Unsubscribing Should Mean Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

It strikes me that many companies seem to be out of compliance with the CAN-SPAM laws and don’t make it easy to even find the unsubscribe link. And, when I finally locate it and click on it, I’m often presented with a survey — and one that you can’t ignore.

If you’re working at the speed of light (and who isn’t, these days?), chances are you’ve opted in to a company’s email list (either on purpose or automatically when you made an online purchase).

I honestly don’t recall opting-in to many of the company emails I receive, but since I usually just smack the “delete” button, I don’t give it much thought — until I try to opt out.

It strikes me that many companies seem to be out of compliance with the CAN-SPAM laws and don’t make it easy to even find the unsubscribe link. And, when I finally locate it and click on it, I’m often presented with a survey — and one that you can’t ignore. Because I just want to be done with it, I often fill out the “why are you leaving?” field with garbage keystrokes (do you think they find that helpful feedback?).

The companies that annoy me the most are those that appear to have multiple email opt-in streams — and for some reason, somebody decided I should be opted into to all of them:

  • Daily emails with info that’s hot off the press
  • Weekly recap of the daily emails so I can peruse what I may have missed
  • Monthly emails that highlight key opportunities
  • Quarterly emails that feature the most popular content/sale items

Are you kidding me?

Recently, the landing page made me add my email address and “submit” to each one of these options in order to be unsubscribed. And yet I keep getting their emails two weeks later!

Building and keeping relationships with your customers and prospects is a vital part of the nurturing process. But when someone wants to leave your opt-in list, the last think you should do is lock the door and refuse to let them out unless they meet all of your demands.

Instead of leaving with a warm and fuzzy “It’s okay … I may still come back and peruse your products and buy something when I’m ready” feeling, I’m leaving with the snarly “I wouldn’t buy anything else from you if you were the last vendor on earth!” attitude.

Whether you’re forced to provide an unsubscribe link because of compliance, or whether you do it because you understand the real value in database marketing, I’m begging you to let your customers and prospects leave on good terms. After all, you should be hoping that it’s a temporary break up — and not that bitter, “you’ll never see your kids again!” divorce.

Vendors in the Interactive Marketing Space React Positively to New FTC CAN–SPAM Rules

Vendors from the interactive marketing space are reacting positively to the news from earlier this week that the Federal Trade Commission has approved four new rule provisions under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM).

According to the FTC, the provisions–which are intended to clarify the Act’s requirements–address four topics:

Vendors from the interactive marketing space are reacting positively to the news from earlier this week that the Federal Trade Commission has approved four new rule provisions under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM).

According to the FTC, the provisions–which are intended to clarify the Act’s requirements–address four topics:

(1) an e-mail recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page to opt out of receiving future e-mail from a sender;

(2) the definition of “sender” was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message is responsible for complying with the Act’s opt-out requirements;

(3) a “sender” of commercial e-mail can include an accurately-registered post office box or private mailbox established under U.S. Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act’s requirement that a commercial e-mail display a “valid physical postal address”; and

4) a definition of the term “person” was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM’s obligations are not limited to natural persons.

Quinn Jalli, Chief Privacy Officer for online marketing firm Datran Media said he believes that legitimate marketers will embrace the new regulations, as they significantly reduce the complexity of complying with the law in a joint-marketing scenario.

“The FTC’s position is well in line with the prevailing philosophy in the industry, and the new regulations align the law with common-sense expectations,” he said. “[The new regulations] are a win for marketers and consumers alike.”

In a press release, Matt Wise, CEO of Q Interactive, an interactive marketing services provider, also announced support for the FTC’s revised definition of e-mail “sender”.

“Since CAN-SPAM’s inception, there has been pervasive confusion in the marketplace over responsibility for including opt-out links in e-mail, which has led to inconsistent execution of the unsubscribe process, increased risk of unsubscribe list abuse, additional and unnecessary costs for advertisers, and an overall reduction in the efficiency of the medium,” Wise said in the release.

Q Interactive said that under the revised ruling, companies advertising with e-mail can now designate a single e-mail “sender” responsible for adhering to the rules of CAN-SPAM, which include having the “sender’s name in the e-mail “from line” and providing a working opt-out link and physical address.

The FTC’s revised “sender” definition, Wise said “eliminates the confusion and frustration over multiple opt-out links for consumers and makes it as easy as possible for them to unsubscribe from unwanted e-mails, which, in essence, is the primary purpose of the CAN-SPAM Act.”