Recently I received an unpleasant email from a mailing-list subscriber. The subject line read “UNSUBSCRIBE ME!!!!” and the body continued:



Of course, the mailing list in question is opt-in only—nobody gets on by accident—and every mailing has an “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom. (The mailing list in question doesn’t even ask if you’re sure. Click it and you’re off the list.)

I debated for a bit whether it was kinder to simply mark the person “unsubscribed” in the database and move on to other work, or to write a short, kind letter acknowledging the request and pointing out the “Unsubscribe” feature in most mailing lists. In the end, after browsing the person’s company Web site and getting a sense of their corporate personality, I decided to avoid a potential angry response and just move on.

But it’s sad that this late in the life of the Internet there are still people who get on mailing lists, can’t figure out how to use an unsubscribe link, and then flip out like some sort of Glen Beck clone.

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