Reminder: Don’t Reveal Strangers’ Addresses on the To Line

Yesterday I received an email blast that went to 100 people. I know the exact number because all their email addresses were on the To line.

If I were a spammer gathering addresses to pad my email address book, I would have new people to prey on at Studley, SUBWAY, Success Metrics, Sulamerica, Sundt Construction, Sun Sports Cycle, Toshiba, Tartan Supply, University of Detroit Mercy, and many other organizations.

How frustrating for the hundred of us to have our contact information spread so thoughtlessly!

Please share this reminder with your coworkers who send messages to large groups of people outside your organization:

Do not put strangers' addresses on the To line. Put them on the Bcc line, or use email marketing services such as AWeber and Constant Contact.

If you have other reminders you want to share, feel free to do it here!

Syntax Training


  1. That’s very frustrating. Another problem with not using the Bcc line is the potential for a reply-all series that clutters 100 inboxes.

  2. Even if I know all the people to whom I want to send an email, the To line requires some forethought: Do all recipients know each other? Even if they do, do I want to reveal all their names in the context of my email? Will someone not on the list be upset?

  3. This is all true, but how should a request to refrain from using the ‘ cc to all’ line be worded? It is difficult to come up with a request that doesn’t sound either priggish or overbearing!

  4. Hi, Elizabeth. One way would be to send out a link to this blog post, with the note “This is important information about writing to people outside the organization.”

    I will offer another way in a future post.

    Thanks for asking.


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