UnsubCentral founder, Joshua Bear, just authored an article in Direct Magazine: Unsubscribe? It’s a Matter of Trust:
Urban myth used to warn not to trust unsubscribe links, that they’d only lead to more spam. But a recent analysis by the Federal Trade Commission showed that clicking unsubscribe links on messages from recognizable brands resulted in less e-mail. As a result, many ISPs have removed that questionable warning from their user help documents.
Most people who sign up for things by e-mail are familiar with the term “unsubscribe,” and know that it means “to cancel a subscription, especially to an online publication, service or mailing list.” And according to a recent ReturnPath study, 67% of respondents said they use unsubscribe buttons either all or some of the time, indicating that most consumers are educated about their options in this area.
Unfortunately, consumers don’t have the information, tools or desire to effectively evaluate which links they should click on, so the decisions they make are based primarily on brand rather than anything measurable.
Brand is not an adequate substitute, as big brands sometimes are guilty of poor practices and smaller companies that employ best practices often lack brand recognition. Concerns about phishing still make it hard for consumers to distinguish a legitimate e-mail from a fraudulent one.
Unsubscribe links need more trust overall. Consumers shouldn’t have to think too much about managing their e-mail.
We have what it takes to make trustworthy unsubscribe a reality. There’s leadership from major ISPs and spam filtering companies. Now other ISPs have to make it a priority.
Great article Josh and I agree wholeheartedly.
As an advertiser, you can do your part to protect your consumers from getting more mail when they unsubscribe by either a) hashing your suppression list with MD5 before you share it with your marketing partners or b) using a trusted third party to scrub your marketing partners mailing lists against your suppression lists before they send… instead of sending out your suppression lists in plain-text.
Consumers still do get more mail when they unsubscribe sometimes, but it’s not for the reasons you think. It’s because someone is downloading your plain-text suppression file, for the sole purpose of sending mail to it. Wouldn’t you want to know who’s doing that?
Call me if you want to know how we can help: (512) 456-3655