Oct 15, 2004

blowing the opt out opportunity

You’d think by now – more than 10 months after CAN-SPAM went into effect – that companies doing legitimate business via email would have their act together about opt-out language and workflow. 

Not so much.

That thumbnail (click for a bigger version) is a just-captured screenshot from Jet Blue’s unsubscribe page.  The language reads…

To unsubscribe from our mailing list, please confirm the information below and click submit.
Email address:  michael@the…
Unsubscribe:  ( ) IN     ( ) OUT

Do I choose “in” to “opt-in” to their unsubscribe list?  Or do I choose “out” to opt out of their subscription list?

Now, under a strict interpretation of the law, Jet Blue is probably in compliance.  Their message contained a clear and conspicuous method of unsubscribing – a link to this unsubscribe page; and the law doesn’t specify any ease-of-use requirements for the web-based opt-out process. 

That process, by the way, should be considered an opportunity to thank the customer for their business, not to confuse and obfuscate the unsbuscribe process.  Companies that do it right use appropriate copy and design to (a) try to convince the customer to dial back their subscription preferences instead of unsubbing entirely, and/or (b) thank them for the privilege they’ve had of landing in their inbox, and apologize for disappointing them.  Despite the millions of dollars of investment in a “friendly” brand image, all Jet Blue manages to do here is further annoy an already annoyed customer.