Gmail gets tough on spam with ‘unsubscribe’ button

medium_8270256961Unsubscribing from spam marketing emails can be a pain in the ass – no two ways about it. Although the more professionals email marketers often place an “unsubscribe” link buried somewhere in the small print at the end of their advertising spiel, this is often difficult to find. And of course, there’s the millions of emails we get each day that contain no such link whatsoever.

It’s annoying as hell, and so thanks be to God that Google has suddenly become sensitive to this problem – it’s just added a new “unsubscribe” button in its Gmail interface that lets you consign spam to the trash once and for all, reports PC World.

Google’s new unsubscribe link is being rolled out this week, and will appear in the header of certain promotional emails. The option shows up right next to the sender’s name and email address, and means users no longer have to root around for an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the text (if there is one). Clicking on this means you won’t have to go through the standard ‘unsubscribe’ procedure that usually involves being redirected to the marketing company’s website – instead, Google takes care of all that rubbish for you.

Spam killer or business killer?

 

While most Gmail users will be appreciative of this new tool, companies that make their dime from email marketing may be less receptive. Or at least they might be at first, but Google’s intention is not to kill off these businesses – rather, it wants to help them be more “transparent” and prevent their marketing messages from ending up in the spam bin.

As PC World reports, one of the biggest problems marketers face is their emails automatically being redirected to the spam folder. If enough Gmail users label messages from a certain address as being “spam”, ultimately it could mean that sender is marked as a “spammer” by Gmail’s servers, and if that happens it could mean that none of their messages will get through.

“One of the biggest problems with the Gmail spam filter is identifying unwanted mail or soft spam,” said Google’s Vijay Eranti to PC World.

This arises because lots of people opt in for marketing emails (or more likely, they just forget to tick the box saying “no”) when they don’t really want them. Later, when they get bored of receiving weekly or monthly newsletters, they resort to marking these messages as spam as a way of getting rid of them. After all, it’s far easier than trying to find that pesky ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom…

Essentially, the unsubscribe button is Gmail’s way of trying to strike a balance between keeping its users happy and not pissing off marketers too much – the idea being that fewer people will mark unwanted promotions as spam, so that those who do want to see them will still receive them.

photo credit: epSos.de via photopin cc

About Mike Wheatley

Mike loves to talk about Big Data, the Internet of Things, Hacktivists and hacking, but he also hates Google and can never resist having a quick dig at them should the opportunity arise :) Got a REAL news story or tip? Email Mike@SiliconANGLE.com.