GMail gontact & group sharing.
May 18, 2011 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Google Apps Mail contact sharing, distribution lists, and sending newsletters Marketplace App?

We started using Google Apps last year it's been great except one caveat: contact and distribution list management. I've looked at the Google Marketplace and seen a few services that might match what I'm looking for, but I thought to query the hivemind first based on their experience, not just a product's description. We've tried using Google Groups, but people just aren't a fan of them and don't seem to do what we always want- particularly with the lack of non-domain contact sharing. A couple examples of what I'm seeing:

-We have a secretary at each grade level (ie, k-3, 4-7, 7-8, 9-12) with both parent and student e-mail groups for each grade. Each secretary should have global access to those contacts and distribution lists. Right now, we have to export those lists and re-import on the other user's account at the beginning of each year. And every e-mail update requires each secretary to update those lists. Blah.
-A secretary should also be able to type in Jon Doe (a parent so an external domain) and see his e-mail address without all our secretaries needing to import again and again. Of course, students also should not have access to Jon Doe's e-mail address. This goes back to the one e-mail address database.
-I should note that some of these e-mails may go out to thousands of users (all legitimate constituents).

-We have an athletics secretary who can create sports distribution lists, which can then be shared with the correct coaches for easy communication. The coaches would then have no excuse for not having parent & student e-mail addresses and groups.

-I'm currently not interested in some of the extra project management aspects of some of the applications that showed up when searching, though the potential for more awesomeness is always a bonus.

-Like most, the less $$$ the better.

-I don't care too much about tech support. I'm usually good at figuring stuff out. Or I just ask here!
posted by jmd82 to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: First: shared contacts. There's no management interface for shared contacts in Apps - which strikes me as a huge oversight - but there is a Shared Contacts API, and many free or cheap tools that use this API, from a simple Python script that lets you upload a CSV to tools that you select within the Marketplace like SherpaTools or PowerPanel (both of which are pretty good for this). But if you feel comfortable doing this yourself, you might just use the Python script.

Second: distribution lists. What problems are you having with Groups exactly? Do you have the user-managed groups feature enabled in the Apps control panel? You can add addresses (including shared contacts which will autocomplete) to Groups. Maybe the contact issue will let you use Groups once that's sorted.

Third: sending newsletters. If you want to do this from Apps, and the newsletters will primarily be email, I'd take a look at MailChimp. It's free, and works well enough. It's hard to get people in their fifties to take a product called "MailChimp" seriously; that's the biggest drawback I've run into.

Feel free to contact me via MeMail if you have followup questions. I do a lot of work with Apps.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:38 PM on May 18, 2011

We use GinzaContacts. It sounds like what you need. You only really need one paid account, however, that person must start and share each Contact Group. From then on each person who has the group shared can add and delete/modify the group and contacts therein. It works just how you think Google should work. And at 4.99/account (per person who shares, not person shared with), it's a great price.

Check out:
posted by Raddu at 3:09 PM on June 24, 2011

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