Send me another newsletter and I’ll burn your house down

Send me another newsletter and I’ll burn your house down

On a busy day I’ll receive more than a hundred newsletters. On a slow day that number is around 30.

I know this because a few weeks ago I set up a filter in Gmail to file all emails containing the word ‘Unsubscribe’ into one sub-folder. Once a day I browse through it and fish out the false positives. I’m left with an archive of newsletters, which makes it painfully clear that this is becoming a problem.

Newsletters are hot right now and can be very useful. We send out a fair bunch of them ourselves. When managed well, a newsletter can convert to customers and strengthen your relationship with your audience. The problem is that too many people know this, and getting people subscribed to your newsletter is just too easy.

When I receive a hundred new newsletters, I didn’t actually sign up for a hundred new newsletters. What happened is someone found my email address somewhere and decided to add me to their newsletter because ‘you never know’ and ‘more is better.’

We need more friction

Again, I understand why they are doing it. But too many people are doing this and it is getting out of hand. Spam levels might be down, and it’s hardly a problem anymore for most people, but it has been replaced by newsletters that take time to unsubscribe from.

Apart from my hack that filters out all newsletters from my email, I hope that companies like Mailchimp will soon add an option to make an email address double opt-in. I’d even pay for that.

That way, when someone imports my email address to their database they would get an error message that says ‘Sorry, this user has opted out of newsletters and get only be added manually from a form.’ That would add enough friction to keep out 99 percent of all newsletters, and the rest I can handle myself.

Until then, I’ll just filter them all out.

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