My unsubscribe rules for marketing emails

My unsubscribe rules for marketing emails
Photo by Jason Leung / Unsplash

When I signed up for Fastmail a few years ago, I decided to keep my inbox as clean as possible. Not just zeroed out but also never getting any emails that were not important or useful to me. The majority of these emails were marketing emails and newsletters.

Some marketing emails, I care about, for example I love Tailwind and I'm excited to see updates from the team so I am interested in their emails. But some make their way into my inbox without my knowledge, a lot of these are related to places I shop.

Most of these emails, I just delete or ignore but every once in awhile, I'll run into an email that just bothers me so much I have to unsubscribe.

For instance, I got an email from MyFitnessPal that just had images of food with text like "get energy that lasts" or a person drinking water with the text "lose weight". Clearly this email is not for me, it's for a marketing list, I joined MyFitnessPal with the goal of gaining weight and I don't even use the app anymore.

So for emails like this, I first look for the "unsubscribe" link. Oftentimes, clicking the link does it. But once in awhile, some person has designed the unsubscribe flow in a very dumb way, it asks for the email again and when this happens, I go back to the email and specifically mark it as spam. This usually doesn't do much but I hope that at some point, these emails will not show up in my inbox.

So to simplify the rules:

  1. If the email contains an unsubscribe link, I click it and then that's it.
  2. If the email's unsubscribe link doesn't automatically unsubscribe me, I mark the email itself as spam and then go through the unsubscribe flow.