A while back I pointed out a few things that some websites do that are just plain wrong. Keeping with the "Seriously, don't do this" theme, the next episode is regarding the ability and method of unsubscribing from an email.
This has been inspired by the living hell that is CBS Sports junk email thanks to filling out a March Madness bracket.
Rules of the unsubscription process
- Always have a clear unsubscription method in your email communications, though the myth that it is legally required has been busted, this shows you or your company have at least a shred of decency and respect for your customers.
- Clicking an unsubscribe link should never, under any circumstances, require me to log into your service. I'm logged into the email account that I verified as linked to my account; if my email has been hacked and the hacker is so kind as to unsubscribe me from junk email, so be it, that's not your problem.
- There should be an option to disable all types of nonessential email, and all options should be honored. You'd think this last one is a no-brainer, but I've got every single box unchecked for CBS Sports and I'm still getting an email every day from them. I went so far as to check subscriptions to all CBS affiliates, I have none, I still get email.
A violation of these basic signs of respect show that you don't respect your users. Plain and simple. You might have marketing stats that the unwanted emails drive some amount of extra traffic to your site, but providing a valuable service and respecting your customers will drive a lot more long term growth because when people get a valuable service that gives them a good experience they tend to keep using it and share it with friends.
So please, don't do this.
Stay tuned for future rants on best practices online.