But, in my inquiries of trying to obtain more information about it, the GM of the local channel (WTVM) committed a horrible error in judgement in the way he responded.
You see, he sent an email to 417 addresses.
That's not what's so bad. What's so bad is how he did it.
He put all 417 address in the "to" field of the email!
Now, you might be asking yourself why that's a bad thing.
Well, let me tell you why.
Let's suppose for a second that someone has a vulnerable computer. Let's call him Doofus.
Now, let's suppose that Doofus and 416 other people contact a businessman -- let's call him Lee -- about something.
Now, let's suppose that one of those other 416 people is ... you. We'll call that person You.
Lee gets a bunch of emails. From You. From Doofus. And from 415 others. And he decides to respond to them all with a single email. This is reasonable, since he's being bombarded with a bunch of emails all talking about the same thing.
So, anyway, Lee composes an email to send to everyone that emailed him.
And he includes all 417 email addresses -- including Doofus and You -- in the "to" field for the email.
Now, here's what happens. You, Doofus, and 415 others get an email. And all 417 of you can see the email addresses of the others. That in and of itself is bad form.
But it gets worse.
Remember that Doofus has a vulnerable computer. He either doesn't have good security software running on his computer. Or it's out of date. Or something. The bottom line is, Doofus' computer is vulnerable.
So vulnerable that he's got a computer that's infected with something nasty.
And that something nasty is a program that harvests email addresses.
That is to say, it's checking Doofus' incoming emails and harvesting addresses.
And because of Doofus, everyone else on that email is now part of the list of the harvesting program. And everyone is going to start getting a s**tload of spam.
Now, what should Lee have done?
He should have included the addresses in the "bcc" field.
That way, when the harvesting program that's running on Doofus' computer tries to harvest emails, it's not going to get anything new.
You see, it already had Doofus' email address. That's how Doofus got the malware to begin with.
It already had Lee's email address because it got it when Doofus emailed Lee to start with.
But it didn't get the other 416 email addresses.
So, bloggers, if you ever have the need or strong desire to send emails to a lot of people, be sure to use the "bcc" field and not the "to" field.
Using the "to" field can cause grief to the whole list if just one of the people to whom it's sent has harvesting malware.
Using the "bcc" field will at least show care and concern over those on your list. It's being a good email neighbor.
And it keeps you from becoming a Doofus, too.