Adventures in Unsubscribing (Spoiler: It Ends in “Grrrrr”)
I get a lot of email and a lot of it is “corporate spam”—mail that companies think they get to send to me because we have some sort of existing relationship. Here’s an example from Microsoft:
How do I unsubscribe? Check the footer, of course!:
They cleverly use “contact preferences” instead of the far, far more appropriate word “unsubscribe”, and manage to link not “contact preferences” but instead “Microsoft Privacy Statement”. It takes way, way too much thinking to figure out how to unsubscribe from this thing.
OK, so I click the link for “Microsoft Privacy Statement” even though that’s not really what I want and land here:
There are SEVEN different sets of preferences I need to check to unsubscribe from everything (I added the highlights). SEVEN! This is a software company…can’t you guys write some software to do this for me?!
I followed a partner email link to get here so after reading way, way too much, I see that I need the fourth link, which takes me to another site where I’m supposed to click “Manage Your Account” (after logging in!):
Are you kidding me?! Not only is this not an unsubscribe page, there’s no link called “Manage Your Account”. Let’s do “View…” instead:
Nice! The site is totally broken in Chrome. I’ll continue to the “Membership Center”:
Umm…MS, Imma Let you finish but 1995 has the best browser war messages of all time. ALL TIME! You’re telling me that I have to use IE for this thing? I’m not a browser zealot, but this is ridiculous. I’ll proceed anyway and weather the “rendering issues”:
OK, I guess not. Fine, I’ll use IE (and log in again):
After digging through the menus, I finally found “Manage Program E-Mails”. Let’s see what that does:
YES! Finally! Or…wait. That’s not what I want at all! I want to keep those notifications. I don’t want the marketing stuff. Where’s the marketing preferences?!
I give up. Grrrrr.
Here’s what Microsoft needs instead:
Easy to find unsubscribe link. Clicked and I see:
Done (no login required!). The only way Monitorus could improve this would be by adding an “undo” button here.
Microsoft, let me know where I can send this.
Math Zombie said on 2010-11-09
You may have mentioned this but I’ll be honest, I didn’t read the whole blog. I noticed a new thing (new to me at least) with gmail the other day. I clicked one of my corporate spams and told google to mark it as spam and they said they would try to unsubscribe for me as well. I clicked ok and then I don’t know what happened. Either way it is win, win.
Sarah said on 2010-11-09
Seems pretty clear that this is not unintentional on their part…if you can’t unsubscribe without jumping through 30 hoops, then you’ll still get their marketing crap and they win.
Michael Haren said on 2010-11-09
@Math unfortunately this is through my corporate email so I can’t “report spam” like I can in GMail. I also don’t really want to do that anyway because I do want the official messages, just not the marketing.
@Sarah that’s possible, but then: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” -Hanlon’s Razor