It’s hard to believe as we are closing in on 2023 that there are still email marketers and other bulk email senders who don’t immediately remove people who unsubscribe from their list, but it’s true. So this article is for those people who need to understand that you really really need to remove the email addresses of people who want to opt-out from your mailing lists as soon as humanly possible. Even though CAN-SPAM gives you 10 days to do it.
Given that we are updating this article just before Christmas in 2022, let us put it to you this way: you know Santa’s naughty or nice list? Well, inbox providers keep naughty and nice lists too. So do the people who subscribe to your mailing list! And “nice” is honoring their opt-out requests immediately. “Naughty” is, you guessed it, continuing to email them after they have told you to stop. Because “Stop sending me email” means “Stop sending me email,” not “Keep sending me email for ten more days.”
Unfortunately, many email senders seem to view email addresses as nothing more than a commodity. They forget that the email address is linked to a real live person – and that real live person has just asked you to stop sending them email.
“But CAN-SPAM gives us 10 days,” those email senders counter. “Why should we lose that precious commodity – that email address – right away when we can instead attempt to wring every last drop of email sending goodness out of it for another 9 days?”
Indeed. Why should you?
Well, to start with, that person has already told you that they do not want your email.
So, are they actually going to buy something from you, or take whatever action you are hoping that they will take, given that they have already told you to stop communicating with them?
As we in the biz say, “not bloody likely.”
Instead, will they be really annoyed because they have asked to be removed from your mailing list, but you are still sending them email? (Very likely.)
Will they care that CAN-SPAM allows you a leisurely ten days to actually remove their email address from your mailing list? (NBL.)
Will they report you as a spammer because you are still sending email to them after they asked you to stop? (Most likely.)
And will this affect your email deliverability?
So, when someone asks to be removed from your mailing list, are you going to do the smart thing, and remove them as soon as possible? Or, are you going to wait, on principle, as many as 10 days because, by golly, CAN-SPAM allows it?
Think of that 10 day limit (and that’s what it is, a limit – not a reprieve) as “must not go past”, not “may continue until.”