You are in the: Small Business Computing Channelarrow View Sites +
Small Business Technology
» ECommerce-Guide | Small Business Computing | Webopedia | WinPlanet |  »Close
Enter a word for a definition... ...or choose a computer category.

   Term of the Day
   New Terms
   New Links
   Quick Reference
   Did You Know?
   Tech Support
   Webopedia Jobs
   About Us
   Link to Us

talk to us
   Submit a URL
   Suggest a Term
   Report an Error
Internet Lists
Internet News
Internet Resources
Linux/Open Source
Personal Technology
Small Business
Windows Technology
xSP Resources
Corporate Info
Tech Jobs
E-mail Offers
  Be a Commerce Partner

Last modified: Thursday, June 16, 2005 

Short for electronic mail, the transmission of messages over communications networks. The messages can be notes entered from the keyboard or electronic files stored on disk. Most mainframes, minicomputers, and computer networks have an e-mail system. Some electronic-mail systems are confined to a single computer system or network, but others have gateways to other computer systems, enabling users to send electronic mail anywhere in the world. Companies that are fully computerized make extensive use of e-mail because it is fast, flexible, and reliable.

Most e-mail systems include a rudimentary text editor for composing messages, but many allow you to edit your messages using any editor you want. You then send the message to the recipient by specifying the recipient's address. You can also send the same message to several users at once. This is called broadcasting.

Sent messages are stored in electronic mailboxes until the recipient fetches them. To see if you have any mail, you may have to check your electronic mailbox periodically, although many systems alert you when mail is received. After reading your mail, you can store it in a text file, forward it to other users, or delete it. Copies of memos can be printed out on a printer if you want a paper copy.

All online services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer e-mail, and most also support gateways so that you can exchange mail with users of other systems. Usually, it takes only a few seconds or minutes for mail to arrive at its destination. This is a particularly effective way to communicate with a group because you can broadcast a message or document to everyone in the group at once.

Although different e-mail systems use different formats, there are some emerging standards that are making it possible for users on all systems to exchange messages. In the PC world, an important e-mail standard is MAPI. The CCITT standards organization has developed the X.400 standard, which attempts to provide a universal way of addressing messages. To date, though, the de facto addressing standard is the one used by the Internet system because almost all e-mail systems have an Internet gateway.

Another common spelling for e-mail is email.

Also see Why E-Mails Bounce and Getting Rid of Spam in the Did You Know section of Webopedia.

E-mail this definition to a colleague

Sponsored listings

BlueTie: 1GB Business Class Email and Collaboration - Offers spam and virus protected email for $2.99/mo. Add users, storage, and collaboration features such as shared calendars, contacts, files, and IM.

Rockliffe, Inc: Email - Rockliffe MailSite email server software for businesses & service providers: secure, scalable & easy-to-use; anti-spam, anti-virus & content filtering

TemplateZone: Email Software - Supplies software for a range of small business needs, including email, employee handbooks and training, business plans, and brochure design.

For pages about e-mail . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

All about the World Wide Web 
A comprehensive site containing information about different aspects of the Web including: e-mail, browsers, newsgroups, finding information, and histories and overviews.

Eye on Spam 
Powerful weapons have emerged in the war against spam, so why isn't the problem going away? A 2002 Datamation article.

ROKSO Home Page 
Database of known spammers who have repeatedly violated ISP's anti-spam regulations.

8 Ways to Take Names
Some creative, but ethical, methods for getting visitors to opt-in to your e-list.

Communicating effectively in e-mail
Focuses on the content of e-mail: how to say what you need to say.

DeLiberation product page
The DeLiberation Consultative Framework is a service that supports group discussions via e-mail. This site provides links to a press release, product information, and customer success stories.
Domain name registration, Web hosting, e-mail services, domain search, and SEO services.

Email access with virtual servers
Virtual Mail Service page describes how you can use email as a useful business tool. By using email aliasing, it allows your company to have e-mail addresses linked to your own domain.

E-Mail Assistant information page
Describes E-Mail Assistant, an internet marketing and communications software package developed Arial Software.

ForeverMail's home page
Home page for ForeverMail, a provider of personalized e-mail services. With this service you can customize your e-mail name and domain name. Information on available domain names, as well as pricing information for this service can be found here.

How Secure is Your E-mail?
If your business communicates any confidential information across the public Internet or your intranet, e-mail encryption is a solution you should implement sooner rather than later.

Internet Mail Consortium
Group dedicated to solving the unsolicitied bulk email (UBE) problem.

Internet Mail Standards
Describes what Internet mail standards are and contains links to related RFCs, Internet draft documents, and IETF working groups.

The Spamhouse Project
An organization that works with ISPs to identify and remove spammers from the Internet.

Yahoo!'s e-mail page
Yahoo!'s directory of e-mail.

Sponsored listings

Progent: Email Solutions for San Francisco Area Businesses - Designs, installs, and supports small business email solutions. Security, mobile and remote access, management tools, hosting, and telephony.

Constant Contact: Email Marketing & List Management - Provides web-based software for small businesses to create and send email newsletters, manage email lists, and track email campaign results.

Stock Picks from Jim Cramer: Stock Trading Newsletter - For $399/yr, receive stock tips from TV personality and investment expert, Jim Cramer. Plus 24/7 access to Cramer's 3.9 MM portfolio.

Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report: Nanotech Email Newsletter - Offers nanotechnology investing report targeting trends in nanotechnology for entrepreneurs, scientists, and investment bankers. Written by VCs.

US B2B Optin-in E-Mail lists - Create your own prospect lists fast and easy with our B2B email CDs. 5 million targetable US small businesses with email and full contact records.

related categories

Business Tools

Electronic Mail

related terms





Bayesian filter







e-mail address

e-mail appending

e-mail spoofing



hard bounce


instant messaging


mailing list





Give Us Your

JupiterWeb networks:

Search JupiterWeb:

Jupitermedia Corporation has two divisions:
Jupiterimages andJupiterWeb

Legal Notices, Licensing, Reprints, & Permissions, Privacy Policy.

Jupitermedia Corporate Info | Newsletters | Tech Jobs | Shopping | E-mail Offers