Gmail adds simple ‘unsubcribe’ button for marketing emails

26/02/2014

Google has integrated an unsubscribe option to Gmail, helping users opt out of marketing messages without having to search for obscure unsubscribe links in emails.

Starting this week, a new, clearly marked “unsubscribe” link will appear at the top of the header field in marketers’ emails.

Previously only appearing for a small percentage of users, the feature will now be made available for most promotional messages with unsubscribe options.

Email recipients do not need to take action for the links to appear, Google said.

The change simply makes it easier to find the “unsubscribe” link. With the new setup, the link appears prominently at the top of the message, alongside the name and email address of the person or company sending it. So what used to be like searching for a needle in a haystack will, for some, become more like an open invitation to say good-bye. By clicking the link, users can opt out of a company’s emails without leaving Gmail.

“One of the biggest problems with the Gmail spam filter is identifying unwanted mail or soft spam,” said Google’s Vijay Eranti, who heads anti-abuse efforts at Gmail. The issue, he said, is that sometimes customers opt into a company’s send-to list but later decide they don’t want the emails. And if they can’t find the unsubscribe button, sometimes they mark the message as spam.

“We want to empower users with an easy way to control what they want to receive.”

When they report the message as spam, that sends a signal to Google. If enough people report the messages as spam, Google’s system may classify the sender a spammer. In the long run, that could cause delivery problems for all of the company’s emails.

“We want to empower users with an easy way to control what they want to receive,” Eranti said.

The tool was announced in front of an audience of email marketing professionals at an industry conference in San Francisco held by M3AAWG, an anti-abuse messaging group.

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