How to Unsubscribe from Mailing Lists
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The List-Unsubscribe header is an optional chunk of text that email publishers and marketers can include in the header portion of the messages they send. Recipients don't see the header itself, they see an Unsubscribe button they can click if they would like to automatically stop future messages.
Right now the header is used to enable an Unsubscribe button in Windows Live Beta the next version of Hotmail and for more than a million Cloudmark toolbar users. If history is any guide, we'll see a similar feature in Outlook soon. A List-Unsubscribe header might look like this: August 31, 3: Groupsand many others. Including a List-Unsubscribe header in your emails will reduce complaints, improve deliverability and improve the experience for your subscribers.
It's easy to do and doesn't cost anything. It will reduce complaints because your recipients will be able to easily and reliably unsubscribe if they want to. Frustrated users are likely to hit the "Report Spam" button or complain in some other way unsubscribing from a mailing list the email that they requested, hurting your sender reputation. Including a List-Unsubscribe header is viewed positively by most ISPs and spam filters, and allows unsubscribe reputation services such as Lashback to more reliably monitor your unsubscribe compliance.
There has been a lot of "urban legend" around whether or not you should click on unsubscribe links in email messages you receive. Many ISPs warn against using any unsubscribe messages in the onilne help for their users. The words "click here to unsubscribe" can still set off some spam filters! Using a List-Unsubscribe header provides a standard way for users and software to know how to unsubscribe.
Having an Unsubscribe button show up instead of a Report Spam button will make a big difference in how your recipients perceive the messages you send and your organization.
Most importantly, this is drop dead simple to do. Most software packages support it as an option if its not there by default. Most others will allow you to add "custom headers" pretty easily.
To start, a generic unsubscribe address such as "unsub-listname domain. Including an Unsubscribing from a mailing list button for senders with a good reputation will reduce "false positive" spam complaints, reduce customer service requests, and improve the experience for your customers.
It has critical mass now and will make a difference for your unsubscribing from a mailing list the day its implemented. By implementing the Unsubscribe button as an alternative to the Report Spam button, no additional screen real estate is needed and it remains a one-click command for the user. It still is in beta so things may change and may want to cut them some slack if some issues are still being sorted out.
In Windows Live Beta, there is an area just above the message headers that show the Subject and who the messages is From where informational messages are displayed. When "Unsubscribe" is clicked, a message is sent to the address specified in the List-Unsubscribe header only mailto is supported at this time and the sender's From unsubscribing from a mailing list is added to the user's personal block list.
I'm worried that this behavior will confuse users when they unsubscribing from a mailing list to resubscribe later. The Spam-L mailing list is a good example of the List-Unsubscribe and other RFC headers in use for a discussion style mailing list.
August 27, By placing the List-Unsubscribe header within the signed portion of the headers and message, receivers can be sure that the header is legitimate and has not been modified or falsified. As an additional safeguard, receivers might choose to only recognize List-Unsubscribe URLs whose domain name match the authenticated domain. In this standard example, the List-Unsubscribe header is signed within the DomainKey signature and the URL within matches the domain that has been authenticated.
This List-Unsubscribe header is suspicious because it is not within the DKIM signature and goes to a different domain than the one that is authenticated. If you're having trouble implementing the List-Unsubscribe header or an Unsubscribe button, I'd love to try and help. Send me an email at list-unsub deliverability. Here is an example of a default Lyris configuration with the List-Unsubscribe header.
Lyris really implemented this well not surprising since I was working very closely at the time with John Buckman, founder of Lyris.
August 30, 3: At LashBacksenders are often approaching us asking whether they should use the list-unsubscribe header. By and large, the biggest concern many senders have is the impact the use of the list-unsubscribe header may have on deliverability.
While the presence of the word 'unsubscribe' may be perceived as a sign of commercial email, I am not aware of any cases where messages may be filtered for the mere presence of this word, yet alone the list-unsubscribe header.
Several years ago, Spam Assassin did assign points for the list-unsubscribe unsubscribing from a mailing list, but these tests were moved in version 3. If filtering companies and ISPs were to filter mail based on the list-unsubscribe header, they'd be filtering some of the best mail that consumers want, including the following:. Without spelling out all the benefits of the list-unsubscribe header, I urge senders to ignore any fears of a negative deliverability impact.
Next time, I will spell out how it can actually improve deliverability. Posted by Eric L. StrongMail has unsubscribing from a mailing list had the ability to add in custom headers since its inception. This mean of course that any customer can take advantage of the List-Unsubscribe header unsubscribing from a mailing list and it has already been tested in customer situations with success.
You can specify a specific email address to send un-subscription requests to or even use a un-subscription URL if supported by the receiver. The StrongMail platform offers many different methods for allowing end-users to unsubscribe. As customers take advantage of our unsubscribing from a mailing list reporting system which again includes support and reporting unsubscribing from a mailing list un-subscriptions internally, they can make this a seamless process when combined with the List-Unsubscribe header.
In StrongMail, the unsubscribe system can also generate a personalized and unique unsubscribe option for each email based on the recipient and campaign. You can apply the uniquie option as well for the List-Unsubscribe header by applying "List-Unsubscribe: Learn more about Unsubscribe from the Lashback blog. ReturnPath just posted about List-Unsubscribe to their online resource center.
From Google's Bulk Email Sender guidelines:. This is not a substitute method for unsubscribing. Well, if this posting by Bill Nussey is as prophetic as most of his comments, we may see an Unsubscribe button at AOL in Here is an example of a default MailUp configuration with the List-Unsubscribe header. MailUp implemented this header since the new version 6.
This header is by default added to each email message sent by our customers. Only MailUp resellers can customize it.
The link provides a one-click unsubscribe: Please report abuse here: You should be able to just include the List-Unsubscribe header normally. Ideally, it would be after the Domain Keys unsubscribing from a mailing list so that the List-Unsubscribe header is signed as well.
Email Marketing By the Numbers: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. The Quiet Revolution in Email Marketing. The Truth About Email Marketing. Senders - why you should include it Including a List-Unsubscribe header in your emails will reduce complaints, improve deliverability and improve the experience for your subscribers. Mail clients - why you should add an unsubscribe button If you're an ISP that hosts webmail for users or a software developer that creates a mail client MUAthen you should consider adding an Unsubscribe button to the UI.
Consumers - why you should click Unsubscribe Clicking the wrong button could cause you to miss messages you want in the future. Honor Roll - Who has implemented it so far? How to get help If you're unsubscribing from a mailing list trouble implementing the List-Unsubscribe header or an Unsubscribe button, I'd love to try and help.
If filtering companies and ISPs were to filter mail based on unsubscribing from a mailing list list-unsubscribe header, they'd be filtering some of the best mail that consumers want, including the following: Case study - StrongMail Systems StrongMail has always had the ability to add in custom headers since its inception. Here is a screenshot one of the ways you can take advantage of the header: AOL Unsubscribe button coming soon? Upon being clicked an email is unsubscribing from a mailing list sent to the mailto: Enter your email address: Subscribe to this blog's feed.
Interesting juxtaposition - RFC mailto.