How to email to many people, without hurting them!
Sending to many
Sometimes we may want to send mail to many people
at once. We can put many addresses in the "To:"
and/or "Cc:" fields, like this:
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Cc: [email protected], [email protected], ...
But — Don't do this!
Everyone can see the addresses —
this is very damaging to everyone on the
* violation of privacy !
* computer viruses !
* spamming !
It is the same as if you sent 100 people to all those people's rooms.
Each with knives and guns. I know it doesn't seem that way,
but believe me, it is. Just don't do it.
(The Gory Details are
Then, how to send to multiple people?
Do this way:
All of the below can send email to many people, without
showing their addresses to everyone.
They are listed from easiest, to more complicated (and more powerful).
Bcc (blind copy):
You can send to multiple people just as easily
by sending a "blind copy" (Bcc:) to many people.
To find it:
Start to compose your mail.
Look for a field labeled "Bcc:", or look around the page
for something like "Add Bcc". Or look
in the "Options" or
"Preferences" of your mail program.
Then who should i make the email "To:"?
I usually put my own email address in the "To:", since i want to get a copy of the mail anyway.
But, for the name, i will put something that will describe the group of people — so they don't get too confused. So i might put like this:
To: TibGeeks web team <[email protected]>
Also, your email program probably has a feature to make
something like a "group" or "contact list".
To find it:
Check the menus and help for your email program (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, ...)
Google Groups and Yahoo Groups:
These are useful if you are often sending to a large group.
The only trouble with them is, that as far as i know,
all the members have to have a Google/Yahoo email address.
To find it:
If you have a website, you probably have mail lists.
A mail list is very useful if you have many people you
send to again and again. With it you can keep track of the
addresses, and have archives of your messages, and more.
To find it:
Check your control panel (cPanel) under the "Mail" section.
The best and most useful mail list program is "mailman".
Read more about it at
The Gory Details!
Here's the damage:
People can see and use other's addresses. This violates
Some people only give their main address to
people they want to have it.
They may have yahoo or gmail addresses
that they give to other people.
Often people don't notice there are multiple
addresses, and reply thinking they are replying
only to you — but many people get the reply.
In the worst case, one may accidentally send a very
private communication to all these other people!
There might be people on the list
who would rather not be public.
Maybe they don't want other people to know about
their interest in your organisation or whatever
the email happens to be about.
Now, when any one of the member of this list
has a computer virus, that virus, and more,
will be sent to EVERY member of the list!
Because the viruses grab
addresses from the person's incoming email.
Also, with a computer virus, each person will
get more spam, because some of these viruses
grab addresses from the person's email and send
them to spammers.
I used to get about 10 spams a day.
Three months ago, i got several emails from different
people with many many addresses in the Cc: lines.
My spams rose rapidly, and i now have to clean out
over 100 spams a day!
(Yes i do have a spam filter ... but any spam filter
may put a good email in the spam box.
So i have to scan through the headers to check for
mail that i might want.)
Don't take my word for it! There are a lot of web pages
about it, with more useful information:
Is there ever a good time to use that Cc: line?
So now you may be wondering, if it is so damaging,
why do the mail programs even provide multiple To: and Cc:?
Because there are good times to use them.
Among a close group of people, it is nice for the people
to "see" each other, and to know what they are sharing.
Think of it like a meal with your family.
When eating out at some big dinner event, you wouldn't pick
food off other people's plates. But at home ... sure!
Thanks to ...
I know of course you probably don't know these
things or you wouldn't have done it! I didn't
always know these things either.
I used to do this too!
Here's how i learned about it:
Yahel Ben-David, the Security Man, for the details of the damage
that sending-to-many can do, and waking me up to this problem.
The local Tibetans (too many to name!) who are using the different solutions,
and helped me write that info.
All the people (too many to name!) with their good questions, that helped me come up
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copyright © 2003–2010 James Walker.
License for use is the GNU Free Documentation License.
here in the
at the Free Software Foundation,