Thursday, July 23, 2009

Official Gmail Blog: Unsubscribing made easy

Gmail's update: Official Gmail Blog: Unsubscribing made easy was poorly reported by Tech Crunch. Gmail is addressing a few issues with this feature:
  1. Reducing spam by making it easier for people to get off of mailing lists.
  2. Reducing false positives by making it easier for legitimate mailers to get annoyed subscribers off their lists.
  3. BREAKING THE CYCLE of irritated subscribers of legitimate lists creating false positives in Gmail's spam filter but not being removed from senders' lists. As a result, the next newsletter is still likely to be sent to the irritated subscriber.

I don't think Mr. Schonfled is aware how much power Gmail users have when they flag email as spam. He's also making the assumption that what is spam to him is spam to me and you. This is simply not the case. A vocal minority who decide your favorite newsletter is spam can prevent that newsletter from getting through to you. If enough Gmail users flag email from a sender as spam, Gmail can use that information to:

  • Block the sending ip address.
  • Report the ip address to a blacklist.
  • Move other like messages in other Gmail users' accounts to their spam folder
  • Feedback to the sender

Gmail will do any or all of these things based on the ingenious logic of Mr. Taylor and his team.

As much as we hate spam, we are also frustrated when email we want doesn't get through to us. Gmail is refining its tools to help keep the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. I like the move. We're going to add List-Unsubscribe to our headers in the near future as a result of Gmail's move.

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