On April 30 I posted an article Make May Day “Unwanted Email Unsubscribe Day” with tips on clearing your Inbox of unwanted email — not spam, but subscriptions you signed up for, but no longer had an interest in. The article was well received and it received a few comments, too. (Surprisingly I received a lot of email about it).
One great comment came from David Bondelevitch at dB’s Blog, who said:
Not just the inbox; every once in a while I will run a search in my trash for the word UNSUBSCRIBE and click on most of them.
Be careful though, some e-mails use that link to phish, and all you are doing is confirming to them that it is a functional e-mail address.
Today, I am still thinning out the Inbox and unsubscribing to several emails.
I am also updating my subscriptions, too. Some of the email addresses I subscribed with are addresses I’m not interested in using as much as I used to. So in some cases I am going back the original signup web site and updating my subscription details.
Some of the companies I receive mail from have taken this into consideration, and they’ve included a “Update your Preferences” link at the bottom of the email. Some other haven’t prepared for this possibility. In extreme cases, I have had to unsubscribe one address and resubscribe with another.
So keeping the Inbox thin is just like keeping yourself thin. The work never ends, it’s an ongoing process.
I get way too much email. The bulk of my email isn’t even personal messages, but mostly bulk email messages from newsletter subscriptions, web site and online shopping offers, fan site updates, business networking updates, social networking updates, Twitter alerts, Facebook notices, etc.
I’ve been getting so many of these that the personal and direct business emails have been getting lost under it all in my Inbox. On top of that, my mail files has become so large that the file became corrupted, and I wasn’t able to delete some messages.
Usually I spend a little bit of time one or two days a week just going through my mail sorting and deleting. It gets hard to keep up with it all, and I am still missing important messages.
I finally concluded: “the best thing to do is to reduce the amount of email I receive”.
So the first of May is tomorrow. Often referred to as May Day, which reminds me of the distress call “Mayday!”. I have made this the day, starting today, that I sit down with my email, take a good look at these bulk mail messages, and I UNSUBSCRIBE to them.
Here’s what I did:
- In my Inbox I clicked the top of the column where it says “From”. This sorts all my mail into groups of people and organizations.
- Then I scroll through the list looking for the biggest groups. These probably send to me every single day of the week.
- If I don’t want to see their emails again, I open one and scroll down to the bottom to find the UNSUBSCRIBE link. Bulk mailers are supposed to include an unsubscribe link.
- I click the link, which takes me to their web site where I am clearly offered an option to UNSUBSCRIBE, or they notify me that I will no longer receive their emails. (They have 10 days to comply according to the FTC).
- After I’ve unsubscribed I close the email message, and then I delete all the other messages in that group.
So save yourself, your Inbox, and your sanity, and make today your Email Unsubscribe Day!
My blog post titled “I’m Fighting Acai Berry Spam Today” from August 14, 2008 is the 4th most read post on Skylarking. It has received a fair amount of commentary since April of this year. The comments have lead me to add an update to the post to clarify the intent and purpose of the article:
This post is about spam in general, using Acai Berry spam as an example. I aim to (1) illustrate that sometimes email addresses and web site addresses don’t match; and that when WHOIS is used, one may often find that they might not belong to the same person or organization. That should be a warning as to the legitimacy of the email message (or the site). Some readers have focused more on the email aspect of spam, but (2) much spam directs you to a web site. As some commenters have pointed out: email addresses can be spoofed, and tracking an email can be very difficult, BUT it is my opinion that web sites can be easier to track.
So my point is that spam is often associated with a web site, and discrepancies between a web site and an email message can often help determine the validity of the email and/or the site.
You can read the updated post and comments here.
Thanks to everyone who has commented, and added their thoughts, ideas, and knowledge concerning the subject. And thank you for leading me to elaborate further. I look forward to hearing more comments and thoughts on the subject.