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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Don't BCC Me!

Several times a week I receive email that has been sent to a rather large group of parents ... all of us are copied in the "bcc" field of the email.  BCC stands for "Blind Carbon Copy" - a throw back to when we actually used carbon paper to copy all correspondence (yes, I'm actually old enough to remember that!).

The idea behind using the BCC field is that no one else can "see" who is on the list.  Well that's not really true.  In fact, with very little effort, I can see every name and email address that is receiving the same email.  In gmail (which I love) all I have to do is ask it to show me the original of the email and I get the full list.  In Outlook, it's as easy as "view source."  I mean really, it's extremely easy to find out if and who has been "secretly" tagged to receive the email.

Some people may say that it's no big deal but I personally consider it an invasion of privacy.  Here's why:
Just like I can see those addresses, so can everyone else.  The intentions of the other recipients may not be as respectful as mine.  For example, on a similar list with parents of the gym where my daughter cheered I suddenly began receiving solicitation emails from the woman who sold jewelry through catalogs and home shows.  There was no "unsubscribe" option but a check of the source (as above) and I found she had BCC'd every single parent on my daughter's team along with the rest of the gym.  Why did she think it was okay to suddenly start sending me email to buy jewelry, I had never requested this information from her.  Now my email address was spread to even more people I didn't know.  I also got insurance solicitations in the same manner.

To me, when you give someone an email address it's like giving them your private cell phone number, you only give it out when it's okay for someone to call you.  If a telemarketer got a hold of your cell number and shared it you would be pretty upset.

The best thing to do is use a broadcast email service! Everyone's email is private and the message still goes out. As a bonus, you can see who received, opened and clicked in the email so you'll know that your large group is on board.

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, Teajai. I use a broadcast email service for my business communications. I never thought to use it for personal emails, as well.


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