Mass Email Communication Guideline

Do your campus mass email communications include suspicious phishing characteristics?

If so, your message may not be reaching your audience. We strongly encourage campus communicators to follow these basic Mass Email Guidelines: Coordination, Content, Identification. If you send mass communications that request personal information, these guidelines are especially important*:

1. Coordination

    Before sending an email campaign via external vendors to campus audiences, submit a Mass Email Info Sheet to

  • Provides notice to email administrators
  • Allows for testing and advice

    Not required for:

2. Content

     Avoid spammy/phishy content, such as:

  • Spammy words (e.g., "free money") in the subject line. (See below for an extensive list of words and phrases to avoid.)
  • Excessive punctuation
  • Attachments. Link to a web page with additional content instead. If an attachment is necessary, use a pdf file rather than a Word document, PowerPoint deck or other type of file.

3. Identification

  • Use a email address as the "From:" address
  • Include one or more UC Berkeley contacts for message validation, e.g.,
    • campus phone number (the CSS Service Desk is an option)
    • campus physical address
    • email address
    • web address
  • Send the message through servers when possible.
  • Use web links when possible (also applies to graphics).
  • If possible, do not display one URL but link to or pass-through to another URL. (This can occur with 3rd party link-tracking services.)
  • Simple and direct URLs (e.g., are preferable to long, cryptic URLs.

By following these simple guidelines you will help make sure that campus email recipients remain sensitized to message characteristics that are typical of phishing messages, and reduce the likelihood that your legitimate message gets blocked or marked as suspicious by recipient email systems.

* We are working on turning these guidelines into policy requirements. If you have feedback or questions about these guidelines, we would like to hear from you.

Spammy words to avoid in mass communications:

  • Amazing
  • Act Now!
  • All New
  • Avoid Bankruptcy
  • As Seen On...
  • Buy Direct
  • Casino
  • Cash
  • Call now!
  • Click Here
  • Collect
  • Compare
  • Don't Delete
  • Free!
  • Guarantee, Guaranteed
  • Great offer
  • Give it away, Giving it away
  • No cost, No fees
  • Offer
  • One time
  • Order Now
  • Opportunity
  • Please Read
  • Promise You
  • Removes
  • You're a Winner!
  • Hidden
  • Information you requested
  • Special Promotion
  • Stop or Stops
  • Subscribe, Discount!
  • Save up to
  • Time limited
  • Visit our web site
  • While supplies last
  • Why pay more?
  • Winner