E-mail pitfalls: CCing your company’s image

By Scott Stratten
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/14/2002

Forwarding interesting or funny e-mails is nothing new. Since the dawn of this great medium, people have been reading something humourous, touching or bizarre and sending it off to their lists of friends. However, when the e-mail addresses contain your company’s name, it associates your firm with the content of the message.

Recently, I received an adult-themed joke/picture in my e-mail box from someone I know. Opening it, I noticed it contained all the forwarded addresses up until it was sent to me, filled with “>” and certain comments attached. After taking out all of the Yahoo or Hotmail addresses, as well as ISPs, I came up with a list of 47 companies that were identified within the body of the e-mail. The majority of them were large, multi-national corporations where perception of their brand is very important. There was a trail of who sent it to whom, along with some nicknames people had given each other (Rob “The Tongue” from a large pharmaceutical corporation and Greg “Who’s Your Daddy” from a prominent food manufacturer).

Not only does this put a company in the wrong light and potentially harm its image, it also gives the chance for a spammer to harvest the addresses and sell them. That one e-mail had more than 200 e-mail addresses I could have sold.