To unsubscribe click here, or not.

I’ve tried twice in the last week unsubscribe from an email list. The two in question were classmates and bestbuy. In both cases, it took forever for the link to open, I gave up and added them to my spam folder. But low and behold, everything else on the page opened in a flicker.

Clearly this is done purposefully, right?

It’s never a good idea to click on unsubscribe with one big exception. The exception is: If you subscribed in the first place

For instance, I signed up to get advanced sale notices from Bloomingdales. So each time I get them it says “to unsubscribe…” Since I signed up for them, then it’s perfectly OK to unsubscribe.

But that is about the only time it’s advisable to do so

This. Just block the rest. If your mail system doesn’t allow you to do that, get a better system.

Lo and behold. It means “look”, in the imperative mood. Yes, I’m a pedant.

If it’s a large company I’ve actually heard of, I sometimes bother trying to unsubscribe, otherwise, I treat it with suspicion. I’ve heard of spammers actually using the unsubscribe link to determine whether a target email address is monitored by a living person and adding the positives to more email lists.

The ones that annoy me most are the unsubscribe links that take me to a page that requires me to sign in to change my email preferences - chances are, I’m unsubscribing because I just want out, and I might not even remember the credcentials I used to sign up originally.

Worse yet, I had another email the other day from a company I used once and - apparently due to simple incompetence, the email preferences on my account make no difference to whether they send me stuff. I signed in and unchecked everything, but the newsletters keep coming. What it did let me do though, was to sign in any change my contact email address to:

Even from “reputable” companies/organizations, the unsubscribe links rarely seem to work.

I’ve had no problems unsubscribing from emails from legitimate companies. They have no reason to piss people off.

It’s the spammers that will take your address and sell it.

This. If they’re a real company, unsubscribe works almost every time.

Spifflog the email marketing system is probably hosted by a different database, if not at a different location as the main site. If you click on an unsub link right when you get the mailing, the slowness may be due to the fact that the machine for the email system is in heavy use because it is sending at the moment, it’s serving up a lot of content to all the other people who just got emails, tracking link clicks from the email sent and/or processing unsub requests from a lot of other people at the moment.

If you click on the unsub link at some other time (not when you first get the email), it’s probably just a slow email marketing system as-is.

Anyway, the fact that the email unsub page is slower to load/work than the sender’s site itself is not some sort of trickery. It’s just a poorly managed system. The two applications (company site, email marketing application) are not related.

Quite true.

I’ve done mass emails for political organizations, and we certainly don’t want to waste time & effort on people who are not interested. So we do pay attention to requests to unsubscribe.

However, there are several reasons that unsubscribe requests often seem to not work. For one thing, there are many different parts to organizations, and they often operate separately. As an example, our political party has local, city, county, Congressional District, and state chapters. All of them send out emails to members. And while we do communicate between each other, it can take a while for an unsubscribe request to percolate to all of these party units. There are also candidates who send out emails to people, and those are separate operations.

It also doesn’t help when people are not accurate in requests to unsubscribe. Sending an unsubscribe request to me, about an email that came from someone else is not very efficient. I do try to send it on to the proper person, and the party units use a coordinated database, so that helps. Also, if people fail to identify themself in the unsubscribe request, it’s hard to unsubscribe them! An unsubscribe link helps with this, but forwarded emails can mess this up. I can locate the person on our database from their email, but I have had unsubscribe requests from someone where my original email was forwarded to a new email, and the person replied from that, asking to be unsubscribed. Since that new email was not on our database, I had no way to figure out which person it was. So I replied to their new email, asking them to give me their name or their old email address so I could remove them from our email list – then they replied, refusing to give that information, for privacy reasons! So guess what, they did NOT get removed from our list, and continued to get emails, and continued to be upset by this.

RealityChuck is quite correct; we don’t want to waste emails on people who aren’t interested. But we can only put so much volunteer time into keeping our lists clean.

I seriously doubt that. Whats most likely going on is that you and thousands of others are pounding that server asking to be removed. It cant handle the load and it times out. If you try again a few hours later you’ll find its responsive.

I would imagine if this was done purposely it would violate the CAN-SPAM act.

I second Zippers post. The unsubscribe process is almost certainly managed by a 3rd party vendor. When you click the link, you are going to a completely different set of servers. They may or may not be fast. They may also be pulling in other information about you to present a “delivery preferences” page that already knows about you.

It is not intentionally meant to frustrate you. The only way it is purposeful is the selection of a 3rd party vendor that hasn’t invested in it’s infrastructure properly.