Public Service Announcement: Unsubscribing vs. Reporting Spam

Just for anybody who doesn’t know:

If you sign up to receive emails from a company or person, reporting that email as spam is one of the shittiest things you can do. You wouldn’t believe the messes it causes. It prevents that company or person from communicating with you, but it also jeopardizes their ability to communicate with the people who do want the emails.

If you no longer want to hear from the person or company, please just unsubscribe instead of labeling that email spam. If there’s a chance in hell you might have opted in to email and just forgotten, just use the unsubscribe link instead of hitting the spam button. Every reputable sender of such emails will have an unsubscribe link in their emails.

Reputable, ethical companies and people are horrified by the idea of sending email to people who don’t want it. Plus, their subscription for the service is usually based on the size of their marketing list, so totally aside from the ethics of sending out unsolicited email, they don’t want to pay for people on that list who don’t want to hear from them. So they aren’t gonna be mad if you unsubscribe. Nobody’s gonna yell at you.

If you report the email as spam instead of unsubscribing, though, you might be able to hear them yelling from two states away, ’cause you just made a crucial element of their business *way* more complicated, messy, time-consuming, painful, and possibly expensive.

I do not add people to my email marketing list. Somebody who is not me has to enter an email address and submit it to get on my mailing list. Ideally that somebody is the owner of the email. But prank and spambot signups are a thing – it is possible to receive unwanted email marketing from a company who did not do anything unethical or against any terms, laws, or policies.

And now, thanks to what is probably some combo of spambots and people who don’t understand or care how this works, I have to “revalidate” my subscriber list, which is not a hell of a lot better than having to start from scratch. I have absolutely no idea when I will have time to do this with everything else on my plate, and I only barely understand how this spambot business works, so for the time being and for who-knows-how-long, I have lost my best means of communicating with my customers.

Between that and this ongoing USPS fuckery, I am about a breath away from having an aneurysm at any given moment.

So please, if you care at all about small business or artisans making a living or having access to cool stuff that artists and entrepreneurs can create for you, make sure the emails you sign up for aren’t getting reported as spam, and use the unsub feature if you don’t want to get those emails anymore. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but we’ll be very grateful that you took a second to unsubscribe instead of sending us to the spam folder.

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