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Just to be clear, I'm not talking about
spam here. I get a lot of email from
companies who I've given my email
address to, and who send emails to
me with detailed, working,
instructions for unsubscription. The
problem is, often I can't be bothered
to download the email, scroll to the
click on the "Unsubscribe"
link and do whatever it
So, I propose that
there should be a standard
unsubscription method. It would
probably be done by forwarding the
email and your email address to an
email address supplied in a header
field of the original email. This would
mean that unsubscribing to emails
could become a feature of your email
client. So, without having to open the
email, you could select it and choose
'Unsubscribe' from a
Adhering to an easy
unsubscription method like this
might seem counterproductive to the
companies sending out emails, but in
fact they don't want to send emails
out to people who aren't reading
them anyway (but who find it easier
to delete the email rather than
unsubscribe), and if it is generally
known that it will be easy to
unsubscribe, more people will sign
up for these emails.
RFC 2369: Use of URLs as Meta-Syntax for Core Mail List Commands
See section 3.2. It is still a URL, but since its in a standard spot in the mail header, a good client can give you a button to activate it. [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]
Some applications that support above
[krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]
Halfbakery idea from 2002 [pashute, May 20 2008]
||I don't know about more recent bulk mail programs, but the ones I used long ago (before spam, when such programs were only used for useful purposes) had a standard way of unsubscribing - reply to the email with "unsubscribe" as the subject. Done.
||I think this already exists in the form of a mail header with the name "List-Unsubscribe:", but I'm trying to dig up what RFC describes its use.
||[update] I found it, it is RFC 2369. See link.
||[krelnik] Interesting that there's
something close to this - do you
know if anyone actually uses it?
||Googling on "List-Unsubscribe" returns about a half million hits, mostly archived messages, so it appears a decent number of list managers support it. Yahoo Groups supports it. See second link for a list of apps the authors of that spec collected that intended to support it.
||Interesting. I wish more email
clients, and more of the mail I get,
I'll delete this idea