Zapier Integrations

We’ve just started to add Zapier integrations to Gaggle Mail.

Zapier allows you to connect different apps together to allow data to flow between them.  For example, you might want to add a new member to your group every time someone completes a Google Form or you might want to log something to AirTable every time someone sends a message via your group.  Zapier integrations can help will all of these things.

Our integrations are private at the moment but if you’d like an invite to use them please let us know.

Unlimited Groups

Today I’m excited to announce we’ve launched one of the most widely requested features on Gaggle Mail – unlimited groups!

Up until now, all groups on Gaggle Mail were charged separately. Even though you could link groups together and manage the members altogether, you still had to create a subscription for each group. Not anymore.

You can now create a subscription for your linked groups and then create as many groups as you like under that same subscription. This also means if you have members who appear in several of your groups you will only have to pay for that person once – regardless of how many groups they’re in.

Pricing for unlimited groups is double that for single groups so in many cases, where you have the same people in lots of groups, this can work out much cheaper. It’s just $1 per member per year, with a minimum of 40 members or $0.10 per member per month.

You can start a linked group subscription directly from your billing page where you’ll also find a cost comparison between single and unlimited group billing.

Members Dashboard Refresh

We’ve recently made substantial changes to the Members area of the group dashboard. The main focus of these changes has been to improve the efficiency with how you can manage members in your group especially when you have multiple groups.

Group Email Member List

As you can see we’ve switched to a card based layout rather than rows, the main driver for this was to be able to show more members on screen. Each member card shows how many groups that member is in and whether they receive the daily digest, if they’re set to paused or if they are blocked.  You can also hover over the left-hand border of a member card to reveal options to either add or remove that member from the group.

Group email member

You can click “VIEW DETAILS” on a member’s card to slide out the member details panel when you can edit the member or delete them entirely. If the member is blocked we show details about this here as well. For linked groups, there’s a second tab within the member details view which shows which groups that person is a member of.

Member details panel

At the top of the member list, we show totals for the number of members in that group as well as how many of them receive the digest, are paused or blocked. You can also see the total number of members who are in the linked group. Clicking on any of these numbers will filter to member list to show just those members. You can also use the search bar at the top of the screen to search for members.

Groups member counts

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.

Improved Member Security

The main aim we live by at Gaggle Mail is simplicity. For every new feature, change or enhancement the thing we consider most is how to make it easy to use for our customers.

As we built Gaggle Mail this focus on simplicity lead us to make certain choices. Once enabled by group administrators, members of a group could see the entire message archive and/or member list all without having to create an account. Members using the daily digest feature could view messages just by clicking a link, with no need to log in.

Data security is equally a large focus for us and with each new piece of legislation, we have to consider whether we’re making the correct trade-offs.

And so in this post-GDPR world, we’ve revisited decisions previously made and now require members to be logged in to:

  • View the messages either via the archive or in their daily digest
  • Send messages to the group via their member details page
  • View the member list for their group

Of course, we’ve tried to make the process of creating an account and getting logged in as simple as possible. If a member tries to access something that requires them to be logged in they will see a prompt asking them to enter a password to create an account.

Once a suitable password has been entered we will send an email to confirm the creation of their account. After clicking the confirmation button they will be redirected to their member page but this time logged in and able to access whatever they need.

Once a member has an account we will just ask them to re-enter their password to log in.

A great deal of thought has gone into this change and we hope we’re hitting the right balance between convenience and security. If you do have any feedback or questions on any of this we’d love to hear them.

You can see out official GDPR statement here.

 

 

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.

Sub-Groups and Linked Groups

We’ve been really busy over the last few months adding what has been our most requested feature. I’m delighted to let you know that we now support sub-groups on Gaggle Mail.

This was a big undertaking for us since we were deteremined to add this much-requested feature without adding any complexity to our users. We’re really happy with how it’s turned out and hope you will be too.

You can read more add this feature here but essentially if you already have a group and you create another one we will ask you if you want to link your groups together.

Groups which have been linked share a common pool of members which can be managed across all groups from a single place. You can add members to multiple groups, edit members across multiple groups and remove members from all their groups all with ease.

We hope you find this useful and as ever if you have any feedback please let us know.

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

New Activity Log

Just before the end of 2017 we renamed the Health tab in Gaggle Mail to Activity – this was more than just a renaming exercise though.  The all new Activity tab gives you a single place to keep track of everything that’s going on with your group.

Events list for listserv

As well as logging every message that is sent to you group it also lets you see when messages were held for moderation and whether they were rejected or accepted.  You can also see all events relating to members of your group.  For example when a member joined the group, changed their email address or unsubscribed.

You can also see if a member has been blocked due to delivery issues to their address.  All events are easily searchable so finding exactly what’s going on with a particular member is really easy.

Group email activity statistics

As well as tracking all events for your group we also show statistics of the number of messages sent in the last 30 days and who the top 5 senders have been for that month.

These change have been introduced to provide a clear picture as to what’s happening and a reliable audit of activity in your group.  If you have any feedback for this or any other feature on Gaggle Mail please let us know.