Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

It's very tempting to build a group or list in your email program to send mail to them all at once. But if the group is big, it probably won't work.

I made a group in Outlook express of about 1,200 emails. Why can't I send a blanket email to them? I tried and one email got rejected but I also copied myself and it did not get sent to me either.

Without knowing more, it's hard to say exactly why it failed, but I'm not at all surprised that it did.

The approach that you took is most certainly not one that I would recommend, for exactly that reason. There are alternatives, but they do require a little work.

First, realize that these two things are VERY different:

  • Sending 1,200 individual emails

  • Sending one email with 1,200 recipients

By creating a group in your email program, and then sending to that group, you're creating a single email with 1,200 recipients.

And you know what that looks like?

Spam.

Because of spam most email providers put a limit on the number of recipients you can have on a single email message. Without seeing the error message you got, or knowing who your email provider is, I can't say for sure that this is the problem you experienced, or what the limit might be. However, if I had to bet money, exceeding that limit is where I'd place my bet.

That's probably why you only got once error message - you only sent one piece of email. Your mail provider returned the error before even trying to send it on to all the people you had listed.

"Because of spam most email providers put a limit on the number of recipients you can have on a single email message."

Most email programs, and certainly Outlook Express, do not have the ability to create a mailing list of 1,200 recipients, and then send a message as 1,200 individual messages. That's not what they were designed for.

As I see it, you have essentially two options:

  • Figure out what the limit is, divide your list into groups of no more than that limit, and send the message separately to each group. If your email provider's limit is, for example, 10, then to send to 1,200 people you'd have to send 120 batches of 10.

  • Use a true mailing list service. This gets complicated, since you've already collected the 1,200 email addresses. Ideally you might use a free service such as Yahoo Groups, or many of the mailing list services targeted at on-line marketers. The problem is that most, or at least the most reputable ones, will require that each email address be confirmed by the recipient before they'll send anything to it. Why? Once again, spam.

Without knowing more about your specific situation, my general recommendation would be to get your 1,200 people to join a Yahoo group. They have to join, but once they're on, then a) you won't be accused of spamming, and b) you'll know that they actually want to get whatever it is you're sending.

If you absolutely cannot ask them to take action to "sign up" for your email, then you should check with your ISP for mailing solutions, or look for mailing list providers that don't require double opt in. You do run the risk of being labeled a spammer, though, if you go this route.

Or, of course, you could send a lot of individual emails, by hand.

Though you'll still run the risk of being called a spammer.

Article C2912 - January 27, 2007 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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13 Comments
Poeng Vuthy
February 14, 2007 12:44 AM

Dear Sir,
I have problem with sending email to a lot of people at once.
How do I can send email to alot of people at once?
Can you answer to me?
I thank you in advance and looking forward to hearing from you soon

Poeng Vuthy

Wilson
February 14, 2007 7:43 PM

Dear sir,

How can send email at once? great to have your information.

How many email address you keep for yourself? i thinking is hard to get some customer email address.

thank you


Regards,
Wilson

Uttam
April 30, 2007 8:17 PM

I want to know that i want to send email to 10\ prople but I dont want any one of them to know who all else got this same mail, If I add these ID to BCC, it still shows the recipients.. Please help.

sondra
October 4, 2007 1:45 PM

Dear LeoI'm still waiting for a answer if you have one could u please let me in on it. It seems as though everyone sends their mail this way . I always thought it was just being lazy or not so personal. I would like to know how I can send letter to 10 people at once. Its a reply letter. Thanks SDondra Oct. 4th, 2004

DR.RAJA SEKAR
January 17, 2008 5:59 AM

"Dear Sir,

How do I can send email to alot of people at once?
Can you answer to me?
I thank you in advance and looking forward to hearing from you soon

Jaymie
January 26, 2008 10:34 AM

I need to forward alot of emails to one email address. Is there a way to send them all at once instead of doing one by one?

Osama
January 29, 2009 5:01 AM

I want to send email to 20 people but I dont want any of them know who got this same mail, If I used BCC, it still shows the recipients.. Please help

The whole point of BCC is *not* to show the addresses to the recipients. If your mailer is working properly, recipients will not see it.
- Leo
29-Jan-2009

mary ann west
March 23, 2009 12:06 PM

how do I send a blanket email

barbara biggs
April 15, 2009 7:52 AM

Leo, I'll put $50 in your tip jar if you either tell me, or do this for me.

I've created a petition on gopetition.com

So far we have 2600 signatures.

We now have a rally on Sunday May 3 2009 and we want to let all the signatories know about the rally.

I read your advice above and seems like there really is no way to send an email to these people unless I ask them to join the facebook rally homepage.

However, it looks like even that requires me to send them in batches of 50. This could take days ...well, 32 email anyway.

I'm organizing the national rally and don't have the time to do this.

Any other suggestions?

Barbara Biggs
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/family-court-of-australia-amendments.html

I believe it's facebook "fan pages" that let you sent a notice to all members that shows up in their email. (I haven't tried it yet with the Askl Leo! fan page.)

But ultimately I don't know of an easy way for you to do what you want. Sorry.

To make matters worse, I also hold the opinion that online partitions don't work, and are in fact harmful.

- Leo
16-Apr-2009
Christine
June 5, 2009 3:22 AM

I use Windows Mail and if I am sending to several people I click on Tools, and then "Select Recipients" and up pops a list of all the people who have mailed me in the past. Then all I have to do is click on each recipient that I wish to send it to, using bcc as necessary.

aarp dental insurance
January 31, 2011 8:22 AM

I am trying to do the same.
There's got to be a automated way to send all that people an email without getting spammed, other than having them linked to a yahoo group.
I need to send my resume to 1,000 recruiters.
I can't add them to a yahoo group.

Thanks for the valuable information.
I love the blog.
Keep it up!

jon
September 8, 2011 3:47 PM

you can use this service - I found it really simple to send emails to 1000s of members on my mailing list and it only takes a minute to sign up too
http://www.streamsend.com/713.html

dam
June 8, 2012 3:53 AM

Windows mail is an ok solution for up to maybe few hundreds, but over that i think it is simply too slow and too complicated. I would suggest some of the best newsletter sending sites, like: www.emailbrain.com, www.prosend.net or www.icontact.com

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