Dec 17, 2007

One-Click Accidental Unsubscribes Fix

A little while back we mentioned some spam filters were automatically clicking every single link inside of email campaigns, to check out the reputation of the landing page.

The problem was that these spam filters were also automatically clicking our one-click unsubscribe link. While it’s not a widespread problem (yet), we have started to receive calls about unwanted unsubscribes. We traced most back to Trend Micro.

Anyway, most people recommended a 2-step unsubscribe process in response to this. And that’s a logical recommendation.

But whenever I actually work up the energy to click an unsubscribe link, I want off. NOW. Taking me to a landing page where I have to click yet another button—or even worse—enter my email address again, is not acceptable. It just looks pathetic. Like it’s a lame attempt to keep me trapped on the list. Especially when the confirmation buttons are confusing:

"Yes, I don’t want to unsubscribe" and "No, I want to stay on the list."

Our programmer (The Chad) came up with a novel workaround, allowing us to keep the one-click convenience, while using the 2-step as a fallback…

How it works

When you click a MailChimp unsubscribe link, it takes you to a landing page that has a JavaScript redirect on it. If you’re a human, and you’re using a browser with JavaScript enabled (most browsers), you won’t see this landing page. It’ll just say "You’ve been unsubscribed." Basically, it’ll work like a one-click unsub link.

But if you’re a spam filter, you probably don’t have JavaScript enabled. So the redirect won’t kick in, which will leave the spam filter sitting at the landing page, requiring the 2nd click to confirm your unsubscribe. If you’re one of those cavemen using a browser with JavaScript disabled, that’s fine—it falls back to the 2-step process.