Category Archives: CC’s, mailing list, relay

Relaying group messages Part I. How to send lots of cc’s.

A “relay” feature is available for Sailmail members, to make sending group messages easier. Traditionally, messages were sent to family and friends using “CC” addresses, allowing one message to be sent to multiple recipients. However, with the increased concern over “spam” (junk email), many internet services are blocking messages with large numbers of CC’s. Additionally, many folks do not want their email addresses to appear on long CC-lists for privacy reasons. BCC’s or “blind copies”, where the CC-addresses are hidden, are another possibility but those are often used by spammers and are increasingly being blocked by spam-filters. The only kind of message that reliably gets through spam-filters and does not cause privacy concerns is an individually-addressed email to each address, which was not previously practical via a radio link.

As a service for Sailmail members we’ve written some new software and created a special address (as part of the Saildocs weather server) for handling group mailing. Send one copy of your message to relay@saildocs.com. At the beginning of the message (before the normal text) include a list of email addresses, formatted with one address per line. Follow this with a blank line, then the message text as normal.

The relay-processor will check the format, and then step through the list of email addresses and create a new message addressed to each recipient, with only the message text (not the email list). The from-address and subject line will be the same as your original message and any bounce-messages will be returned to you (so check addresses carefully!).

Here is a sample message:

=====================
To: relay@saildocs.com
Subject: Update from the “Leaky Duck”

wxy9999@sailmail.com
somebody@hotmail.com
another@hotmail.com

This is an update of our adventures aboard “Leaky Duck”.
Please send us mail at this address (but keep it short).
=====================

This will send three copies of our test message, the first to wxy9999@sailmail.com, the second to somebody@hotmail.com and the third to another@hotmail.com.

You can set this up as a group in Airmail as follows:
Open the Airmail address book (Toolbar button or Window-menu, address-book), click “New” and enter a name for the group. In the “To” box enter “relay@saildocs.com” (without the quotes). Then in the “Message Text” box, enter your list of email addresses one per line (use the right-click mouse button to copy and paste from elsewhere, such as the CC-box of an existing CC-style group list). Add an extra blank line at the end, then click OK. You can revise this the same as any address, by selecting the group name and using the “Properties” button. (If you want to create multiple entries of this sort, use “relay1@saildocs.com” for the first, “relay2@saildocs.com” for the second, up to relay9).

Then to create a new group message, click the “new message” button (or File/New menu), select the appropriate group name from the address-book, and click OK. Fill in the subject, then hit Tab to go to the end of the email-list and start your message. Always make sure there is a blank line at the end of the list of addresses, but no blank lines in the list of addresses.

The list of email address can either be simple addresses (example: somebody@hotmail.com) or can include a “friendly name” using the following format– include quotes around the “friendly-name” and enclose the email-address in <>’s per the following example:
“Arthur Dent” <somebody@hotmail.com>

Also note that from Airmail ver 3.1.933 onwards, you can enter your own “friendly name” in the Tools/Options window, settings tab. The “From name” is sent using quotes in the above format, along with your usual email address. With most email programs, the “friendly” from-name is what folks will see, so they will know who the message is from. Use plain-text only for the From-name, no special or accented characters.

There is also an “insert” feature available for folks who want to get fancy (and are comfortable messing about with computers), send a blank email to relayinfo2@saildocs.com.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For security reasons, this feature is only available to Sailmail members for messages sent through the Sailmail server, either by radio or internet using direct-access “telnet” connections or Sailmail’s POP3/SMTP server. The Sailmail terms and conditions apply to the use of this service.

Enjoy!
Jim & Sue Corenman
Stan & Sally Honey
sysop@sailmail.com

Relaying group messages, part II, “mail-merge”

This is the second of a two-part document on using Sailmail’s relay-processor for sending group messages. Part one covered the basics, if you need a copy of that then send a (blank) email to: relayinfo@saildocs.com.

An advanced “insert” option is also available for group messages, which will insert personalized text into each message. To use this “insert” option, add one or more additional fields after each email address, separated with a semi-colon (;). Then, in your message, insert the code “<%1>” (without quotes) to substitute the first parameter, <%2> to substitute the second parameter, etc. A “default” value can be included, for example to insert the word “Family” if no name is supplied then use the code “<%1/Family>”.

When each message is created, the text from the fields which follow the email address is substituted for each “<%>” code. If there is no corresponding text-field following the email address, then the default value (following the “/”) is used, and if that is not provided then the code is deleted and nothing is inserted.

So our sample note (from part-1) would look like this:

=====
To: relay@saildocs.com
Subject: Update from the “Leaky Duck”

wxy9999@sailmail.com;Jim
somebody@hotmail.com;Joe
another@hotmail.com

Dear <%1/Friends>,
This is an update of our adventures aboard “Leaky Duck”.
Please send us mail at this address (but keep it short).
=====

The first copy would be sent to wxy9999@sailmail.com and would start with “Dear Jim”, the second copy would go to somebody@hotmail.com and start with “Dear Joe”, and the third copy would go to another@hotmail.com and start with “Dear Friends”.

More than one insert-code can be used. An example of how this might be used would be the case where you want to enourage only certain recipients to reply to your Sailmail address and invite others to reply to your hotmail address. Let’s suppose that our Sailmail address is wxy1234@sailmail.com, and our hotmail address is leakyduck@hotmail.com. Create the note as follows:

=====
To: relay@saildocs.com
Subject: Update from the “Leaky Duck”

wxy9999@sailmail.com;Jim
somebody@hotmail.com;Joe;wxy1234@sailmail.com
another@hotmail.com

Dear <%1/Friends>,
This is an update of our adventures aboard “Leaky Duck”.
Please send us mail at <%2/leakyduck@hotmail.com>.
=====

The individual copies are sent as above, except that the copy to somebody@hotmail (addressed to “Joe”) says “please send us mail at wxy1234@sailmail.com” while the others say “please send us mail at leakyduck@hotmail.com”.

A couple of things to note here: First, the “<%2/…” code might get split by Airmail’s word-wrapping. That’s OK as long as we didn’t hit the “Enter” key inside the code to insert a “hard” (fixed) end-of-line. Ordinary word-wrap gets unwrapped before processing and likely gets wrapped differently by the recipient’s computer depending on the size of their own email window. “Hard” end-of-line codes (inserted with the Enter key) are not permitted between the “<>” characters in an insert-code.

Remember that the relay-processor is automated and takes whatever you say literally. Create your message carefully and check it twice. Once you send it, it is gone. There is no getting it back. If you are not sure, send yourself a test note before turning it loose on your friends.

And again, for email security reasons this feature is only available to Sailmail members for messages which are sent via radio, from the web-mail page or using the Sailmail POP3/SMTP server. The Sailmail terms and conditions apply to the use of this relay-processor.

Enjoy,
Jim & Sue Corenman
Stan and Sally Honey
sysop@sailmail.com