It’s been a while since we had a “problems with permission” post. I don’t know what to credit this to, perhaps marketers really are getting their act together regarding permission based email.

Then this month I started noticing something popping into my inbox.

Earlier in the week I had downloaded a case study from (I don’t really remember why), and while signing up I had thought “well, maybe this will be a good test of their use of opt-in”. I noticed, quite to my surprise, that they hadn’t prechecked anything, which was a good sign.

However, their mandatory information policy wasn’t. Every single field on the form must be filled. Every one. The result? Well, here’s my information. If you ask for needless amounts of information (why do you have to know my zip code? I don’t even know my zipcode) people will give you false information, which is a lot more destructive than a field left blank. Further, all of this for a simple case study seems a little bit extreme.

The result is people fill in information like this:

But whatever, right? Lots of people do bad form design. The problem here is that soon after I started receiving digests from them. Again, the content wasn’t very promotional, and if I had signed up for them I would have liked them, but I didn’t. I don’t know if something got crossed in their system or in my sign up, but I was receiving mail that I didn’t want.

Being Opt-in savy, I decided to unsubscribe, however…

(if what’s going on here isn’t clear: my password is wrong)
What do I do at this point? I’m receiving email I don’t want, from a company that I signed up with just to get a white paper. Do I go through the process of retrieving my password, waiting for the email, logging in, unchecking the options that are checked (assuming that they are, though frequently unchecking options wont change a thing).

Or do I just hit “mark as spam”?

Being who I am, I retrieved my password and unsubscribed. Unfortunately most people wont. When confronted with a problems like this, especially associated to junk accounts, they will just hit “report as spam” and let that be it.

A small handful of these, and suddenly you start finding your deliverability rate dropping, ISP’s complaining, and problems for your entire email campaign.