Mass emails and the BCC field

Hi there,

You’re probably here because I sent you a link to this page in response to an Email from you in which my address was included with lots of others in the To: or Cc: field of your Email.

If you already know all this stuff and just made a mistake – sorry for wasting your time. If you know all this stuff and think you disagree with me, please read on and see if my take on it is useful! Also, feel free to contact me.

I get quite a few Emails which are sent to lots and lots of people. Quite frequently I can see all the addresses (and sometimes names) of the recipients because they are in the To: or Cc: field of the Email. It also means that all the other recipients can see the Email addresses of all the other recipients. This also means that a virus (some are able to reap a harvest of these addresses) can see all those addresses. This worries me.

My question to you is:

Are you confident that everyone that you sent the email to is happy for you to share their Email address with everyone else on the list, many of whom they may not know — remembering that the viruses may be able to exploit the shared information too?

The Solution:

Use the BCC: (Blind Carbon Copy) field for addressing your mass mailings.

If you put all your addresses in the BCC: field then none of the recipients can see who any of the recipients are. (They can of course be pretty sure that they were one of the recipients since they received the message!)

If you do have a legitimate reason to share these addresses then that is, of course, fair enough! If people don’t need to know the email addreses (or you’re not sure that everybody would be happy to have them shared) you could just include a circulation list of name at the end of the email.

Sometimes your email client will not show you the BCC: field, in which case you may need to look in the view menu to try and tell it to show the BCC: field.

Here is someone else’s explanation of why you should use the BCC field. It has links to some “How To” documents if you need help finding the settings.

If you didn’t know that stuff – I hope that helps. If you did – I hope your reading hasn’t been a waste of time.

David Jeanneret