One-Click will save them all: stopping your newsletters ending in the spam folder

 “The Internet is for cats. Therefore everything on the Internet can be justified with a cat analogy.” 

Sven Krohlas, Mail Security Specialist, 1&1, and Tobias Herkula, Head of Deliverability & Abuse Management, optivo GmbH, started with a story about the once-off purchase of a cat-scratching post (which solves the problem of the cat scratching your furniture) and the subsequent newsletter for cat-scratching posts that’s almost impossible to unsubscribe from (your new problem). Rather than try out the various email addresses you may have used to make the purchase or fill out complicated unsubscribe forms with Captchas etc., many annoyed recipients just mark the newsletter as spam. 

An informal analysis of people’s spam folders showed 25% adult content, 29% erectile dysfunction, 23% (legitimate) newsletters, 13.5% phishing and 9.5% other. So almost a quarter of recipients’ spam folders are filled with legitimate newsletters. Not only that, spam filters are being trained to filter out non-spam newsletters. The senders lose both reputation and customers. All of this can be avoided with a one-click unsubscribe link.

A one-click unsubscribe method was created almost 20 years ago with RFC 2369 https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2369, e.g. unsubscribe@newsletter… However, this  is not always reliable, as you cannot be 100% sure that the email with the unsubscribe request is successfully delivered. 

RFC 8058 https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8058 solved this problem with one-click functionality for list email headers; by clicking on unsubscribe, a URL is opened and the user is unsubscribed, an email does not need to be sent (full disclosure: Tobias Herkula was involved in developing RFC 8058). AOL, Yahoo! and Gmail have already implemented it and Microsoft plans to do so at a later stage. Senders can very easily protect their reputation, avoid frustrated customers, and prevent their newsletters being sent to the spam folder, just by implementing this new Standard.