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This is not your normal problems with permission post. In fact, I almost didn’t write this because it seemed too nitpicky. However, in the end I decided that Groupon.com is the perfect example of some one who gets it 99.99% right, and just needs that extra touch to push them over the edge.

And what is that extra touch? Just two lines of text.

Today my coworker BrianT decided to click an ad that he’d seen around the net for a website called Groupon. Groupon is a coupon website that uses mass coupon buys to get discounts for its members. It’s a smart idea.

Membership is amazingly easy. As soon as you enter you’re asked what city you’re in (it also geolocates your IP and guesses your city. It got me right.)

Then asked to enter your email address.

Then you’re in! They have full out membership options, but I honestly can’t see the value in doing that (I guess then you can login if you clear your cookies, but it seems just as easy to just re-enter your email address).

I honestly can not stop raving about the design of this site. Using geolocation to pre-fill forms, minimizing the signup process as much as possible, having clear calls to action on the front page… even though I am not the type who would use their service, I am blown away.

Well, except for one thing…

Nowhere was I told what they were going to use my email for. It wasn’t until I opened my inbox and found a groupon message informing me that by putting my email into the box above (you know, the one you have to put your email into in order to access the site) I was subscribing to daily emails. That’s a bad surprise.

Seriously folks, it’s not that hard. Here’s what the sign up process should have looked like:

That’s it. Tell me what I am signing up for, tell me I am going to get emails from you, don’t surprise me the next day. All it needs is two lines of text.

That said, their unsubscribe is painless and very well done, showing that businesses really are starting to get the importance of not sending email to those who don’t want it.

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