Gmail Offers Unsubscribing

Google hates junk mail. That’s a good thing. Google recently followed Hotmail’s suit in allowing Gmail users to report email as spam and simultaneously send an unsubscribe request to the email sender.

The only thing bothering me about this as an email marketer are the options an email user sees:

You can only “Unsubscribe and report spam” or “Report spam”. What if you just want to unsubscribe? “If you want to unsubscribe without reporting the message as spam, click ’show details’ in the top-right corner of the message, then click ‘Unsubscribe from this sender.’”

I don’t think most email users will think to themselves, “I am receiving this newsletter because I signed up for it, so it’s not technically spam. I’ll take the extra two steps to unsubscribe only.” Email users shouldn’t have to worry about that kind of stuff, anyway.

Unfortunately, email marketers have to worry about it. Every time someone marks an email message as spam, it hurts the sender’s reputation.

The movement of email providers to incorporate unsubscribe services into their interface highlights a very disheartening situation: some companies are making subscribers jump through hoops to unsubscribe, or not offering the opportunity to unsubscribe at all.

Time will tell if only offering “Report spam” as an option will hurt senders. In the meantime, email marketers are holding their breath, and Gmail users are happy.

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