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Lukewarm Soup

This Sunday morning I've been doing some early spring cleaning on my MacBook, organising my email into annual folders, deleting old files etc.

One of the things I started doing last year was to take the time to unsubscribe from any promotional emails I get that don't help me, things like special offers from hotel chains I've used in the past. Or just plain old spam where my email address has somehow ended up on a supposedly premium list of subscribers.

One of the interesting things you notice when you undertake a batch of unsubscribing is the variable quality and ease with which you are able to unsubscribe.

The best experiences are properly branded landing pages that don't invite you to click any more buttons or key in your email address to confirm your desire to unsubscribe. It's also acceptable for some degree of survey asking why you're unsubscribing.

However, the vast majority of unsubcribe process flows are generally quite offensive, particularly when set agains the polish and sparkle of their front facing marketing websites.

It leaves you feeling like you complained that your soup could have been a little warmer and thirty seconds later you're sitting in the back alley, having been physically ejected out the back door of the restaurant.

It's not uncommon for it to be just a plain unsubscribe button (often not even centred) and processes that ask you to rekey your email address are as annoying as they are suspicious, and it's not unusual to be greeted with hugely patronising copy like "We're really sorry to hear that you no longer wish to receive our awesome newsletter." The bottom of the barrel are those unsubscribe flows that demand you reply to the email with the words "Remove" or "Unsubscribe" in the subject. It's clear these businesses are running email software they got free on a magazine cover CD in 1998.

When you think about how much effort, investment and focus is employed by businesses on their shop frontage, it's amazing to see the way they handle people who wish to unsubscribe from their emails being such a blind spot.

Just because I'm unsubscribing doesn't mean I hate you, nor that I won't use your company in future. But if you treat me like a scumbag when I take the time to ask you to stop polluting my inbox, I might just change my mind.

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