Unsubscribe opportunities

From Wayne's Dusty Box of Words

There's nothing like the approach of Black Friday to highlight to you just how many online stores or physical stores with an online presence have your email address.

I started receiving … I don't know what to call them…warnings? In my email the week before Thanksgiving and on through the beginning of the week. These mailings told of the coming Black Friday specials and that I should eagerly await the final reveal of these special deals come Thursday. Some didn't bother with the drama and just started their deals early or told of the deals that would be in effect come Friday.

Dozens and dozens. Some from companies I hadn't dealt with in years.

So I decided this was a great watershed opportunity to thin the herd and started hitting the "unsubscribe" button on as many of these as I could bear to part with (i.e., most of them).

Whether that will slow future deluges or not, we'll have to wait and see. In my experience, not all unsubscribe buttons are created equal. In fact, some of them see purely decorative as I continue to get emails from one company after several attempts at unsubscribing and an email to the webmaster.

I am also particularly skeptical of sites that come back and say something like: you'll be removed but it may take up to 10 days to process. Really? What the hell takes 10 days? They are likely just setting a flag in the database (no merchant in their right mind is actually going to *delete* a known live contact). And, it's not like these are physical labels where some batches might have already been printed to prepare for the next mailing. It's times like these that leave me embarrassed for my profession.

The result? A handful of teary-eyed emails thanking me for my business and hoping I will return. Whether I actually receive fewer emails ahead of the next holiday remains to be seen. At least I *felt* like I accomplished something.

Uh oh, Cyber Monday emails are starting…