Is there a way to email using BCC without letting others know that you did?

Usually when one sends more than one person an email using BCC, he leaves the “To” part blank or fills in his own email address. When the recipients receive the email, they can tell they aren’t the only one that received the email since the “From” part of the email is blank or contains the email address of the sender. Is there a way to make it seem that each recipient is the only recipient in popular web-based email services or clients such as Gmail or OE when using BCC?

Correction: The second sentence should read:

When the recipients open the email, they can tell they aren’t the only one that received the email since the “To” part of the email is blank or contains the email address of the sender.

With some email programs, putting the recipients in the TO line in parenthesis will make it act as BCC (does that make sense the way I’m wording it). I haven’t used it in a long time so I don’t remember all the ins and outs of it. Such as if you could put all your BCC people in one set of parenthesis or if they each had to be in their own. My thinking is that, if it works, you could put the entire TO line in a set and hopefully each person will only see their own name.
You could try playing with that to see what happens. I’m not sure if it still works now that a lot of email programs have a BCC line standard.

I’m really struggling to think of a legitimate use for such a thing (deceptively trying to make a mass mailing look individual), but I suppose there might be one. In any case, the reason you’re not finding it is that that’s not what “BCC” is for: BCC is for sending a blind copy to someone in addition to the primary recipient.

I wouldn’t look for the feature you want in a standard mail app – it’s more the domain of the mass e-mail and spam programs; and even those tend to just send 1000 personalized copies via the e-mail equivalent of mail merge rather than trying to send 1 to 1000 people BCC. The actual data transmitted will be the same in most cases (unless you’re actually on the receiving server of all those messages, in which case it might be smart about storing copies).

I applied your advice and it didn’t work. A Google search leads me to believe this is or was a way to use BCC with an AOL email account, but even then it wouldn’t do what I’m trying to do.

Of course there is. Sometimes you want to send something along to several people in your address book but you want each person to think they were special and you were just thinking of them. Happy Valentines Day! :smiley:

There are lots of things I have learned to do on a PC that aren’t meant to be done and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone figured out a way to do this too. For instance, one way to get around having everyone think there’s a primary recipient and they are less special are the two ways I brought up in the OP- filling in your own name in the “To” box or leaving it blank. I’d like to take it a step further.

Yup, that would be were I picked it up…about 15 years ago.

Hmm. Maybe Mail Merge using MS Office + Outlook or this custom Google Docs spreadsheet + Gmail?

If you’re not familiar with mail merging, it’s the idea of using a template plus a list of names and letting the computer fill out the template with individual names and sending individual emails to everyone, e.g.:

Dear FIRSTNAME, Blah blah blah

would get converted to “Dear Robert, Blah blah blah” and sent to Robert, then another one for Linda, etc.

That should do what you want (since email is individualized) and you can opt to have every email say something different or not.

You could also set up a free account at Mailchimp.com – a mailing list manager – and do it that way. It’s overkill, but it ought to work unless your recipients look at the email headers and realize it’s coming from Mailchimp’s mail servers and not your original ones.

PS If you decide to use Mailchimp, you can sign up through this referral link and make Reply very happy :slight_smile:

e-mail merge: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/answer-box-send-e-mail-messages-to-a-group-using-mail-merge-in-word-HA001146481.aspx

How about mailing a list of contacts who may not particularly welcome the notion of their individual email addresses being revealed to all other recipients in the mailing? (This is probably true of many lists of customers, contacts, etc)

Plain old BCC works for that.

Thanks for the responses, guys. I’ll check them out as soon as I get a little time.

It does, except for the possibility of confused recipients thinking they received something that wasn’t meant for them.

Plus server-side spam filtering is often a bit more sensitive to BCCs originating out of domain, in my experience.

Huh?

If you BCC, the recipient sees the non-BCC “To:”. In the early days of email, I had to explain this to several novice users who asked “why am I getting Joe’s emails to Fred? Is ssomething wrong with the server?”
Leaving the “to” blank, or putting your own name in, just tells the recipient they are receiving an email by BCC.
This may be for as simple a reason as (montioned above) keeping the email addresses of members of a large group; or because you don’t want the real recipient Joe to know that Fred also read about his complaint. Certainly any slightly knowledgeable email user won’t be taken in by a blank “To:” or “From: Fred To: Fred”.

As mentioned above, mail merges or similar personalized multiple mailings are the way t go.

Besides, if you don’t have the time to cut and paste each user’s email address into a fresh copy of the email, how special are they? (Just how thick is your “little black book”?)

Save a draft of the email with no recipient, open a list of the intended recipients, and one at a time - open the draft copy, paste in the next name, and send. Or use Mail Merge if you are proficient in Word. That way even the body text could be customized.

Then maybe that’s another benefit along with what I’ve mentioned, but it has nothing to do with recipients not wanting their email addresses being revealed to all other recipients in the mailing- plain old BCC takes care of that.

OK, I’ll just butt out (I thought I was supporting your case for having multiple, isolated To: addresses, but… whatever.)

Please don’t take any offense, Mangetout. I appreciate your help in this and other threads. Your response to TimeWinder that some may not appreciate individual email addresses being revealed to all other recipients in the mailing is not a benefit to what I’m trying to do since it’s something that’s already taken care of in plain old BCC, so I pointed it out. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Then you responded to me that “it does, [but it does this other thing to]”. Sorry, I just couldn’t let that go without commenting that whatever else it may do has nothing to do with my comment regarding your claim.

<shrug> to me, these are all related facets of the same question - if a solution to one problem introduces new problems of its own, then it’s perhaps not an ideal solution.

Only, the way I read RFC 2822 section 3.6.3, this might not necessarily be the case - conforming with RFC 2822 only guarantees that Bcc: recipients are not disclosed to To: recipients and to Cc: recipients, but not that Bcc: recipients are not disclosed to each other.

I usually put myself in the “To” line.

TimeWinder said that he was struggling to think of a legitimate use for such a thing. You proposed that “mailing a list of contacts who may not particularly welcome the notion of their individual email addresses being revealed to all other recipients in the mailing” would be one. It wouldn’t since this is already done in BCC. So I chimed in to say so. I don’t see the relevance of your last post.

It is the case with every email service and client I’ve ever used and email that I’ve ever recieved from others using BCC. From your own source:

Everyone in the BCC field is a recipient.