Are you feeling overwhelmed, confused, befuddled, gobsmacked, and figure you’ll never be able to keep up with the rate of frantic change? In that case you might not be a citizen unable to cope with the pressures of living in a frenzied urban center but an online marketer having to deal with Gmail. The email service which originates from the bowels of the Grand Googleplex has certainly been trying the patience and even the sanity of online marketers with the constant developments in contextual advertisements, inbox tabs, and much more but it seems that it gets better (or worse according to your perspective) as now they have a fully automatic unsubscribe link. That had to be first in the list of email marketers wish list, right? Thanks, Google, we love you too!
Welcome to automatic unsubscribing
So how does this demonic… er… revolutionary new Gmail feature work? Any email which has been directed to the Promotions, Social, or Forums tabs in the Gmail inboxes of your email subscribers will now bear that lovely new automatic unsubscribe button. One click and the list-unsubscribe mechanism will be triggered and your subscriber will fall off your list faster than leaves off trees in a late autumn hurricane.
No list-unsubscribe? You’re a spammer
So since this is a list-unsubscribe trigger you figure you’re going to get the upper hand on Google’s latest efforts to mess up your email campaigns and use a different, alternative mechanism to provide your customer with the facility to readily unsubscribe from your email sends in accordance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM regulations? Well guess what? If you don’t have a list-unsubscribe link in your emails then it’s quite likely that Google will consider you a spammer and make your emails disappear entirely from the inboxes of the very same customers who double-opted-in! Google apparently doesn’t really seem to care how much formal permission your customer has provided your brand in actually asking to receive your emails, it has taken the position that when it comes to Gmail, Google Knows Best.
Breaching The Great Wall Of Google
It can be argued that the very aspect of a Promotions tab is fundamentally doing the user a disservice. Your customers who have provided you with a double opt-in formal permission to send your promotional emails into their inboxes may not be receiving them at all due to the fact that Google has erected this artificial barrier between your emails and the customers who actually want to read them. Various wags have cut right to the heart of what options are left to email marketers when their missives run into the Great Wall Of Google… and that’s to buy Google’s advertising! Yes, that is really a great way to improve the user experience: Keep the emails which a customer requested out of their inbox but “allow” the marketer to pay Google to get messaging to them! How altruistic!
Show your subscribers how to return to an inclusive inbox
It might not be too bad an idea to send your Gmail subscribers a little instruction with your next missive. Ask them to look at the very top right of their inboxes where there is a very small tiny cross right on the same level as the Primary, Promotions, Social, etc. tabs. Click on it and in the box which pops up have them uncheck the box titled “Social & Promotions”, then click save. Once they have done that, those nasty additional tabs will be gone and they will have returned to a logical, understandable, and sustainable, fully inclusive inbox! So much for the Googleplex determining what your customers can see or can’t see!
There are various opinions floating around the internets as to whether the new automatic unsubscribe link feature of Gmail represents a positive or a negative development to email marketers everywhere. It has to be admitted that the feature can certainly help to weed spam out of your customers’ inboxes and that is a definite positive. However, anything that gets in the way of your emails being read by the customers who have formally requested them should be regarded as a negative!