. :whistling:

    I do have receipt notification set for permission only, so there were no overt receipts related to the various emails. The HTML aspect is an interesting one I hadn't thought of.

    I'm positive that I did not click on the web site link in the first email when I read it because my 'yellow flag' was raised even though the email supposedly came from a recruiter via ''. I am naturally cautious over any emails like that until/unless I check them out via another source.

    So there was no way I could think of that the reading of the email and them "knowing" I was on their web site could have been linked... but the coincidence of an immediate follow up phone call, that turns out probably came from India along with the third email from the same recruiter really tickled my pissivity level. I hate high pressure sales people, especially when I can't understand a word they say and have to ask them to repeat everything at least twice.

    All in all, I have no question that it's a legitimate job as I'm familiar with the role and the company... but the fact that I'm only "3/4" qualified for it because of some of the heavy systems' requirements backs me off. Also, since it requires 90-100% travel throughout Mexico, the US and Canada... on as little as two hours notice... and they won't tell me how much the contract job pays... I'm keeping an arm's length for now even though I could use the work.

    If Mexico wasn't involved... and the travel was up to 50%... and the pay made it all worthwhile for just a six month job, I'd strongly consider it, but Mexico isn't on my radar, and neither is being a Road Warrior again in today's travel environment. I have that T-shirt.

    This market's a killer, particularly since so many of the jobs in my field(s) are showing up in places I wouldn't dream of moving to... MA, NY, IL, NJ, CA and TX. All the Libs are leaving the states they screwed up and heading to states they want to screw up. :upeyes:

    Hopefully something more inviting will come along soon.

    Thanks, guys... :cool:
  5. Toyman


    May 6, 2003
    West Michigan
    Although very unlikely, if they had your address from the resume, they could have had a location script on the website that would indicate that you, or someone very close to you had visited the website.

    I've done this before with a new website. I told Chris Pirillo about it, and later looked at my "logs" (Get Clicky) and saw that he visited the site with 3 different computers. I knew it was him because I knew approximately where he lives, and what screen sizes and OS's he's using.

    Someone can also watch in real time (or playback) as someone visits the website, as well as other very cool things, see:

    Now, another possibility is if the email was an HTML email and it had an image embedded in it (visible or not) that was specifically crafted to you. When you view the email, the image is requested from their site and bingo, they now have an IP address associated with you. They then tie that in to what I mentioned above.
  6. Obi Wan

    Obi Wan

    Oct 13, 2007
    'Round the bend...
    Damn... just damn... that's some spooky stuff. I just wish I knew something about how to pull it off myself!

    Edited to add... that is some pretty cool stuff! It's lightyears ahead of the kind of thing we used to do with much more rudimentary tools a number of years back. Thanks for the info! :wavey:
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011