How Does Group Email Work?

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.

Gaggle Mail Updates

I just wanted to keep you updated on some of the improvements we’ve been making to Gaggle Mail over the last few weeks. Many of these changes have come directly from user feedback so if there is something you’d like to change or add then please do let us know

  • Prevent duplicate email addresses being added to a list. This is quite self explanatory but if you try to add an email address that already exists in a group the UI will alert you and disable the ADD button.
  • Better internationalisation. As the popularity of Gaggle Mail has grown we’ve seen many new groups created where their primary language is not English (or any Latin based language). This has highlight some bugs around rendering more exotic characters, in particular when they appear in custom footers. I glad to say these issues have all been ironed out.
  • More resilient email sending. Reliably sending emails is our business so it’s something we put a lot of effort into. To this end we’ve recently introduced a completely separate redundant sending infrastructure using different 3rd party providers.  So we are no longer reliant on one sending provider and can switch between the two in case of failure.
  • Allow administrators to edit their details. A minor change but certainly required, administrators can now go to the Account page and update the name associated with the administrator email address.
  • HTTPS support. All pages on Gaggle Mail are now available over secure HTTPS as well as HTTP.


So that’s it. Mainly small and technical changes but all helping us achieve our goal of being the best group email service around.

Sports Clubs Using Group Email

Running a sports club can be a thankless task, nobody wants to take on the endless administration tasks; arranging fixtures, collecting results, organizing tours, travel arrangements, league AGM’s and finding someone to wash the kit!

Keeping club members up to date with what’s going on can be a real pain too especially when you have members joining, members leaving and members changing their emails addresses.

This is why lots of sports club have found group email or listserv to be the perfect solution to these problems. With group email you can keep the email addresses of all your members in one central place, and then when you want to contact everyone you just have to send an email to a single address and everyone on your list will get the mail.

Setting up group email could not be simpler with Gaggle Mail, just choose your group address, create an account of that’s it.

Features like a message archive and delivery reports let you make sure messages are getting delivered and you can go back to check what was sent.

With one single email address which anyone in your group can use to contact everyone else in the group means your club can be more connected with no effect.

Group email is the perfect solution to any small group or club that has a group of members than need to talk to each other.

Unfortunately though you’ll still have to find someone to wash the kit!

7 Popular Uses for Group Email

We’re continually surprised at the wide range of uses people find for group email. Here’s a list of the 7 most popular sorts of groups we encounter on Gaggle Mail.

Residents associations. Appartment blocks, assisted living, service personnel or new developments, when people live together they want to communicate together and using a shared email list seems to be a very popular choice.

Sports clubs. I think we’ve seen just about every sport imaginable popup at one time or another on Gaggle Mail. Sharing news, sending out results or asking for volunteers the ubiquity of email means everyone it always on the ball.

Religious groups. Just like sport I think we’ve got most religions covered and some non-religions – Jediism anyone? It doesn’t matter what your technical level is, particiapting with a group email list is incredabilly easy for anyone.

Gaming groups.
Video gaming, D&D or just cards they’re all here. Some of the geekier groups will run a custom Listserv setup on a home brew Linix distro from their basement but for the rest of us, who just need something that works with a few clicks there’s Gaggle Mail.

Families. We already blogged about this a few weeks ago but young or old, rich or poor families find group email to be a very easy way to keep each other up to date.

Non Profits. Whether it’s the board of directors or someone looking for a volunteer to cover Saturday night at the soup kitchen loads of non-profits and charities use group email to keep everyone up to date with what’s going on.

Book clubs. They’re as popular as ever and as well as meeting up to talk about books they’ve read, book clubs love to use group email to write about what they’ve reading. A shared email address is very handy when planning that next meeting or checking up that everyone has done their homework!

There it is, our list of seven. There’s plenty more we could of mentioned but with the versitility of email it’s no wonder that thousands of people find a group shared email address as the simplest and easiest way to stay in touch.

An Alternative To Listserv

Listserv has been the gold standard in group email for over 30 years.  It’s an industry grade solution that gives you complete flexibility and when running on the right hardware, lots of capacity.

Listserv does however require a lot of technical knowledge to setup and maintain. There are hosted versions of Listserv which remove some of the headaches but that can be very expensive.

Gaggle Mail is a cost effective and easy to use alternative to Listserv.  With just a few clicks you can create a highly customisable group email list for up to 1000 members.  Track the delivery of every message sent to your group with clear delivery reports and get a fully searchable archive of all messages sent.

We support custom domains, daily digests and lots of other features for running a group email list that you and your members will love!

If you need to run huge group email lists for thousands of members then Listserv is what you want, if you need a quick and inexpensive solution that just works – give Gaggle Mail a look.

Prices start from as little as $10 per year and there’s a 30 day free trial (no credit card required).

Bigger Lists and New Pricing

At Gaggle Mail our top focus has always been to deliver the simplest, most easy to use group email system.  This simplicity can be seen in our pricing when we first launched; just one pricing level of $2/month or $10/year for up to 100 members.

One size fits all pricing is great for simplicity however since launch the number one request from users has been – can you support groups with over 100 members?

So today I’m delighted to announce that we now support groups up to 1000+ members and with that come’s a new stepped pricing model.

Affordable group email for small groups

We’ve tried to maintain our simple approach to pricing with this new structure, all pricing levels include all features, it’s simply the maximum number of members which varies with the different pricing level.  Billing is still available on a monthly or annual basis to give you flexibility about when you pay.

We hope you find these prices competitive especially when you compare them to the alternative of running a Listserv either on your own hardware or hosted somewhere.  And remember with every Gaggle Mail group you the simplest most easy to use group email system with all these incredible features.

Keep Your Family Up To Date with Group Email

There’s no shortage of ways for people to stay in touch these days; you can text, chat, video chat or snap-chat with anyone from anywhere at any time without giving it a second thought.

The interesting thing about all these ways to communicate is that many of them are generational, older people prefer to call (really old people write letters), the slightly younger might prefer email or a video chat, younger than them would use mobile text chat while even younger communication only in pictures and emoji!

This choice and diversity is great but what about when the generations want to talk to each other?  Say, when a family want to share news about a grandchild’s first day at school or arrange a surprise 80th birthday party.

Group email is perfect for this sort of thing.  Everyone has an email address and everyone knows how to use email.  It’s a truly cross-generational communication technology.  It’s also a more personal way of sharing what is happening in your life than Facebook or other social networks.

Gaggle Mail is a really simple and easy way to get setup with group email that even the most technologically averse generation will find a joy to use.

Beginners Guide To Group Email

Group email had been around for a long time, it even predates the Web by a few years.  The first group email software which became LISTSERV was written in 1986 for IBM mainframes!  So this is not a new technology and people have been finding group email lists useful for over 30 years.

At its simplest a group email list (or electronic discussion list) is a single email address which on receiving a message transparently sends a copy the subscribers of the list.

Group email

This allows groups of people to exchange messages with each other, usually around a common topic, with the minimal amount of overhead.  There’s no need for each individual to maintain a list of member of the group since this is help centrally.

There are plenty of options when creating a group email list; Google Groups is a popular choice with many great features, it does require you and your subscribers to have Google+ accounts to get the most out of it however.  Yahoo Groups has also been around for a long time and has many popular group on it.

If you want to control every detail of how your email group is ran you can run your own LISTSERV server either on your own hardware or hosted by someone else.  This gives you complete control at a cost, with prices starting at a few hundred dollars per year and setup fess of a similar amount this is really for big lists where total control is required.

Gaggle Mail logo

With the move towards cloud services Gaggle Mail has been leading a new breed of SaaS based group email services.  Group email and cloud services are a good fit.  They can offer a clean and simple web based UI to manage your list from desktop or mobile and they can run on commodity cloud based hardware to keep the cost down.

If you need a modern cost effective group email solution give Gaggle Mail a try, it’s free for 30 days then as little as $10 per year after that.

 

 

An Alternative To GroupSpaces.com

GroupSpaces.com is a platform for managing membership to groups; it’s a popular site founded in 2007 and boasting thousands of groups.  However its status of late has come under question with people unable to get support and no changes to the site for years.  It appears to be in a ‘zombie’ mode; functioning for the most part but very little signs of life beyond that.  It is marked as discontinued by alternativeTo.net.

Obviously we’d love everyone to drop your GroupSpaces accounts and run over to Gaggle Mail and if all you need is a simple, affordable group email list that has custom domain support, searchable message archive and a beautiful interface then why not!

If you do need all the functions that GroupSpaces offers then there are some alternatives; http://www.wildapricot.com/ has a full set of group membership features and http://wiggio.com/ offers a similar feature set.

However if group email is what you need and you want someone dedicated to making the easiest to use, reliable, group email software then we’d recommend Gaggle Mail.  Obviously.

Getting Your Message Delivered

Making sure messages get successfully delivery is one of the main goals of any group email list and we’re just made it even easier to check group members are receiving their messages.

Every message sent over Gaggle Mail has a delivery report associated with it that shows when everybody received that message and if there are any delivery failures. This feature is only available to list administrators who can access it by clicking “Delivery Report” in the bottom left hand corner of any message in the messages view.

Group email delivery report

Any members which had difficulty receiving a message will be listed at the top and you can click on them to see further details about a delivery failure.

Simple to use individual group email list delivery report

In here you can see the exact details of the delivery failure and some advice about what to do next.

Delivery failures are usually either a hard-bounce, soft-bounce, spam or rejected. You can read more and different types of delivery failures here or more about this feature here.

As with all of Gaggle Mail we’ve tried to make this feature simple to use but with enough flexibility to get the job done. We hope you agree and as we continue to build Gaggle Mail into the easiest to use group email solution available if you have any suggests how we could improve please let us know.