Gmail Is Adding An Unsubscribe Link To The Top Of Marketing Emails

    February 21, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google is reportedly adding a new “prominent” unsubscribe link to the top of marketing emails, potentially driving a lot more unsubscribes for businesses. It was announced on Thursday at a conference in San Francisco.

According to a report from PCWorld, the link will appear at the top of the message next to the name and email address of the sender. In other words, if you put an unsub link at the bottom of your marketing emails, you won’t be making it any less likely that a recipient will unsubscribe, at least in Gmail.

Many marketers will no doubt see this as another blow from Google, which last year, already made it much less likely that users will even see their emails in the first place. Gmail added a new tabbed inbox style, which includes a Promotions tab, where marketing emails go to never be seen again. Ask Groupon.

Google says the new unsub link could help businesses, however, by giving users an easy opt-out without reporting the email as spam, which would make it more likely that future emails would appear in users’ spam folders. PCWorld quotes a couple of Googlers:

“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 our users to not have spam, and we also want you to reach the user,” Elie Bursztein, who leads Google’s anti-abuse research, told conference attendees.

This week, Google also launched a new search feature in Gmail, enabling users to search by file size:

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • JoeJerRonimo

    Another effort by google to monopolize the email market. Even if your friend gives you his gmail address, it will end up as spam since your email is not listed in your friends gmail address book.

    Even more annoying is that if you are running a business website and you get an order from someone who has a gmail account, the order details that you send them will always end up as spam as well. Then you get angry clients who contact you demanding to know about their order information. And the vicious cycle begins… so you eventually have to phone them voice to guide them to the gmail spam folder since they hide it in the interface and most gmail users do not even know they have a spam folder!! Gmail sux!!!

    As for backup now, I use an .edu email address which never ends up as spam. Now I send clients information from my web based mail and another using my .edu email.

    People!! Stop feeding the beast!! Get off gmail!!! Get far away from any google products!!

    • Ian Thomas

      As challenging as it sounds i find we can only work against gmail by being flexible and being pro active and reacting to these changes, gmail is what it is. We can encourage members in our lists to add us to their contacts, star their emails, or simply try and move us into the correct folder. These are all common issues, i’d like to think the best way is to think how can we beat the system, or at least to adapt. Good idea with the backup email account, nice to hear your ideas

  • Simon Collings

    This could be good and bad, I like the idea of a customer unsubscribing rather than spamming the email. Afterall I myself am a customer and sometimes I change my mind so want to opt out and I am more likely to remain loyal if this is easy to do. When we spam an email it can have a worse effect in the long run.
    If your website emails go to spam, you should check your email server is configured correctly.

    • http://www.signature.eu.com webmarketingworks

      As a marketing consultant and someone with a freemail account I can agree with Simon here. This is a good idea from the recipients pov as it gives them a chance to de-clutter their inbox. But if your a marketing professional concerned about open rates, click-thru and goal conversion, empowering the recipient to unsubscribe will skew your results. Long term I see other freemail accounts following suit as to be fair to my profession, there are a lot of spammers out there giving ’email marketing’ a bad name.

      • Simon Collings

        Hi WMW, I work for a company that sends monthly newsletters to about 28k customers, each time we get about 400 unsubscribes, it will be interesting to see if this update increases the 400. But again, if the subscriber IS interested in the content of the email, they won’t unsubscribe just because there is a link to do so. But if they do unsubscribe, this is much better than them clicking SPAM (which is even easier to do as “send to spam” is clearly available on most email clients).

    • JoeJerRonimo

      Hi Simon, I have a few e-commerce websites and have tested them by sending ‘business response’ style emails to some friends gmail accounts and they always end up as spam. I figured that since my business account email was not in their gmail ‘user’ list, gmail always considers it spam and this happens to everyone.

      I did find it interesting that when using my .edu email account, the email was not sent to the gmail spam folder and why I now send through my business and .edu email accounts since it seems google does not filter .edu email as spam.

      I sell web hosting products and replying to orders is very time sensitive. If a client does not receive their order information within hours, one out every five clients will raise a dispute. And once client has raised a dispute, they usually will not change their mind even after you successfully contact them with their order details. This is the mentality of some clients unfortunately, otherwise known as human ego.

      I use a VPS and I am quite sure that I have my email server configured correctly, but will look into the configuration again just in case and do some retesting. Thanks for your recommendation!

      I am convinced that gmail is the new AOL of email mentality!!

      • Simon Collings

        If your emails are getting treated as spam, you may want to check your reverse DNS resolves correctly, you can check this by using mxtoolbox.com (Using a VPS usually requires reverse DNS setup as your host will be virtual, ie yourdomain = your-ip and your-ip = yourdomain).
        By the way, This new feature on Gmail shouldn’t effect your order confirmation emails as they aren’t subscription based emails. The new feature is to be able to unsubscribe to marketing emails, where you are added to a list of subscribers.

        • JoeJerRonimo

          Thanks for the great tip for mxtoolbox Simon! I did find some unusual errors with my email server, now I just need to figure out how to resolve them. And at least I now know that I my IP is not blacklisted!

          My errors included:

          SOA Serial Number Format is Invalid
          ns1.xxx.com reported Serial 1374894277 : Suggested serial format year was 1374 which is before 1970.

          SOA Expire Value out of recommended range
          ns1.xxx.com reported Expire 1048576 : Expire is recommended to be between 1209600 and 2419200.

          I will do more testing, thanks again!