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TWSD: Don’t honor opt-outs

One of the big arguments various mailers make is that they make it easy for users to opt-out of mail, so it’s not a big deal. Users who don’t want to receive the mail, can make it stop. This was one of the guiding principles of CAN SPAM. The sender can make the decision to send mail to any recipient but they have to offer an opt-out.

The problem is there are a lot of major companies out there that don’t honor opt-outs. Since earlier this year I’ve been tracking when I opt-out of mail. Why? Because I kept getting the feeling that I’d opted out of mail before, but kept getting it.

The good(?) news is that it wasn’t my imagination, some of these companies aren’t honoring their opt-outs. The bad news is that major companies are not honoring opt-outs.

eFax opt-out confirmation

I’ve seen this page 4 times in the last 9 weeks, but I am still getting mail.

My notes tell me I’ve unsubscribed by clicking on the unsubscribe link from this efax mailing 4 times: 6/24, 7/18, 7/25 and 8/13.

I tried visiting the URL in the List-Unsubscribe header, but that link appears to be broken. It almost seems like eFax doesn’t really want to let me opt-out of their mail.

No page here. Find another way to opt-out.

No page here. Find another way to opt-out.

Of course, I don’t think this is a deliberate decision to violate US Federal law. I think it’s more likely the company eFax is using to send mail is incompetently run. There are lots of incompetently run ESPs out there. Sadly, though, as I looked into the issue to give eFax the benefit of the doubt and suggest their ESP was the problem, I discovered that the ESP in question was bought by eFax’s parent company back in 2005.

Incompetence in an email marketing program. I find it in so many places, but never cease to be disappointed at the incompetence. There is an important takeaway here, though.

Every mailer should check their unsubscribe process at least quarterly. Stuff breaks, things are updated but the updates don’t filter through the whole process, staff members cobble together processes and then machines fail and no one knows they’ve failed. These aren’t malicious problems, they’re a sign of neglect. No one should be using a negligent ESP.

1 comment

  1. How Not To Follow Best Practices | Email Building Blogger says

    [...] TWSD: Don’t honor opt-outs One of the big arguments various mailers make is that they make it easy for users to opt-out of mail, so it’s not a big deal. Users who don’t want to receive the mail, can make it stop. This was one of the guiding principles of … [...]

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