In a given month I sent out over 100,000 emails to my website subscribers using a home-brewed email system. Meaning I don’t use the big players like ConstantContact.
When I send my emails out, and they are received at the receiving end, yahoo.com for example, could their virus check technically cause the email to show in my statistics as being “read”? The way I currently know if an email has been opened by the recipient is if the company logo loads inside the email.
Using that definition of read, then yes - virus scanners on the receiving end can download the image to see if it contains something malicious before showing it to the user.
That’s a different definition of “read” then the OP is using. You’re talking about read receipts, which is something different (and you probably don’t want in commercial emails, because they’re quite annoying).
Given the nature of email I can very well imagine that things are scanned just in time, i.e., just before the e-mail is opened. This to prevent scanning millions of things that are in a mailbox that’s been abandoned and nobody reads anymore, thus wasting CPU power on absolutely nothing.
True, in that case it would be pretty much the same. Thing is, we don’t know and can’t know how this is actually being done for any given email provider, which is why I said “I can very well imagine” rather than “I know for a fact” - because I don’t.