E-mail unsubscribe practices: a letter

I get really tired of e-mails from seemingly reputable organizations that make it difficult to unsubscribe. I’ve repeatedly filled out the unsubscribe form for Alternet.org and yet I keep getting e-mail. Here’s what I just wrote them.

When I receive an e-mail that I don’t care for, I go to the bottom of the page to unsubscribe. Thankfully, you have a web link to an unsubscribe page. Unfortunately, you require the reader to enter into the form things that the link in the e-mail should know. 1) The e-mail address at which they received the e-mail. I have many addresses that converge in one mailbox and it’s a bit annoying to have to parse the e-mail to see which you’re sending it to, when the e-mail itself knows this and can put that info in the link. 2) Which newsletter to unsubscribe too. I have to look through your list and figure out which is the type of message I just received. For these “Dear Reader” messages I have no idea, though it looks like you just added a “Don Hazen memos” option. In any case, the link should include this info and spare the user.

Because of your current unsubscribe practices, I wanted to simply unsubscribe from all e-mail from your organization. You don’t have such an option. That’s not just bad usability; that’s bad netiquette.

Since there is no so option, I ask in this message: please don’t e-mail me any more of any of your newsletters. But please do let me know when you rectify these matters. I will then resubscribe to the ones that interest me, confident that I can easily unsubscribe when I don’t want them anymore.

-Turadg Aleahmad

For what it’s worth, here is their automated reply. Tight budget, sure, but if you can make a mailing system, you can make unsubscribe work. And why make your own system in the first place when there are so much list managers freely available?

Thanks for your feedback.

We appreciate your input and applaud you for speaking up. Our editorial staff reads every piece of feedback submitted — every single one. We do this because we sincerely appreciate your contributions. Our readers are the reason we exist; over the years, we have incorporated valuable reader suggestions and comments into improving our organization.

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The Editors

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