Emma: Comparison of mass-email solutions

There are several methods you can use to email a group of users regularly. But not all methods work in the same way or offer the same features. Use the information below to determine what solution works best for your needs.

Exchange Online

Exchange Online (a feature of Office 365) supports "distribution lists" (or groups). Members of these groups are other Duke Office 365 users. Transport of the message remains in Office 365. The owners and members can be modified using Outlook on the Web.

Sympa Mailing Lists

Sympa is Duke's email listserv system. You can create, join and manage email listservs to connect to communities or groups at Duke.  You can also add members outside of Duke. Groups can be private, public, or moderated for discussions or announcements. Membership is not limited to Duke users. You can also use Sympa to create a general contact address for your department or program. 

Emma Mass Email

Emma is a bulk email service that can contain Duke groups (populated manually or automatically, then synced to Emma). Emma provides a robust editor for composing professional messages including offering templates with Duke branding. And after the mailing, Emma provide reports that let you know how many read your message and even which links in a message were clicked. 


What are you trying to do? Exchange Online Sympa Emma
Allow users to control preferences for mail delivery options No Yes Yes
Allow users to discuss a topic Yes Yes No
Allow users to subscribe or add themselves No Yes Yes (approval required)
Auto-populate a group based on criteria (approval required) No Yes Yes
Create messages using an editor for the service No Yes Yes
Grant other users role-based access No Yes Yes
Keep a record of all sent messages to a group No Yes Yes
Limit communication to Office 365 users Yes No No
Permit unsubscribed users to post Yes Yes No
Personalize a message to each recipient No No Yes
Post to the email service using an email client Yes Yes No
Provide a contact address for a department No Yes No
Schedule delivery of a message No No Yes
See how many people opened the message or clicked on a link No No Yes
Send a message to the same group of people Yes Yes Yes
Send announcements or messages Yes Yes Yes
Required to adhere to CAN-SPAM laws, including an Unsubscribe link by default (unless approved otherwise) No Yes Yes


Article Number: KB0030741