The Opt-Out Cop-Out

I receive a great deal of unsolicited email.  I’m sure you do, too.  Aside from the obvious spam promoting products of a dubious or base nature, much of the spam I receive is from people who have harvested my email from my various Websites.  Since each Website lists its own email address, it is common for me to receive the same message several times, once for each site.

Usually they claim that I have “opted in” to receive messages.  I seriously doubt that — certainly not multiple times.  Even one opt-in is likely a result of being tricked, as opposed to actually desiring a deluge of mismatched messages.

When I receive this type of spam, I look at the from email address.  If its suspicious looking, such as (this URL is actually available if you’re interested), then I assume it be fraudulent; any attempt to “opt-out” will merely confirm to the spammers that they have a working email that someone reads.

Op-Out Nonesence

However, if it looks to be from a bona fide, albeit misguided, company, then I will go to the trouble to opt-out.  Overall, I have had good success in doing so.  Usually, clicking on the opt-out link takes me to a Website acknowledging that I have been removed.  Other times I need to confirm my request.  The image to the right is one such example.  Without reading the fine print, do you click “cancel” to stop receiving email or do you click “ok” to opt out?

Certainly some people click on the wrong button (I almost did), inadvertently confirming that they want to receive more spam.  I’m not sure what this accomplishes, but to make an already angry person angrier.  Playing these types of tricks is an opt-out cop-out; legitimate companies should avoid such ploys.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.

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