How long does it take to unsubscribe from an e-newsletter?

This post is more than 16 years old.

Posted at 13:00 on 22 October 2007

I clicked the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of an e-newsletter from the kind of company that I tend to think of as being fairly reputable.

Admittedly, it was one of those companies that require you to register on their website before downloading their software, and demand all sorts of intrusive and unnecessary information such as what you had for breakfast and which football team you support. Don't you just hate it when they do that?

The message said, "Thank you for unsubscribing. We will process your request within five working days."

Five working days?!!

Excuse me, but it so happens that back in the dim and distant past I actually wrote an in-house e-newsletter program, and I know for a fact that it does not take five working days to unsubscribe someone's e-mail address. In fact if it takes anywhere near five seconds, your architecture is completely wonky.

That part of the application is so easy to write that the kids that sell burgers at McDonald's could do it. It's a single SQL DELETE statement, that's all.

This wasn't the first time I'd unsubscribed from this particular newsletter either. Nor are they the only company that does something like this -- another one said that it would take ten working days.

Sometimes I wonder if they do things like that so that your "unsubscribed" e-mail address can accidentallyonpurpose "slip through the cracks" when they consolidate their mailing lists with addresses from other departments or companies.

I thought there were laws against this kind of thing.

Is it any wonder that young people these days are eschewing e-mail in favour of IM and Facebook, when even reputable companies are acting in ways more befitting of spammers?