Unsubscribing from junk email

Does this actually accomplish anything? Or is it simply used as marketing data by the spammers that you’re not interested in that promotion, and they start sending you others instead?

In my experience it works, providing I’m dealing with an entity that is mostly legitimate and not entirely unscrupulous. Sometimes they take you through a routine of the , “Do you really want to leave us?” type, whereby they make it easy to click your way back onto the mailing list if you aren’t reading carefully or not paying attention. But I can’t recall anyone sending more email simply because I unsubscribed.

Are you talking spam (Russian pills for penis enlargement) or marketing (weekly ads from Bob Evan’s restaurants)?

The former you’re hosed; blocking them is your only hope. For the latter unsubscribe works fine with few if any side effects.

For regular, sensible companies that do business in the US are covered by the CAN-SPAM act of 2003, that mandates unsubscribe links and kills the bulk of the abuses thereof.

As LSLGuy notes, some commercial messages are from organizations with little to fear from breaking a minor US law. But those messages are much more easily identified by spam filters (“larger penis” -> Russian pills -> spam, but “meatier sausage” -> Bob Evan’s -> not spam).

I tried hard for an innocuous comparison and the creative minds of the SDMB still managed to recast it as salacious. Bravo :smiley:

My experience (although I’ve only tried this a few times):

Unsubscribing from unscrupulous Russian pill vendors and the like: I’ve read so often what a bad idea this is that I’ve never tried it. Even blocking them offers no hope, as they never use the same From address twice. I’ve tried filtering on certain phrases that occur repeatedly in their messages, with only so-so and transient success. (ETA: I would like to try filtering on certain other common words or character-sequences that occur among the headers, particularly among the “Received From” lines, but I can’t find any filter option that will look at those. :mad:)

Unsubscribing from seemingly scrupulous marketers: Note that the businesses being advertised are generally not the ones actually sending the messages. They contract out to spam houses to do that, just as telemarketing is commonly done. In my limited experience, attempting to unscuscribe has no effect whatever.

Hey ** Senegoid **, let Gmail or an equivalent provider handle the Russian spammers. Whoever your provider is, check to see if there are spam filtering settings you have not enabled. I rarely ever see any of the inappropriate spam–once every few months one slips by.

Regarding the legitimate unsubscribe links, I have been on a rampage, clicking every one of those I can, both in my personal life and business life, and … it really works.

They do have their 7-10 day window, and I’m certain that has to do with multiple batch windows (there are likely two or three companies involved between the clicked “unsubscribe me” link and the cessation of spamming, each with their batch process to communicate with the others).

One problem I have had is that somehow I might be registered with a company twice or three times and not know it, resulting in me getting barrage of spam–three emails a day for months. After cancelling one, I get spam for two “registrations”, so I just persist until it all finishes.

Happy to say, all of the legitimate spammers have truly ceased, and my inbox is breathing a sigh of relief. I was receiving dozens of legitimate marketing emails a day, now they are gone.

To clarify my earlier remark: I do use Gmail, which does in fact do pretty good in shunting most junk mail to my Spam folder. What I’d like to do, however, is set up some filters to just delete a lot of the more common junk mail so I never even see it in the Spam folder. I do look at my Spam folder regularly and clean it out, to make sure I never miss a real e-mail that falsely got sent there. (Happens occasionally.)

I’ve poked around a lot in the filter settings, and I haven’t succeeded in getting it to filter on anything in the headers other than the filters that are explicitly provided.

Fair 'nuff… I very rarely ever peek in my spam folder because…dragons be there.

On a humorous note, I work for a pharmaceutical company that produces a drug that regularly appears in spam—when I applied for the job, I spent a week or two frantically searching my spam folder for emails related to the job interview process, figuring that the mere mention of the company name would be treated as spam.

As it turned out, my fears were unfounded and Google delivered the correct mail unfiltered.

See, that’s why I look through my spam folder every day to delete all the actual junk (which is almost always all of it) – I only get about a dozen a day, so by keeping it from building up, I can quickly check for any real mail that may have gotten stuck there (which happens only rarely).

As for all the other dragons there, they need to be slain!

If it’s a legitimate business that plays by the rules then yes, clicking **unsubscribe **should work. If it is unsolicited spam then clicking **unsubscribe **will make it worse, because those mailing lists are bought and sold thru grey market channels and are based on any and all email addresses or even just names appearing anywhere (Facebook etc.) Just the names alone can even be paired with the most common @email suffixes generated randomly by spam mailing list servers.

In those cases clicking on **unsubscribe **merely confirms that the generated email address is a real one because it caused a legitimate reply.

actually, the best use of the unsubscribe option I have heard of is to use that word as a trigger for a filter to move those emails to the spam or trash folder. That way you can catch the dangerous emails as well as the merely unwanted ones. Or you can go to the trouble of unsubscribing, but that requires work for each sender. One filter rules them all!

I for one am on too many legitimate email lists to screen by “unsubscribe”.

Very little spam actually has the word “unsubscribe” in it anywhere.
If you see it, it’s a picture of the word.

When I moved from a management job with purchasing and decision-making authority, I started unsubscribing from EVERYTHING. It took about six months, but I now get only a couple marketing emails a week.