Group email has been around for about 30 years. The idea of sending an email to a single address and it being forwarded to all members of a predefined list is very powerful. Indeed email discussion lists were the forerunner to web based forums as a method of group discussion.
At the heart of any group email system is the group email address, this is the address that anyone from a group can send a message to and have it repeated to the entire group. Members of the group are called subscribers and generally have to opt-in to receive messages from the group. For high traffic lists members can decide if to receive messages as soon as they’re sent of have all messages for a day packaged up into a daily digest.
Restrictions can also be placed on who can send to a group. Most commonly anyone who subscribes to a list can send to that list but some groups can limit sending to just a set of administrators. Alternatively a group could be setup to allow anyone, member or not, to send to a group.
Some group email systems keep an archive of every message sent to the group, these archives often include indexing and search of past messages. Archives for a group email system can act as a source of record for discussions that went over the list.
The main concern of a good group email list system is to successfully deliver messages to the group subscribers. Delivery reports are a way for administrator of the group to check delivery of messages and investigate any delivery problems that may occur.
Group email lists are a simple but very useful tool for any community, group or club that want to communicate over email with little effort.