You are dead to me or don’t like me.


I received a very weird email today from someone who’s marketing list I belong to. I shall not name names because I have replied to them and have not gotten a response yet. I also think it’s nicer this way because all I am trying to do is share an opinion on the matter for future reference to everyone that does email marketing. If they read *MY* blog, they will know who they are.

This is their email to me:

Subject: you are being removed from my list (Mr. Bobby Doe)
On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 11:25 AM, Mr. Bobby Doe wrote:

You haven’t opened one of my emails or clicked a link in the last 6 months.

Which means this email address is dead, or you just don’t want to be on my list any more.

So I’m getting ready to remove your from my mailing list unless I see “signs of life” from your email address.

Please click this link just to let me know you are still out there:

I you click the I will assume your email address is still good and will NOT remove you from my list.


Mr. Bobby Doe


This link simply takes you to my blog, nothing else.

Please visit my blog so I know not to remove you from my list.

WOW! I was really taken aback. So I immediately penned this response and sent it:

I don’t think that’s a fair assumption. In fact I’m kinda taken aback by this accusation.

I actually DO open your email and read them. Just because I do not click a link though doesn’t mean that I don’t:

  • a) get any value from emails
  • b) actually go to the links in the emails

I don’t always click on links in emails, that’s how a lot of people get trapped by crappy viruses and spyware, etc. Virus protection software is also only as good as the habits of the user.

I’m not saying you would ever do that (spam me with a virus link) – BUT- it is a habit for me to sometimes simply copy and paste a top level URL to go see a site. And not just blindly click away on every link I ever see. Now the way I see it today: is I don’t believe I should have to click on that link and visit your blog, to prove to you that I’m human.

You either want me on your mailing list or you don’t.

What if I was on a 6 month vacation?
What if I was ill, and just haven’t been online in awhile, but was looking forward to all your emails piled up in my inbox?

The scenarios are endless.

Is this really proper email marketing? I think that unless an email “bounces” as a failure, then I’m keeping you on my list until you physically complain or unsubscribe yourself.

Or was this whole email just a “bully tactic” and marketing ploy to get me to visit your blog today?

Sincerely perturbed,
Erika L Walker Rich
aka “WebErika”

Now, I never did visit this guy’s site today. I was too busy feeling insulted. But that is irrelevant. If this is a new way to talk to your email marketing list, I don’t think I’ll ever use this tactic. You can stay on my email list forever and ever and ever, even if you never visit my site. At least you are letting my email sit there in your inbox and stare at you.

What do you all think? You like his approach? Would you use it to speak to your hard won list subscribers?

UPDATE: Mr. Bobby Doe just replied to me. I give him major kudos for the super fast reply, but I wasn’t really satisfied with his answer from a “marketing mentor” point of view. He apologized, said I must of gotten it “by mistake” and then said:

Here’s a tip: if you remove people that don’t read your emails you can save money on your email service and increase your open rates and your click-through rates.

OK. I can appreciate the need to save money – BUT – see my scenarios above. What if they were on a sabbatical? What if they were ill? What if they are like me, don’t have “images enabled by default” (because that is how you track opens) or can only receive “text” emails. But you read everything he has to say and like me, only copy and paste links?

I still don’t believe that kind of “culling” tactic is smart. I believe there’s definitely better ways to manage your non-opens. I know I have learned one thing from him today: What not to do to my own list subscribers.

What do you all think?


  1. This email would really leave a bad taste in my mouth were I to receive it. I’d like to think that I wouldn’t be this rude to my users, knowing that sometimes people get too busy to visit websites or may have forgotten all about it, or some other reason.

  2. Wow! In the annals of bad e-marketing this ranks right up there.

    Here’s a tip: don’t insult your email list. There was a different way to do this, as we both know – and that is to ask “Do you still want to be on the list?” I often get that email from some of the lists to which I am subscribed and I answer yes to the ones I want to continue.

  3. You are DEAD ON (and should tell him to go ahead and consider you DEAD to him, too lol)

    I’m not really sure how it will save him so much money that it warrants doing this at all. However, if is list is that astronomically large, he should have better methods for figuring out who is “active” and who isn’t. At minimum, he could have written that email in a much more professional manner. What’s with the guilt trip? I, too, would feel bullied.

    If I were that desperate and technically inept… and truly wanted to know who is interested and who isn’t… I’d send out a note stating that the mailing list has been revamped and interested users should please re-subscribe.

    There are many ways to go about this. I think your instincts are correct… it’s a ploy to get traffic today in spite of his money-saving B.S.

    I’d have done 1 of 3 things were I you upon receiving that email

    1. Do nothing and wait for the next email to come along. When it’s revealed that you were never removed, tell him he’s full of crap and to get bent.

    2. Replied with “you just assured that I will no longer be interested. Please remove me.

    3. Replied with “get bent.”

    (In other words, I applaud your efforts at education and diplomacy cuz I wouldn’t have wasted the time on him. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. When I read this I clearly get the message that “if you aren’t doing anything that benefits me you are no longer welcome to email me”

    There are easier ways to cull names off email lists without alienating everyone on them.

    This guy is a douche and doesn’t even deserve a reply.

  5. I got the same email today so we are on the same marketer’s list. Needless to say, I thought the same thing. I didn’t bother replying – if he doesn’t want me on his list, then I don’t want to be there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. This is a valid method of segmenting a list, though it should have been done in a much more professional manner.

    Cost savings for slimming down a list could be considerable. It’s not uncommon for companies to send millions of emails over the course of a year. If each one costs an average of even just one cent to send, that still adds up fast. 4,000,000 x .01 = $40,000/year. Of course, even removing 50,000 names only saves $500, but itโ€™s money that can be used elsewhere.

    While it is possible that you may have been away from your machine for six months, it seems unlikely that would be the case for most people. Itโ€™s more likely the mail is either being deleted (with images off) or just going into a spam bucket.

    Like you, I often will copy the URL into my browser rather than click – but we are techies, and probably in the minority.

    Now having said all of that…once you remove someone from your list that does not mean it must be forever. That’s even true for people that opt out. CANSPAM allows you to periodically send a non-marketing message to those people and ask them if they would like to re-subscribe.

  7. I agree, to assume I am not worthy because I take no action is VERY short sighted. I know in marketing, that everyone is not in need of my services at the same time. I also know that just being exposed to my subject line is doing my brand some good if only for the awareness perspective.

    I do segment the openers and email to that group from time-to-time. I NEVER take my list for granted and always try to provide great information. I am a solutions provider.

  8. My first thought was, “that’s an absolutely brilliant way to get people to click on links leading to malware [trojans that create botnets etc.]”


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