"email marketing"

Email Marketing: Rules of the Unsubscribe

Today I came across a spam email from a company called Laurie Pehar Borsh PR. According to its website, the company offers quite a bit for personal and business public relations including:

  • Page 1 ranking and consistent “top placement” on search engines
  • Email PR/promotional campaigns for business development

These are just a couple of the services the company claims to provide clients. I’m not usually one to criticize other companies, but there are two things about LPR that rubbed me the wrong way and I want to pass along their mistakes to help you avoid 1) making the same mistakes and/or 2) avoid doing business with a company like this.

First, I went to unsubscribe from their emailing list. I clicked on the unsubscribe link and was taken to a page that required my email address AND my first and last name. This is where they went wrong. 

The only thing you can legally require from someone to unsubscribe from your email list is their email. Anything else is in violation of the CAN SPAM Act and subject to a $16,000 fine… per violation… which means per email you send out. Yeah, how many emails are on your list?

The basic do’s and don’ts of email marketing are spelled out on the official CAN SPAM Act website, but here’s the specific language regarding unsubscribing:

You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request.

So, because I didn’t want to receive any more emails from LPR, I provided information in the required fields and then sent an email the contact email provided in the marketing material.

OK, so my first issue was with their violations of the CAN SPAM Act. The other issue I have is that they claim to offer “page 1 ranking and consistent ‘top placement’ on search engines.” 

I would be wary of any company that guarantees page 1 rankings in “search engines.” For starters, I’m sure they meant search engine results pages (SERPs). Secondly, unless you’re Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engines, you can’t guarantee any rankings.

If you’re doing email marketing, make sure you’re following the rules.