Jun 8, 2006

Unsubscribed By A Friend

Sometimes you send an email campaign, and a recipient forwards it to a friend. The friend gets the email, thinking "great, that idiot just subscribed me to another list," and so they immediately hit the "unsubscribe" link.

Problem is, they just unsubscribed your recipient from the list! What to do?

It’s rare, but it happens. That’s why our system always sends an email
to the person who unsubscribed, just letting them know they were
removed from the list, and that if it was a mistake, they can click to

But some marketers go to great lengths to tell people to NOT click the
unsubscribe link if the email was forwarded to them. Most of them add
some text like:

"We sent this email to you@youraddress.com because you opted in at our website."

Here’s an example:


Here’s one that really goes all out:


The idea is that:

  1. If you forward to a friend, they’ll know that it was originally intended for another recipient, so there’s no need to unsubscribe
  2. If you’re signed up to this list with 10 different email addresses, you’ll know which one will be unsubscribed if you click the link (and that you’ve got 9 more to remove, so don’t get mad if you keep receiving emails)

There’s nothing wrong with either approach, but they just take up so much space.

So we’re going to start using the following approach in our MailChimp emails:

Unsubscribe john@johndoe.com from this list.

Just one, simple line of code. It also avoids the use of "click here," a phrase that gets flagged by lots of spam filters nowadays (as in, "click here to unsubscribe" and "click here to order!" and "click here now!" and "Click here for increased you-know-what…").

If you host your list with MailChimp, the code to use would be:

<a href="*|UNSUB|*">Unsubscribe *|MERGE0|* from this list.</a>

We’d automatically insert your list’s unsubscribe URL wherever we see the *|UNSUB|* tag, and we would automatically insert the original recipient’s email address wherever we see the *|MERGE0|* tag.