Message Threading

We’re delighted to announce the availability of one of our most requested features – Gaggle Mail now supports message threading.

 

Group email message thread

 

When viewing messages on the Gaggle Mail website they can now appear grouped by thread. This new “Conversation view” can be switched on and off via a new settings button above the message list.

 

Message settings

 

With Conversation view enabled there are two ways to view a thread. Firstly, there’s the single message view, this is similar to the existing message view with the addition of some buttons in the popup title bar to navigate between messages within the thread.

 

Group email chat view
Viewing a message thread in “Chat View”

 

Also in the title bar is a button to toggle between the single message view and a new “Chat view”. Chat view opens the thread in one long view similar to a mobile chat application. In here, we strip away replies from messages and isolate each message for a much clearer view.

 

Daily Digest Improvements

We’ve also made these message viewing improvements available to Daily Digest users who can now choose to view their digests messages gathered together by thread and open thread then in Chat view. As with viewing the message archive, these options are controlled by the new settings button.

 

Daily Digest message thread
A digest message thread showing additional messages for that digest in blue.

 

Digests are now viewed from the members own membership details page which means they can go back and see previous digests. Also from their membership details page members can post a new message to the group to start new threads – as well as posting to an existing thread.

 

Gaggle Mail member view with digests
Members can now view old digests

 

As you can see, there are quite a few changes here that we’re really excited about.  However, if change isn’t your thing then simply switch off Conversation view and things will be back to how they were before. If you have any feedback on this or anything else with Gaggle Mail please let us know.

Email as a Social Network

At Gaggle Mail we see a wide variety of groups of all sizes discussing a wide variety of topics. Each group is comprised of a set of people who share a common interest and choose to use email to facilitate their discussion. They send messages, share pictures and make plans – just like on a social network.

Comparisons between email and social networks are nothing new. It’s obvious really – the parallels between refreshing your email and checking your Facebook news feed are pretty clear.

The thing with Facebook is that it was designed to BE a social network. Over many years of use by billions of people it’s been honed to optimise for “socialness”. Every interaction has been optimised to achieve a certain goal; improve engagement, encourage ‘likes’, make friends, be more social.

You are socialising within their system, by their measures. All their tricks and nudges to optimise for their metrics change your behaviour. Maybe they change you for the better; making you more social, connecting with more people but it’s not you, it’s you + them.

By comparison email is just message passing – it’s a post office. It won’t encourage you to post a message or pester a friend who hasn’t replied to your message. It won’t go looking for people like you to connect with.

As a result of this, socialising over email is much more organic, nobody is going to hold your hand and show you how to socialise. With email your group has to survive by it’s own merits alone – email isn’t going to step in and help.

Alternative To EmailDoDo

EmailDoDo has been around for years. Founded in 2007 they have been the cheap and cheerful group email option small group often turn too. With bright colours and 90’s bulletin board style interface their whimsical style appeals to many.

EmailDoDo logo

And they’re cheap too, prices start from a very low $5 per year. For a long time EmailDoDo had a completely free option too, they still do, but now they put adverts in the footer of all messages you send to generate revenue and cover their costs. In a time of privacy concerns and GDPR this seems a strange choice.

While EmailDoDo does offer polls and SMS as well as email their group email function is quite bare bones. There’s no message archive, no delivery tracking, limited multi-group support and no daily digest option.

For small groups which don’t need much from their group email system and can get over the privacy concerns this could be enough but if you need to be sure your messages get delivered and want a fully functional email discussion system you may want to look elsewhere.

Groups start on Gaggle Mail from just $2 per month and come with a complete set of group email discussion tools. Your privacy is assured also with no-ads and complete GDPR compliance. If you need to be sure your messages get delivered and want a beautifully simple and modern interface the try Gaggle Mail free for 14-days.

What is GDPR?

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a new EU directive coming in to force on 25th May 2018, it replaces the existing 1998 Data Protection act.

Much of GDPR could be considered just good ‘data hygiene’ which most companies should already be doing:

  • Only store what is required
  • Always ask for permission to store personal data
  • Remove data you no-longer have a reason to keep or are told to remove
  • Keep everything secure

However there’s a few points that need that warrant further discussion.  Here’s what you need to know.

 

Global Reach

Even though this is an EU regulation if a company is based outside the EU but has customers inside the EU then it has to comply with GDPR. This means basically everyone.

Explicit Consent

Whenever a company want to hold personal data about someone they have to explicitly request permission and not in any round-about or nefarious way.  They have to be up front and transparent about what they’ll hold and why they need it.

Right to Be Forgotten

This one is key for consumers, if you want your data deleted then if there’s not legitimate reason for a company to be holding your data then they have to delete it.  As with most of GDPR this is open to interpretation but a valid reason for someone to hold your data may be if you’ve entered into a contact with them.

Notification of a data breach

Data controllers will have to notify Data Protection Authorities within 72 hours of a breach.

Penalties and fines

It would be unusual for regulation like this to specify specific fines but the EU clearly want to show they mean business.  I quote “monetary penalties from 2% up to 4% of the total worldwide annual turnover, yet not less than 10 to 20 million Euro”.

 

Obviously this is just our take on what is a very complex issue, so it this impacts you or your business, do your own research using official sources and or qualified professionals.

 

Official EU Homepage for GDPR - https://www.eugdpr.org/
Symantec - https://www.symantec.com/en/uk/campaigns/data-privacy

Yahoo Groups Down Again? Here’s 7 Alternatives

Yahoo Groups is going through a rough time, users were unable to post new messages for most of last week and even though the service appears to have been restored there’s still lingering problems.

Even before Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo, Yahoo Groups was in maintenance mode with no new development being done in years – but now they’re struggling to keep the lights on.

So if you’re currently running a group on Yahoo Groups and looking to move on, here’s a few suggestions:

  • Gaggle Mail – A modern take on the traditional Listserv.  You get all the benefits of your own group email address with the ability to configure and customise how your group behaves all wrapped up in an easy to use, modern web interface that anyone can use.  As well as being much cheaper that having you own hosted Listserv there’s also none of the limitations about having to have a certain account to participate.
  • Google Groups – This is an obvious choice, its Google’s equivalent of Yahoo Groups with much the same functionality.  You have to bear in mind Google’s main business is advertising and they will be scanning your group’s messages in order the show ads.  There emailing into and out of the group isn’t as good as Yahoo’s and you and your members will need Google accounts to participate.
  • Facebook Groups – Given Facebook’s ubiquity it’s a popular choice.  If you’re happy living in Facebook’s closed platform and their advertising based model then there’s lots of functionality.  Photo sharing, file storage and event planning are all mature and user friendly features.
  • OnlineGroups.net – Think of this as a paid for Yahoo Groups replacement.  It has lots of the features of the free service but it comes with a substantial cost.  If you really need everything that Yahoo Groups does and don’t mind paying then this is one to look at.
  • LSoft Listserv – If you currently take advantage of Yahoo Group’s ability to post by email and receive posts via email then a Listserv could be what you need.  It’s a group email platform with no advertising that gives you the ability it run as you see fit.  You can either use a hosted service or host your own.  Hosting your own Listserv does require some technical knowledge but it is cheaper than using a hosted service.
  • Mail-list.com – For over 20 years Mail-list.com has been providing a group email discussion solution.  It has lots of features including message moderation and a searchable archive (at a price) but it is starting to show its age and can be expensive for larger groups.
  • FreeLists – For a completely free group email option there is FreeLists.  It’s been around for over 15 years and allows completely free group email discussions.  It has quite basic functionality with quite a rudimentary interface but you can do the basics – and it’s free!

 

There you have it, lots to choose from.  Yahoo Groups has had a good run but it looks like it’s time is coming to an end.  Group email has been around for many years and is a well proven solution for electronic group discussions.

There’s many different providers of Listserv or Listserv like solutions that are a good fit if you’re moving from Yahoo Groups.

If we’ve missed anything out or you have some feedback we’d love to hear it.

Maximum Message Size Increased to 10MB

Great news!  We’ve doubled the maximum message size you can send over Gaggle Mail from 5MB to 10MB.  This is something which has been much requested and maybe it’s taken us a little longer than it should have but we’ve done it.

To achieve this we’ve had to upgrade the hardware we run Gaggle Mail on so as a fortunate side effect you might notice things being a little snappier too. Double-win!

Group Email For Large Groups

Just a quick note to say we’ve increased the maximum group size in Gaggle Mail from 2000 members to 5000 members.

Over the summer we’ve been busy preparing for this change, previously opening a group with 2000 member could take up to 10 seconds but now groups of this size and much larger open in less than a second.  Searching and editing members is also much faster and remains fast for very big groups.

Along with the performance increases the design refresh we recently made included features to help manage larger lists.  Put together we think these changes and our dedication to keeping things simple makes Gaggle Mail a very compelling choice for running your group email list.

Even though we have the 5000 limit we’ve tested Gaggle Mail on groups of up to 100,000 members and it still performs flawlessly.  If you do have a need for groups beyond 5000 members do let us know so we can discuss your needs.

Design Refresh and New Logo!

Today I’m very excited to announce the redesign of the group and member management pages within Gaggle Mail.  We’ve been working on this for a while and we’re really proud of how it’s turned out.  As ever we’ve kept simplicity at the centre of what we do and this is reflected heavily in our changes.

Redesigned member list

For desktop layouts we’ve moved search into the header bar and started taking advantage of the full width of the screen enabling us to show more information without things looking crowded.  We’ve also condensed the navigation options in the left hand panel and added a really simple dropdown chooser to allow you to switch between your groups.  The Compose button has also been moved to be always available at the bottom right of the screen.

Redesigned settings page

Member’s own details pages have also been given a friendlier makeover.

Redesigned member details page

As well as these visual changes there’s been plenty going on behind the scenes.  We’ve rebuild our “Add New Members” area to better support internalization (non-English characters) and also added some much requested helper text when enabling the Message Archive for members.

Helper text when enabling message archive

Oh and the more observant of you may have noticed we’ve updated our logo slightly, it’s but a major change but filling in the circles gave a more solid feel – we hope you agree!

Gaggle Mail logo

We really hope you like the changes we’re made and if you have any feedback for us we’d love to hear it.

How to Send Email to Groups Without Showing Addresses

When you’re sending an email to a group of people sometimes they all know each other and sometimes they don’t.

When you want to send a message to a group without everyone seeing each other’s email address then you can use the BCC: field to keep recipient addresses hidden.  Blind carbon copy works great but what if you want a group of people to email each other without sharing their addresses.

 

How to Keep Email Addresses Private with Group Email

When you setup an email group member’s email addresses usually stay private until someone sends to the group whereby their address is circulated to the group as the from: address of the message they sent.

Gaggle Mail has an incognito mode whereby we ensure member email address privacy – even amongst other members of the group.  With incognito mode enabled the group behaves like any other listserv email group however every member of the group has their own personal alias email address, specific to that group, which is used in place of their own address.

Gaggle Mail incognito mode switch

These alias addresses allow the group to fully converse and even send personal replies to other individuals in the group without anyone ever having to disclose their email address.

How To Send A Group Email In Gmail

If there’s a group of people you regularly email from Gmail it’s really useful to create a group contact you can use as an alias instead of entering their names each time.  It’s straight forward to do – here’s how:

 

1. Go to Google Contacts (contacts.google.com).
2. Check the box next to everyone you want to put in your group.
3. On the left hand side select “Labels” and click “Create label” below it.

Creating a label in Google Contacts

4. Give your group a name in the Create Label prompt.
5. With your contacts selected click the “Manage labels” button at the top right and select your newly created label.

Selecting a label in Google Contacts

6. You’re done!

 

Now the next time you want to contact these people through Gmail just start typing the first few letters of the group name in the To: then select your group and their names will appear – easy!

This is great when you want to send to the same set of people but it doesn’t help when other people in your group want to contact the rest of the group.

With Gaggle Mail you can create your own permanent group email address (say my-group@gaggle.email) which lets anyone in your group reach everyone else in the group all from one single email address.

Getting started with Gaggle Mail takes just seconds and with one email address for your group you don’t need to worry about people being left out when someone doesn’t click “Reply to all”.  Also when someone updates their email address there’s just one central place to change it so everyone is always kept in the loop.

Try Gaggle Mail for free and take the hassle out of group email.