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Shotgun e-mail refers to an e-mail requesting information or action that only requires the efforts of one person but is sent to multiple people in an effort to guarantee that at least one person will respond. The shotgun e-mail often results in multiple people responding to something already accomplished and therefore results in a loss of overall productivity. Shotgun e-mailing is considered poor internet etiquette.
An example would be a person of authority in a business organization sending out an e-mail to five technicians in the information technology department of his company to let them know his printer is broken. One technician responds with an on-site call and fixes the problem. Later in the day, other technicians follow-up to fix the printer that is already back in order. Shotgun e-mails can also be request for information or other tasks.
The blind shotgun e-mail occurs when the sender uses the blind co-copy feature of an e-mail program to hide the fact that a shotgun e-mail is in use. This is considered particularly deceitful.