The whole ad blocking thing got me to thinking of another issue out there in internet land. I’ve heard quite a few people say that if they get annoying email, they add the address to their block list. This may seem like a great thing to do, but if you think about it, it’s actually not.
If you subscribed for something, but you decide you’re not interested or it’s not giving you what you wanted, any legitimate service is going to have a way to opt out. On both my newsletter and my blog subscriptions I have opt-out and unsubscribe options. If you don’t want the mail anymore, you can leave the list, no questions asked. Any good site will have the same option. As a matter of fact, according to the CAN-SPAM act, it’s against the law to not have a way to opt out.
If you just block an email, the sender won’t know that you’re no longer interested. They won’t be able to put you on a list of people to leave alone. They won’t get accurate metrics of how many people are interested in their content either. Unsubscribing is good for you and for the sender.
Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes a site or service is getting the bugs worked out of their mailing system, and maybe the day you block them is the day they figure out they were doing something wrong and set it right. If you unsubscribe but don’t block, you may get a separate email letting you know about that. Unsubscribing also means that if you change your mind, you can go and sign back up without worrying about digging through your block list to allow emails from them again.
One other thing I want to mention while we’re on the topic of subscriptions and mailing lists is the nasty parting email. If you’re on someone’s list and get an email that you don’t want, unsubscribe and let it go. Sending the person or company a nasty, vicious email about how they’re annoying you and you don’t want their mail and how did they get your address is just unnecessary and rude. In most cases you put yourself on their list and just forgot, so it’s not their fault. Even if you know for a fact that you didn’t sign up, a nasty email is just rude and probably won’t get you anywhere anyway.