Over the years email spam has gotten better and worse. ‘Better’, in that the “Unsubscribe” link that is required by the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 has made it much easier to stop unwanted email. ‘Worse’, in that more companies/groups around the world can now get your email so much easier than before, so you actually get more junk email than ever before.
Another ‘better’ comes in the form of that wonderful “Spam” (or ‘Junk’) button in Gmail and other web-based email systems. When enough people click that button on the same email, the email service companies can easily flag that email address, or even the text of the message, to help find and filter those messages in the future. In some cases it also stops other junk mail from the same address from hitting your inbox at all.
Something many (legitimate) companies have implemented since 2003 is the “One-click unsubscribe” link in their marketing emails. I’ve put this to great use for a number of years now. While it isn’t always true ‘one-click’, sometimes it’s just two clicks – once to click the link in the email and a second click to confirm that you want to stop getting those emails. Here’s the rub though. When a legit company makes you re-type the email address to remove yourself.
The majority of companies do ‘one-click’ well. It’s easy to be removed, quick and painless. I honestly don’t mind automatically getting signed up for spam when I order from a company, as long as that magic link is there. But when I have to re-type my email address, that’s when I click the good ‘ol SPAM button. While it’s not a legal requirement to do one-click, getting flagged as spam should be a lesson to the company that they need to make it easy to remove myself.
Being flagged as spam is a BIG hassle for a legit company. I’ve worked on marketing email projects from the development side and can confirm that companies do not want to be flagged as spam. The more times your company is flagged as sending spam, the less likely your emails will get delivered in the future. And the companies get notified about every single message that gets flagged as spam. It’s for this reason that I mark emails as spam when they aren’t smart enough to auto-fill my email address in the ‘one-click’ process.
So, if you’re a company who sends out emails to thousands of users at a time, be sure to do it the right way – because users don’t care about what you want, they care about how easy it is to stop getting junk email.