Dennis blogs about his experience trying to unsubscribe from classmates.com list over on deliverability.com. His experience touches on a number of points I have discussed recently.
Dennis initially signed up for a free account at classmates.com around 10 years ago, but has asked to be unsubscribed multiple times. Recently classmates reactivated his subscription again, sending him marketing mail he did not want. Reactivating subscriptions is an extremely bad idea. Not only is it a CAN-SPAM violation to send mail after an unsubscribe has been received, but senders really end up annoying recipients by doing this. Think about it, these are people who have actively told the sender that they do not want mail, and the sender goes out and decides to override the recipients wishes.
I can only imagine how horrible the delivery for this mailing was. ISPs measure how many non-existent addresses senders attempt and mailing a list that has addresses accreted over 10 years is going to have a massive number of dead addresses. Not that many people have the same address now that they did 10 years ago. Some of those dead addresses are probably now being used as spamtraps by the ISPs, another hit to delivery rates. Finally, there are the complaint rates to consider.
For those people who received the mail and want to unsubscribe, Classmates.com does everything possible to discourage that. Dennis describes the process he went through.
- I had to login to remove myself (not an email addy or usename, but some 9 digit number I didn’t recall)
- Got the “Verify the email on the website was right” page, click remove
- Got another page that said PLEASE DON’T leave us page with offers, click remove again
- finally presented with a you have been unsubscribed (again) and will take effect in ten (10) days.
Here again, we see Classmates.com with a CAN-SPAM violation. Granted, these are rules from the recent rulemaking, which has yet to take effect but this type of unsubscribe is prohibited in the future. Moving past that, it is clear the the intent of Classmates.com is to heavily discourage people from opting-out. This seems a common theme among marketers, keeping as many people on a list as possible. Given the current ways ISPs make blocking and filtering decisions, focusing on list size is not a good idea. Focus on the relationship, the engagement and creating value for recipients, let folks like classmates.com have the biggest list and the lowest delivery rates.