Unsubscribe: Escaping Unwanted Email

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We all get unwanted email. It’s hard to avoid when signing up for various services online. Before you know it websites will begin sending you a constant stream of advertisements. Many will follow the CAN-SPAM Act and leave a convenient unsubscribe link at the bottom. Despite the fact that the moniker ‘can spam’ sounds like an enabler, it has done a lot to rid the web of spammers. That is, it helps to stop the automated messages that ceaselessly flow to your inbox.

Most email providers have fairly good spam filters. Gmail and Yahoo pretty good at keeping licentious emails to your inbox. Regardless, some still get through. Not too long ago I was playing a video game and in order to continue I had to sign up for MochiGames. To proceed I needed Mochi Coins. These can either be bought or you can go through an ad inundation process where they tease you with uninteresting offers and require your contact info. I still get spam emails from that unexciting effort, (and never finished the game either!)

Unsubscribe Home

Now there’s a way to protect your inbox once and for all. Unsubscribe.com does just that- they manage the process of unsubscribing from unwanted email lists.

Unsubscribe has a couple options to eradicate unwanted email. (Sadly, none of them include sending the offending party to jail.) The first is an extension for Gmail. This installs via Firefox, Chrome, or Safari and adds an Unsubscribe button within the Gmail inbox. (See image below.) All you have to do is select the email you’d like to unsubscribe from and press the Unsubscribe button. From there the removal process will begin and the email will be deleted. There’s also a similar plug-in for Outlook. This installs as an plug-in to the ever popular mail client. Once set up it adds a button to the toolbar which removes selected emails. It’s compatible with Outlook 2010 (32 and 64 bit), as well as Outlook 2007.

The last way to use Unsubscribe accounts for all the other mail services. Just forward the email to Unsubscribe and they’ll take it from there. The way it works is when you register it uses your email address as your username. Thus, when you forward an email from that address it knows which account to unsubscribe.

Behold, the Unsubscribe button about to be clicked

It’s not any more complicated than that. Getting off unwanted mailing lists has never been easier. In my testing I noticed a few features which were helpful. Let’s say you register with your Yahoo mail address, but then you also have to have a Gmail account that receives its own share of spam. After installing the extension it will let you remove emails from the Gmail account as well. It prompts you for username and password so it knows which account to associate it with. Being able to unsubscribe from email lists from multiple accounts is quite helpful. The other helpful feature is the summary emails they send. These can be either daily, weekly, or never (of course!), and contain a list of all the email lists you’ve been unsubscribed from. It lets you know the status of each one so you know when it’s safe to break out in celebratory dance.

Unsubscribe has two offerings, both of which are attractive. The first is free which lets you unsubscribe from up to five email lists per month. If you’re like me you may need the unlimited plan. See, after I signed up for the ads to complete the video game, the stream of spam emails began. Each one has a link to unsubscribe, but after clicking it they add me to one of their affiliate company’s lists. For this situation the unlimited package is definitely in order, which is $20 per year. A small price to pay for freedom from the deluge of marketing offers.

Unsubscribe offers a simple and intuitive way to get rid of unwanted emails once and for all. For persistent offenders they even offer to follow up via the tenants of the please don’t CAN-SPAM me Act. With Unsubscribe, protecting your inbox can finally become a reality.

  • Steve Gibson

    I must caution, in testing this the amount of spam I received went up by orders of magnitude. I’m glad I used a spam email address, not my main one. Can’t be sure it was caused by Unsubscribe, but it appears that way…

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