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.
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.
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.
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.
We’re delighted to announce the availability of one of our most requested features – Gaggle Mail now supports message threading.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yahoo Groups is going through a roughtime, 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.
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!