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The Perils Of Copiously Forwarding
Email And Sending Bulk Addressed Emailings

© Copyright 2000, By Walter Robinson II
(www.lastchanceministries.com)
October 30, 2000

(Those who send mass emailings or forwarded e∑mail probably need to read this.)

Linked Index


PREFACE

First, I assure you, this document is not in response to the poor e∑mail practices of any one individual. It is a general response to a daily problem that is being spread by increasing numbers of people. For the most part, I am convinced that many who use the poor e∑mail practice addressed below truly do not realize their error and the ramifications for their actions. Hence, this document.

I had previously posted a document about this matter on the web earlier in 2000. It was entitled, "Recommended Rules of Conduct for Sending Mass or Bulk E∑mail Messages." This document supersedes and replaces that one.

I believe there are others who share my sentiments about this problem, and perhaps this document will serve as a way to help them cope. I also hope it will serve as instruction to those who need to be better informed on the proper ways to engage in e∑mail correspondences.

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THE DILEMMA

E∑mail addresses are in many ways like written addresses or telephone numbers to one’s home. They are links to each individual’s inner circle of personal contact and communication.

Most dread getting calls from telemarketers. The same is true about getting unsolicited mail from unknown people and organizations. Such mail often asks for something, promotes a product, promotes a person or service, etc. People have the same negative feelings toward unsolicited e∑mail.

I personally do not like to receive ANY unsolicited ‘BULK’ e∑mails or ‘FORWARDED’ e∑mails. I also refuse to forward them on, even when requested to do so. I do not mind receiving such that contain urgent prayer requests and prayer letters of people I know and I have asked to be placed on their mailing list. But almost everything else is now dumped in my trash can and never read.

Why? Simply put, I do not have the time. Though such e∑mail may be informative, entertaining, humorous, and even inspirational at times to some people; like many I do not have time to wade through and filter the stuff. I do not even like to waste the time to read the headings of scores and scores of forwarded messages that I receive weekly.

Just think, how would you like for people to keep interrupting you by knocking on your door and handing you pamphlets or papers, or even leaving them on your doorstep? Some may even venture to tell you that you should look through the material because you "may get something out of it." Adding insult to injury, what if they charged you a few pennies for the privilege of giving them to you, like Jehovah’s Witnesses often try to leave you with their pamphlets—for a few cents? I assure you, the correlation is accurate for at least some that use the Internet.

For instance, some missionaries in third world countries do not have ISPs (Internet Service Providers) that provide unlimited connect time at any price. As of the date of compiling this document the ISP in Grenada does not offer unlimited Internet service. Thus, we literally pay for each second we are connected. At times our Internet connection runs painfully slow due to network congestion which is caused by narrow bandwidth, which in turn is caused by the telephone company’s microwave link between Carriacou and the mainland of Grenada. Thus, even downloading short but numerous e∑mail messages can take several minutes that quickly add up during the month.

We pay about $30.00 (US$) for 30 hours of connect time each month. We also pay about $1.00 (US$) for each additional hour over that limit. With the development and maintenance of our website, Last Chance Ministries (LCM), we are trying to cut down our connect time where ever possible.

We copiously use the Internet to communicate with individuals and organizations that are stateside. We even use it to video conference (when the bandwidth permits) with our daughter, Tabitha, who is working in West Virginia. Of course we send and receive e∑mail with more and more friends all over the world. I am also beginning to get more correspondence (and even some phone calls!) from people who have discovered LCM. We cannot cut down in those areas; thus, I am striving to cut down on incoming e∑mail that is useless to us.

The negative feelings toward receiving bulk and forwarded e∑mail only intensifies when I see my e∑mail address and the address of others readily viewable at the top or in the embedded text of the message. Read on to see why.

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MAKING A BAD PRACTICE EVEN WORSE

More and more junk e∑mail includes advertisements for very objective material—including explicit and immoral adult material and services. As believers most of us would never ask to receive such e∑mails, but unscrupulous people manage to ‘somehow’ get addresses such as ours. That ‘somehow’ is often forwarded and re-forwarded e∑mail and improperly addressed bulk e∑mails. Hence the central theme of this document.

Those that forward e∑mail or send bulk emailings with openly attached e∑mail addresses cannot know with certainty that those addresses will not eventually wind up on the computer of someone whose values and interests vastly differ from ours. This should be of particular interest to those of us who believe that Biblical believers are called to a life of separation from the dirt of the world.

As ugly as it may seem, many well meaning believers may actually be making it possible for purveyors of pornography to send advertisements to some of their friends or others they do not even know personally! That is how serious the problem is.

Once an e∑mail address gets on an undesirable mailing list it is often very difficult or even impossible to get it removed. Sometimes the only remedy is to close that e∑mail account and open another one. That is usually very, very time consuming and a down right drag ("a drag?" Am I dating my self?). Moreover, some vital Internet services allow you to set up personal accounts that are linked back to your e∑mail address. If you forget your password (as many of us often do) then you can ask the service to e∑mail the password to you—via your established e∑mail account. This is especially important to webmasters. This makes closing a needed and established e∑mail account very difficult. Even when one takes that drastic step, any new e∑mail address will remain private only until someone else makes it available on the web by forwarding it or including it in bulk addressed e∑mails that make all addresses available. Then the relentless cycle begins all over again.

Please bare in mind, this document is not meant to discourage any from engaging in personal correspondence. I personally enjoy and strive to respond to all personal e∑mails. I also welcome and pray for any forwarded prayer requests. But, before you forward even those please read on to learn the proper way to do it.

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HOW NOT TO DO IT IF YOU MUST

Under NO circumstances forward or initiate personally composed bulk e∑mail messages by simply selecting all your desired recipients from your address book and putting them in the ‘To’ or ‘Cc’ (Carbon copy) address sections of your e∑mails!

I cannot emphasize this enough. When you put all the e∑mail addresses in the ‘To’ or ‘Cc’ address areas you are in effect making all e∑mail addresses available to others who can use them as they like! Believe it or not, there are some companies that will actually pay people or provide free services for each e∑mail address you provide for them. For example, I know of a free online storage service that will provide five megabytes extra for each e∑mail address you give them.

Many such companies want the addresses merely so they can send people an advertisement for their services. But some companies may even go on to sell those e∑mail addresses to mailing list companies that will in turn sell those addresses to almost anyone that offers almost any services and products available.

How would you feel if you suddenly began receiving tons of undesirable mail at the post office or in the mailbox attached to your home because a ‘friend’ provided your address to various mailing services? That is what can—and often does—occur when you make the e∑mail addresses of others available in ways that almost anyone can use.

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HOW TO DO IT IF YOU MUST

There are proper ways to forward e∑mail when absolutely necessary, such as prayer requests. This is my recommendation on how to do it—If you truly have the need to do so.

If you feel you really need to forward e∑mail or send out bulk e∑mail messages, then put the addresses of all intended recipients in the ‘Bcc’ (Blind carbon copy) address section of your e∑mail message during composition. Some e∑mail composers will allow you to use the "Recipient List Suppressed" option instead. Using ‘Bcc’ or "Recipient List Suppressed" will forward or send your bulk addressed e∑mail message to all you desire, but it will only provide the e∑mail address of the individual who receives it.

NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DO THIS YOU SHOULD REFRAIN FROM POSTING E∑MAILS TO MULTIPLE RECIPIENTS UNTIL YOU LEARN HOW. ALSO, IF YOUR E∑MAIL COMPOSER DOES NOT HAVE THIS ABILITY, THEN GET ANOTHER ONE AND LEARN TO USE IT—BEFORE YOU SEND OUT ANY MORE BULK ADDRESS EMAILINGS.

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A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT FORWARDING E∑MAIL

Often times e∑mail addresses are embedded in the original bulk addressed e∑mail that has been forwarded on by others. Make sure that you delete all e∑mail addresses in every nestled level of the previously forwarded message BEFORE you forward it own to others by using the ‘Bcc’ mode.

Again, if you currently do not how to do so, do not do it until you can.

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A MATTER OF CONSIDERATION

Simply out of personal consideration and respect for others, you should first ask each individual if they want to receive forwarded messages or bulk emailed personal compositions from you BEFORE you send them. Again, think about the plague of telemarketers that has led many people to get a new telephone number that is unlisted.

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REAL DANGERS RESULTING FROM POOR PRACTICES

The increasing proliferation of computer viruses should make anyone leery of receiving e∑mail with attachments from anyone they do not know. That includes e∑mail that has been forward by several other people before it arrives on your system. All it takes is for one person to forward an e∑mail from a computer that has already been infected.

As a technician with over twenty years in the trade, and as a personal computer owner and user since the late seventies, the malicious programming being broadcasted over the web these days sends chills down my back. Can you afford to have you hard drive’s files corrupted or erased. Can you afford to have some unscrupulous person getting into your personal financial information on your computer through viruses that can create a back door into your computer’s operating system while you are browsing or sending and receiving e∑mail? Don’t think it can be done? Think again, and consider yourself warned.

NOTE: About one week after I originally published this page I had the unfortunate experience of contacting a virus through someone's forwarded e∑mail. I did not read it, but merely selected it to delete it, and that caused the system I was using to be infected! The possible destructive power of this 'worm' is not unlike what I have described here. See the page entitled, A Personal Case of Being Infected by an E∑mail Virus for my account.

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THE RAMIFICATIONS

Unfortunately the junk mail arriving on my computer system almost daily is so numerous and so gross at times that I am considering closing an established e∑mail account that I have had since 1996. I have also gotten to the place that I delete most forwarded e∑mails from people without even looking at the heading because they have previously sent sometimes hundreds of non-personal e∑mails to me in the past. I hate to admit it, but in doing so I sometimes may even accidentally delete bona fide personal messages from those people.

Again, I—like many other people—simply do not have time to read though all the hash. Furthermore, I really dislike having to pay for something for which I did not ask and something that is of no benefit to me.

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POSSIBLE REMEDIES AND DRAWBACKS

Rather than close needed and established e∑mail accounts, some may be forced to begin using available e∑mail filtering services and software. The problem with using such is that some truly personal and important messages could be erroneously blocked as well. But something has to be done.

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SPREAD THE WORD

All are encouraged to send this document to others as they see fit. I also have a link that will allow you download this file in PDF format so that you can more easily print it out or e∑mail it to others. Likewise, you may simply cut and paste the web address of this page in an e∑mail message to others. It is

http://www.lastchanceministries.com/proper.htm.

But remember, if you e∑mail it to more than one person at a time please make sure that you use the ‘Bcc’ or "Recipient List Suppressed" mode. smile.gif (918 bytes)

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Get your formatted file copy here!

Wide distribution of this document is encouraged by the author. You may freely cut and past this document and send it via e∑mail to those you know, but please, insure that you do so in the correct manner by using Bcc!

I have also supplied this document in a PDF formatted file that can be download, printed out, or sent to others via e∑mail. Simply right click on the PDF icon to the right and   select the "save target as" option to download. It is only 24K long and should take only a few seconds to download. WTRII

Click here if you do not have Adobe's Free PDF Reader on your computer and you wish to get it.

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