Want to see a WWF style smackdown? Put a marketer and a delivery expert in a room and ask them to discuss frequency and whether or not more mail is better.
The marketer will point to the bottom line and how much more money they make when they increase frequency. The delivery expert will point to inbox rates and user engagement and point out that too much mail drives users to ignore the mail.
This isn’t actually unique to marketing mail. Send a lot of mail that doesn’t engage recipients and recipients are trained that they don’t have to actually pay attention to the mail. Some of them hit delete. Some may even report the mail as spam.
According to Cloudmark, this is exactly what happened when LinkedIn informed users of the recent data breach. They estimate that up to 4% of users who received the fully DKIM authenticated mail about the data breach deleted it immediately without reading it. This is higher than notification emails from other social networks.
Cloudmark suggests that part of the problem is that LinkedIn has an unclear opt-in process. Instead of asking users for preferences, LinkedIn assumes that all users want all the mail LinkedIn cares to send them. Then LinkedIn makes it difficult to find the page to change mail settings. This means recipients are very trained to ignore mail from LinkedIn. I know I ignore most of it. Anything that’s not a “want to connect” gets filed in the “I’ll read it when I’m bored” mailbox. So far I’ve not been bored enough to read any of it.
But I’m not sure it’s just about too much email. LinkedIn is a company that is heavily forged in phishing mail. Since May 1, just one of my email addresses has received over 50 messages purporting to be from LinkedIn.
All of these emails are phishing attempts. The mailbox you’re looking at is not registered at LinkedIn. None of them are legitimate LinkedIn messages. I suspect part of the problem and the reason that so many people treated the mail LinkedIn Password mail as spam is that the phishers have trained recipients that unexpected mail that mentions LinkedIn and a password is spam. I suspect most people never even opened the mail from LinkedIn. They saw the subject line, and just hit this is spam.
Authentication, careful wording, and all the right things LinkedIn did with the email doesn’t matter because there was nothing in the message list to distinguish this mail from all the phishes.