Easy In, But Not So Easy Out
4/25/2012 3:46:59 PM -
Have you ever had to fume through a commercial e-mail or e-newsletter in order to find the link to unsubscribe? It can be irritating, I know. Even sometimes, if you're unlucky, you wouldn't just see the unsubscribe button or link.
Personally, I have given up on a few occasions in that regard. Sometime back, I signed up for a couple of category news alerts from the New York Times. Going forward, however, my interests dwindled for some of the contents, and so I began to feel spammed. Logically I tried to unsubscribe, but I realized it was quite cumbersome, needing me to go through some web pages, steps, and so on. So I quit (at least for now) and the e-marketer won.
It's a powerful philosophy: making 'opting out' or unsubscribing extremely unappealing. That's why it has become a legendary tool in the grandmaster toolbox of e-marketers. In any online activity when you willingly check a box or submit your email address to receive information on something that interests you, you are known to have 'opted in'. Later when you get fed up or feel your privacy (i.e the moral right of individuals to avoid intrusion into their personal affairs by third parties) has been compromised, you should be able to 'opt out' or unsubscribe.
But no e-marketer wants you to leave for any reason, good or bad- although it is legally binding on them to give you that option. So at best, they try to circumvent your ambitions of leaving, making it absolutely laborious and frustrating for you to opt out. One way is to remotely 'hide' the unsubscribe button at the footnote of the page. Others will link the opting out process to a cumbersome process to other web pages where the frustration continues.
From the e-marketer's point of view, such drills are understandable- especially when getting and sustaining the permission of the prospect is an imperative. However, when consumers lose interest and so begin to feel spammed, the last thing expected is a sabotage in opting out. If that happens, everything about the brand- directly or indirectly- appear detestable. This is not the ideal.