Addressing circulars in a DSGVO-compliant manner

DSGVO compliant circulars

Tips on e-mail addressing for mass e-mails to e-mail distribution lists

On?
Copy (CC)?
Blind copy (BCC)?

Addressing variants

Apple Mail example

To (“To”)

The “To” field is intended for the actual addressee of the mail, the actual main recipient(s).

Each receiver can see the other main receivers.

If the recipient replies with “Reply to all”, the sender and all other recipients will get this reply.

Copy (“CC”)

In the “Copy” field (also called CC or Carbon Copy), recipients are entered who are not the main recipient but should still receive this e-mail for reading, e.g. the colleagues who do not have to process the mail but would like to have a copy to stay up to date.

Each recipient can see in the email all other main recipients and all who are on copy.

If the recipient replies with “Reply to all”, the sender and all other recipients, including those in copy, will get this reply.

Blind copy (“BCC”)

In the field “Blind Copy” (also called BCC or Blind Carbon Copy), recipients are entered who are not the main recipient, but should nevertheless receive this e-mail hidden in addition to reading it:

So each recipient can see the other main recipients and also all those who are on Copy, but not those who are entered on Blind Copy; these are invisible. – This is e.g. important for circulars, see below!

If the recipient replies with “Reply to all”, the sender and all other recipients, including those in copy, get this reply, but not the invisible recipients who were at “Blind copy”.

Addressing for circulars – how to do it right

Avoid bulk email mistakes

A mistake is to enter all recipients in the “To” field in circular e-mails to all customers (e.g. Christmas greetings). Since each recipient can see the other recipients, a marketing disaster happens: each addressee thus learns how much and exactly which other customers are still in the file and which are not. You can often even see full names and sometimes where they work.

So this emailing is mostly against data protection (GDPR) and harms yourself and everyone in the list (in 2019, a fine of 2600 euros was imposed in such a case with 100 recipients). The problem: customer data is conveniently available to ALL recipients who are on the mailing list or get the mail forwarded.

Examples of problems that arise from this in marketing:

  • The recipient sees all email addresses (personal data!) even those that he is not allowed to have according to the GDPR
  • Your own competitor may learn how much and which customers you have and which you don’t.
  • Your customer may learn which of his competitors have also received this mail or not.

This could then have an impact on price negotiations.

It can be really problematic if even only one addressee from the list wants to reply to the e-mail and has accidentally selected “Reply to all”.

Simple SOLUTION

When you send customer circulars, all recipients belong in the blind copy “BCC” field and not in the “To” field nor in the “Copy” field. Instead, simply enter your own e-mail address in the “To” field.

Then not all recipients can see each other, data can also not fall into the wrong hands so easily and the discretion, which some of your customers would surely like to have, would be preserved.

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