Never Ever Ever Send Emails Like This

The screenshot is difficult to see, but basically its the TO line being maxed out. This happens periodically, and for me twice this week, so I thought it would be a great time to remind everyone. Program owner or not, this is not acceptable. Essentially everyone see’s everyone’s email address. I’ll go over why it’s bad first, and then how to not send emails that way after.

It Increases Spam

I received a peice of spam from someone once.  I seemed to recognize the address but couldn’t remember where. I did a search and sure enough I found it in an email sent by Hacker Safe a year before. This email was from an affiliate manager who sent out an email to all the affiliates. Me and the spam originator were both in the TO field. I would have canceled my HackerSafe account but shortly after this person no longer worked for them. Whether or not that was the reason, I’m not sure.

It Increases Viruses

This is similar to the spam area above. Although spam some people may do themselves, typically viruses will scan your emails for other email addresses. Nothing like finding an email with a few hundred victims.

It’s a Violation of Privacy

We will not sell, share, or rent personal information to others.” Yeah that’s worded somehow in pretty much every Terms of Service/Privacy Policy. Accident or not, violating the privacy policy is a huge deal. If slip ups happen where it can be prevented sooo easily, then I wonder where else they are happening.

Average Joes: How to Prevent It

It’s simple. Put the email addresses in the BCC field. You’ll usually have to put your own email in the TO field, but the rest can go in BCC. In Gmail you just click the “Add BCC” link and bingo their’s the box!

Program Owners: How to Prevent It

Never Ever (repeat 10xs) send out mass emails with your email client. This is just setting yourself up for failure. Use a system like Aweber or have a script developed that sends out the emails individually. I recommend Aweber 200%!

What to do when it happens to you

Well I’m not really sure there is much you can do when a website breaks their privacy policy with you. I drop the program immediately and prepare for an increase in spam. What do you do?

9 thoughts to “Never Ever Ever Send Emails Like This”

  1. Tim,
    I am going to copy and paste this blogpost as is with all credits to you due to some digg,facebook,etc issues right now.
    My blogspot username is daddy2004.
    One thing that can be an irritant is whenever someone sends out a promo e-mail or does a forwarding of something but does in as a bulk(grouping) e-mail.
    Every sees the others addresses and can spam them all crazy. Not good.
    Thanks my friend for the heads up.

  2. Good post Tim.

    We send a minimum of one email per day (Monday through Friday) to all of our customers,
    we have been soooooo very, very careful not to use the CC or TO box. One way we avoid this is to proof ALL your work (not only for spelling and grammar) before you send it.

    We receive these emails and it looks extremely unprofessional, gaudy and though some know they are being sent an email in a group listing, it is amazing how many still view the email (blast) as targeted and personal to them…until they begin receiving TO: blast, which of course … well you said it all.

  3. Excellent post, Tim

    I have been doing BCC for a couple of years now. I try to tell everyone I know to use BCC. It’s amazing how many people don’t use BCC

    The other thing that I do, when I forward emails, I also go back through the forwarded email before I send it and take out (delete) all personal email addresses listed. The reason I do this is because anyone you forward the email to can see all of these personal emails and possibly use them as to spam also. I know that I have gotten emails from people I didn’t know because of this before I started deleting all of the other personal emails.
    This is a great tip to pass on.


  4. Thanks tim, I have never used the bcc before sending mails out individualy from my outlook address book, you just saved me a great deal of time.

    graham | Tips4-u.coms lastest blog post..Traffic for your site, tips to get you started

  5. People make mistakes, we’re human and sadly that’s a part of being human.
    To say “Drop a program” the first time someone makes a mistake is being a little harsh.
    I find it hard to believe that you Tim have never made any mistakes in your climb to the top of the “program” lists.
    I agree you should never send an email that way, and yes it is a breach of the “privacy policy” BUT it can just be a simple mistake and I do NOT feel an TE owner should be judged based on ONE mistake the’ve made.
    If you’re going to base a TE on making mistakes a lot of you TE owners are going to be out of buisness as I am sure MANY of you have made a mistake at some point in your careers.
    Your words were cold and harsh Tim and I know who you were targeting.
    SHE is my Mother, and like every other human on this planet sometimes makes a mistake. It is a mistake she is going to have to live with, and regret for a long time.
    But she should not be persecuted for the whole world to see.

  6. This is a big help and heads up to many Tim, I answer this question weekly to friends about what the BCC is. Thanks for the post, it will indeed be an eye opener for those who didn’t know :) Brilliant.

  7. this is really, really weird you guys.
    And no… not every script has a built in admin mailer. And not every TE script does either. Not every TE script is written by what, a certain 2-3 people in the same little group of TE owners.
    From my experience with all types of scripts alot of programmers leave out the admin section because too lazy, the script is less than 500 dollars…
    And if they do have an admin area available, they hold it hostage and jack up the price – to make extra. Thats why I taught myself to program my own stuff. Not everyone has a surprise $200 extra for an admin area script thats worth 20 bucks, and not everyone can grasp php to do it themselves. When someone has to work around their budget – like I had too for my first few years – you then go to working with what you do have.
    and so…things happen.
    And when someone only can do the primitive… which is rare… such as BBC or CC, gees, especially when it was an accident and that very person sent out an email right afterwards about their accident?
    Obviously it wasnt on purpose – you cant even make money off doing that. As for breach…. there is a difference of: accident and intentional showing their email to others.
    This isnt banking or a VISA database of credit card numbers people…believe me – your email address is getting stolen, breached and sold already 100 times over every year.
    so relax.

  8. I’m 100% with Tim on this one. Having been an Internet user since 1991 I’ve seen apathy create this enormous spam problem that we all deal with. This is a good example of that apathy. How would you feel if a department store sent out 20,000 catalogs and included everyones address or phone number on the envelope. That would be considered a major breach of trust and invasion of privacy.

    Ignorance is no excuse just as it wouldn’t be an excuse if you broadcast anyones personal information on any other media. As far as I’m concerned, my email address is personal information and anyone who broadcasts it without my consent is doing me a major dis-service regardless of whether it was ‘an honest mistake’ or not.

    Garys lastest blog post..WHM – Recompiling Apache With Sensible Defaults

  9. gary – You agree with what?
    that it shouldn’t be done? —the person already knew that and that was my point and she sent another email right afterwards—
    Accident and ignorance are two different things. you see, I happen to be on her list and on tims.
    relax…. if you want to teach – then do it – don’t use website owners who are trying hard to make it online. Pick a scammer and use them. At least I dont see her name posted here though.
    Even “ignorant” citibank corp slipped out something REAL major, a million email addresses, credit card numbers, home addresses last year to whoever it was and I was one of those people on that list. Stuff happens. But I guess that is alot of life experience talking.

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