[conspire] (forw) On methods for sending press releases

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Mar 21 19:40:06 PDT 2011

While I'm on about e-mail.  (People from LUGs who send out announcements
to lots of places, please take note!)

('Renovation' is the name of this year's World Science Fiction
Convention, which will be this August in Reno.  See:
http://www.renovationsf.org/ )

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 19:30:20 -0700
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
To: press at renovationsf.org
Subject: On methods for sending press releases

Hi, good people!  I'm writing in my capacity as BayCon's mail
administrator.  (This is not any type of complaint.  I'm just 
offering some thoughts and suggestions.)

Renovation was grappling, here, with a frequently encountered problem:
How to send out a single mail to a number of unrelated addressees,
without creating collateral damage.  The solution you folks employed was
the 'Bcc' one.  That is, received headers included:

  Received: from mail-qy0-f178.google.com (mail-qy0-f178.google.com
        by harwood.textdrive.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 9D1DE33D4A
        for <info at baycon.org>; Tue, 22 Mar 2011 01:47:21 +0000 (GMT)
  From: Renovation Press <press at renovationsf.org>
  To: press at renovationsf.org

In other words, you sent out (from GMail) a broadcast mail, addressed
directly only to yourself, but with a presumably long CC list stating
the real intended recipients including info at baycon.org .

This is a pretty good solution, and I've used it myself.  It avoids
inadvertently creating a party-line discussion forum if any of the
recipients is dumb enough to reply-all.  There are two drawbacks:

1.  In the modern Internet, Bcc'd mail often gets quarantined as
suspected of being spam.  Sad, but true -- and partly because spammers
themselves abuse the method.

2.  If any of the recipients turn out to be mailing lists, they will
automatically hold the message for manual administrator attention.
Again, this is fallout from Bcc having a bad spam reputation, and 
the mailing list software will cite the reason 'Message has implicit

As it happens, BayCon currently directs the 'info at baycon.org' contact
address to the bc11-info at lists.baycon.org mailing list, where it was
indeed held for my manual attention even though we deliberately
whitelist mail from Renovation.

What's the alternative to Bcc, you might ask?  I'm afraid the best 
alternatives aren't easily implemented by GMail users.

There are only four ways to broadcast such mail:

1.  A crosspost using To or Cc headers.  Not good because of the 'party-line' 
    effect (and revealing your distribution roster to everyone).
2.  A crosspost using Bcc headers.  As noted.
3.  Set up and use an outbound mailing list to send press releases.
    (This is a fine solution if you're a sysadmin; not so much if 
    you're a GMail user.)
4.  Multiposting.

Multiposting is a sort of 'mailmerge' where you create a template for
the mail and then send n copies, one e-mail addressed 'To' each of the
intended recipients.  This gives you the best of all worlds -- except
that you have to manage the mechanics of sending out n e-mails that are
identical except for sporting individualised 'To' headers.

Not being a GMail user, I was originally stymied when contemplating how
to multipost using GMail's Web interface.  At the Unix command line, it's
dead simple, but a Web interface foils that option.  However, it turns
out that GMail _does have_ a built-in option for 'forwarding' to multiple
addresses simultaneously, detailed here:


I hope that will prove useful to you.

Best Regards,
Rick M.

----- End forwarded message -----

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