Unsubscribe: “Page not found.”

page-not-foundI’m on an unsubscribe binge, and I gotta tell you, it feels great. I’m hitting the reset button on all my email subscriptions and gradually piecing back the ones I truly want/need. It’s eliminating unnecessary inbox clutter and drastically reducing the daily distractions.

Truly a breathe of fresh air.

An unexpected byproduct of this exercise is learning a lot about a company from its permission-based communication practices. That is, how difficult is it to manage your relationship with them? Or is its unsubscribe process toilsome, misleading, or worse still, a fraudulent dead end that seems to conveniently end with: “Page Not Found”?

Seth Godin wrote the book on Permission Marketing (literally) and he speaks of the difference between permission-based marketing and interruption-based marketing – a fine line indeed…

“The heart of Permission Marketing is giving the stranger a reason to pay attention, while Interruption Marketers hold people hostage.”

Whether you willingly subscribe to a company’s mailings at some point, or it mined or paid for your address without your knowledge, you, the consumer, should always maintain the power of the conversation. As Godin suggests:

“Traditional marketing has the consumer at its mercy. Marketers can send ads as often as they can afford to. With permission, the tables are turned. Consumers can cancel permission at any time.”

If a company doesn’t respect our relationship enough to allow me control of the conversation, by employing shady or otherwise misleading “permission” practices, that makes me its “hostage.” As a hostage, I choose to not further reward you with my attention, and especially not my business.

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