Stop Misleading Email Unsubscriptions

I am proposing an addendum to the CAN-SPAM Act, in addition to the availability of an “unsubscribe” mechanism, an “unsubscribe from all” email notifications mechanism shall be included. All of this should be an one click-mechanism, no sign in required.

To comply with 3b of the act, many companies are breaking down their email notifications into many sub-notification types. Here is section 3b in its entirety:

(B) MORE DETAILED OPTIONS POSSIBLE- The person initiating a commercial electronic mail message may comply with subparagraph (A)(i) by providing the recipient a list or menu from which the recipient may choose the specific types of commercial electronic mail messages the recipient wants to receive or does not want to receive from the sender, if the list or menu includes an option under which the recipient may choose not to receive any commercial electronic mail messages from the sender.

Why is this system broken? Let me giving you some examples of the way current unsubscribes work:


2013-03-03 06.13.08 pm

“You won’t receive more email notifications of this type.

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“…no longer receive this type of email:…”

If you read these unsubscribe landing pages carefully, you will begin to see website’s tricky language that is actually misleading consumers that they have unsubscribed from the website’s notifications but in actuality, they will continue to receive spammy notifications merely of a different type. In order to unsubscribe from all notifications, you must sign in, dig around complicated menus to locate your notification preferences, and when you finally find the page, you must uncheck notifications manually.  How often do we want to unsubscribe to just one type of notification? No, I want to unsubscribe to all of your website’s emails. Who has the time to uncheck all those boxes?

When you finally find the unsubscribe page, it often looks something like this:

2013-03-03 06.18.35 pm 2013-03-03 06.19.43 pm

This is compounded by the ease of newsletter “signups.” Single signons are becoming instant opt ins for site notifications/newsletters. Let’s stop the insanity.

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1 Comment

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