Unwanted Email = Missed Opportunity

Matt Blumberg
By Matt Blumberg
CEO & Chairman

Return Path friend and investor Fred Wilson has a post on his blog today about his recent mission to unsubscribe from unwanted email. He mentions the oft-cited myth that clicking unsubscribe links will result in more spam. While this was never true of legitimate companies, it was, and still may be true of scammers, phishers and other bad actors.

Those of us in the email space just get this, right? But Fred’s blog is a good reminder that most consumers don’t. They don’t have the time or the inclination to decide – on the fly, with hundreds of messages stacked up like jets over LaGuardia, demanding attention now! – if this email is from a legitimate company, and therefore safe to unsubscribe from or not.

How did we get to this sorry state of affairs? A few ways, actually. The truth is too many legitimate companies do screw up the unsubscribe, as Return Path found in a report we released late last year. And, as we will reveal in a new report coming out this week, too many companies are still really lax with permission, leading consumers to get email they don’t remember ever asking for – another problem that Fred’s post hints at. And finally, too few companies send the kind of interesting, relevant email that rises above the din and can be described as truly wanted email. I feel comfortable saying that Fred gets plenty of email that he enjoys – ones that he wouldn’t dream of unsubscribing from. Not being in that wanted pile is a huge missed opportunity for marketers.

Does it cost more to create great emails that your customers will love? Maybe. But as we like to say at Return Path, good email may be expensive, but bad email costs a fortune.

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