Email list unsubscribe link page handlers

I'm sure everyone at some point has created an account for some online shopping site or blog site, only to be auto-subscribed to their regular email newsletters. Most of these email newsletters have an "Unsubscribe" link somewhere in the fine-print footer, which should allow an easy way to opt-out.

However, what happens when you click the "Unsubscribe" link is non-standard, and ranges from some website opening up that:

  1. Confirms you have been unsubscribed (and optionally also sends you a final email saying you've been unsubscribed).
  2. Asks you to click a "Confirm" button before processing the unsubscription request.
  3. Asks you to enter your email address and select from a range of unsubscribe options.
  4. Asks you to login with your username and password, which takes you to your account subscription settings page, where you can click more stuff to unsubscribe.
In my opinion, option 1 should be the preferred implementation - if I'm in my email client and I see your newsletter for the 15th time, and I specifically look for the "unsubscribe" link, it means I'm pretty frustrated and just want to stop receiving that email. So if you take me to a site where I have to enter some username and password that I might not remember (possibly while I'm on my phone on the way to work for example), chances are very high that I won't do it, and that it'll make me even more frustrated. So my next best option is to just click the "Spam" button in my mail client, which achieves the same result for me (I stop seeing your emails). However, if a number of users feel the same and report your email as spam, then your email may very likely end up on some spam lists somewhere, which could lead to serious problems for you... 

So if you're running a legitimate operation, don't make it hard for your users to unsubscribe. Do the opposite and make it as easy as possible! 


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