I have had the same personal e-mail address for 15 years. Yes, it might be time for a change, but so far the pain of keeping the same address has not outweighed the pain of getting a new one. At least I don’t think it has. OK. It probably has. But every visit to my inbox is like a trip down memory lane or a moment shrouded in mystery. How exciting!

For example, every once in a while I’ll get an e-mail from Mother Nature. I signed up for this e-mail newsletter in 1999 when I was working on a e-mail campaign for a competitor’s site, and I wanted some examples of what a health products e-mail newsletter might look like. And then there are the newsletters from every cause that I ever cared about and that circulated a petition. But I think I stopped signing those right around the time that the please-don’t-let-the-Republicans-cancel-Sesame-Street petition made the rounds for the second time.

I also get lots and lots of newsletters from retail stores. And this is where the mystery begins. I get endless “information” from Lord & Taylor, American Eagle Outfitters and something called LOFT. I swear to you that I have never bought anything from any of these stores. Ok. Once I was kind of into the jeans from American Eagle Outfitters, but that was during kind of a butch phase in 2002. But I swear I have never bought anything online from any of these retailers, so why are they sending me an e-mail every day?! We’re not friends. I don’t like you!

I have tried to unsubscribe, politely. I have tried to unsubscribe, rudely. Bath and Body Works was so annoying for a long time that I called them on the phone and launched a verbal threat, which probably sounded like “If you don’t stop e-mailing me, I will tell my vegan friends that you test your products on animals.”

And then there are the places that just simply should not have a newsletter. Really, people. It’s just kind of weird or creepy.

I get the Hoover newsletter. Yes, the vacuum cleaner people. About 6 years ago I got a wild hair and decided to change the filter on my 12-year-old vacuum that requires a new filter annually. I couldn’t find one in a real-world store, so I ordered one online. And there it was, the “enter your e-mail address” box. I filled it in, because they can’t possible process your order without it, and now I also get the latest news of vacuums. Awesome. Except I’m a Dyson girl, now.

And this brings me to the last and possibly weirdest newsletter I receive. The one from the cryobank. Yes, we have shopped there. But I find it hard to believe that telling people that sperm is on sale this month really drives a lot of online transactions. But they do it. And I get the newsletter. But it’s not like you can just spend a lazy afternoon with your credit card, selecting the biological parent for your next child. Well, you can, but I would recommend taking it just a little bit more seriously because this stuff is regulated. Heavily. By the government and stuff.

Anyway, here is the point. Your best marketing idea is probably not an e-mail newsletter. Don’t make one for your customers. Please don’t make one for your co-workers. My inbox is worse at work. Target your customers. Watch them. And last but not least, pay attention. If I have not bought a vacuum or a vacuum accessory from you in 5 years, that doesn’t mean you should try harder! Just take me off your list. I found you in the first place. I can probably find you again, if I need to. But if you have some sperm that you need to liquidate. I’m your girl.


  1. I too had made a positive enquiry to the nation rhematic association and was put on their
    email list even though I did not ask

    I had to send them two snail mails before it hit them

  2. Lee

    Annihilate unwanted newletters. Find out which companies are “sharing” your email. Works with the email you already have (even if it’s 15 year old).

    You may just love it.

  3. Charlie

    I feel your pain. Don’t know if you use gmail but this has proved to be an invaluable tool for dealing with the detritus of failed (marketing) relationships:

    No, I am not affiliated, paid, compensated, etc. with/by this company/app.



  4. Clayton

    In my experience, e-mailing their customer support (or if you can find it, any C-level executive’s) e-mail address mentioning the CAN-SPAM act, you will get a very prompt, courteous, and apologetic response.

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