innercircle.jpgInnercircle.cc is an easy little tool that lets you email groups of people using a single email address.

So, for example, it lets me create “family@marshall.innercircle.cc,” which I can use to correspond with multiple family members — without having to manually add each name into the “to” box each time. My relatives can use the same address to correspond back to me and others in the group.

I can send to that address from any account, for example from my Outlook, or online Gmail account. I can also choose to allow my family members to see the other members on the list. Or I can make it private.

Innercircle.cc, a Sunnyvale, Calif. start-up that has just launched, requires you to register for an account. It gives you an online dashboard, where you can enter the addresses of each family member or friend you want included in the group. It lets you edit the group over time.

It lets you create up to 50 different group email addresses.

The alternatives to Innercircle aren’t great. Using regular email, I have to manually add multiple addressees, but that wastes time if I’m emailing the group over and over. I can create email groups within Outlook, but those are usually for emailing groups within the same company. There are also higher powered products, like Constant Contacts, which costs between $15 and $225 a month depending how many people you are contacting, which requires uploading lists. It’s not as spontaneous as Innercircle, where I can whip up a list in seconds, and send to a group from my Gmail account. Innercircle is free.

Unfortunately, the company isn’t yet storing the emails at its site, so you can’t easily see all the messages you’ve sent or received. Chief executive Raj Lalwani says email storage will be added in a month or so. However, since each email group you create contains your own email address by default, say at Gmail or Yahoo Mail, you’ll get a copy of each Innercircle email sent to your regular email address. I tried it out over the weekend with some family members, and it worked great.

To help you create groups, it lets you copy and paste email addresses from Gmail and other address books. You can copy and paste comma separated address (if you want to say, import addresses from Outlook).

It’s not clear yet how this company plans to make money. Lalwani says he hopes to make money by getting a cut from Amazon, through its affiliate program — via links contained in Innercircle’s emails. Below is a screenshot of how the Innercircle group email creation page looks (I’ve blacked out the email addresses of the members in my group.)

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