Are Unsubscribe Confirmation Emails CAN-SPAM Compliant?

April 28, 2010
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A new article in Email Responsibility discusses the debated topic of unsubscribe confirmation emails. Recently, the writer of the article unsubscribed from an Omaha Steaks email and received a “we have removed your email address” confirmation email message.  It was the authors first time ever receiving an email of this kind, and he wondered “Is this email CAN-SPAM compliant?”.

As the author found out through Experian CheetahMail compliance that confirmation emails are, in fact, CAN-SPAM compliant. The reason they are compliant is that the CAN-SPAM act explicitly exempts these messages that are “notification of a change in the recipients standing or status with respect to a subscription”.

Even though the email was CAN-SPAM compliant, how well was it received? Because the email was sent immediately after the unsubscribe request, the writer did not think he was being taken advantage of.  The email was very clear and concise with an unambiguous purpose. The beginning of the email stated  “We really hate to see you go! You see we just learned that you no longer want to hear about our special offers through email. We will of course honor your request.

A new article in Email Responsibility discusses the debated topic of unsubscribe confirmation emails. Recently, the writer of the article unsubscribed from an Omaha Steaks email and received a “we have removed your email address” confirmation email message.  It was the authors first time ever receiving an email of this kind, and he wondered “Is this email CAN-SPAM compliant?”.

As the author found out through Experian CheetahMail compliance that confirmation emails are, in fact, CAN-SPAM compliant. The reason they are compliant is that the CAN-SPAM act explicitly exempts these messages that are “notification of a change in the recipients standing or status with respect to a subscription”.

Even though the email was CAN-SPAM compliant, how well was it received? Because the email was sent immediately after the unsubscribe request, the writer did not think he was being taken advantage of.  The email was very clear and concise with an unambiguous purpose. The beginning of the email stated  “We really hate to see you go! You see we just learned that you no longer want to hear about our special offers through email. We will of course honor your request. The process to stop preprogrammed email offers may take one to two days”.  The message also included a clear subject line “We removed your email address…”.  Overall, this unsubscribe confirmation was well created.

The topic of sending unsubscribe emails is a controversial topic.  If a recipient unsubscribed on purpose, chances are they do not want to receive ANY emails from you again, even if it is an unsubscribe notification.  However, if you are going to send an unsubscribe confirmation email, there are a few guidelines to follow, provided by Anything Goes Marketing and B2B Email Marketing. First, make sure the email has is short and clear, with a direct message and a clear-cut subject line. This might even mean using a plain-text email that is light and has minimal graphics. You would not want the message to appear as another advertisement or newsletter email.  A good idea for the confirmation email is to include a brief survey, which will shine some light on why the recipient unsubscribed. Besides that, in case the user unsubscribed accidentally, a re-subscribe link should be contained within  the email. The email should also have contact information in case the recipient needs to contact the sender in the future.

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