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Just noticed that all the links in the Newsletter email sent to me contain "nlcode" parameter in the querystring, e.g.

https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/296193/user-card-senses-danger-when-chasing-tricky-edit-tags-runs-for-dear-life?newsletter=1&nlcode=xxxxxx%7cyyyy

Not sure if it's private info so replaced actual details, the format is A|B, where A is some integer (not my user ID here on in the Network profile), and B is probably some hex value.

What is this value and what is it used for?

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  • 1
    Well, tracking of course. I guess Stack Overflow can somehow analyze the effectiveness of their newsletters this way. Hopefully, a developer will come along and provide the details. Of course, the newsletter=1 already provides this, but perhaps the code identifies your particular subscription?
    – Glorfindel Mod
    May 24 '17 at 13:27
  • We could determine if it was private or not by comparing our nlcode's but, unfortunately, I don't actually get the newsletter.
    – Jason C
    May 24 '17 at 13:31
  • @Glorfindel you have MSE newsletter? May 24 '17 at 13:32
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nlcode stands for newsletter code (nl - news-letter) - see how that works?

The code itself allows us to figure out what exact newsletter subscription caused a specific visit to the site.

As surmised by the OP, this allows us to track newsletter effectiveness, performance and to run A/B tests and experiments on those in order to improve them.


As I've been asked about the format - which takes an a|b form - the | is simply a delimiter, the a stands for the subscription id and the b is its HMAC (because we don't trust people and email providers to not mess around with a url... we always verify).

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