Gmail Adds Unsubscribe Button in Attempt to Deter Unwanted Marketing Emails

Google is adding an “unsubscribe” feature to Gmail in order to help email recipients remove themselves from unwanted promotional lists.

Gmail users can find the unsubscribe button in the top right-hand corner of the header field in promotional emails. The updated feature means that users will now be able to stop emails that they do not wish to receive in a more efficient manner, rather than needing to look for the tiny opt-out option generally found at the bottom of an email.

This is what the new button looks like:

gmailunsubscribe

Google tells ClickZ that the unsubscribe feature in Gmail is actually not new, but this recent modification makes it more convenient for email recipients to remove themselves from these lists. Gmail users could previously already unsubscribe from unwanted messages with the “unsubscribe from this sender” link in the details dropdown. However, most found it difficult to recognize that link and ended up reporting promotional emails as spam, even though some of those emails are from legitimate senders. The modified feature should rectify that.

Although this new link seems helpful for email recipients, could it become an obstacle for marketers who are looking to promote their businesses via email? According to Google, this will not be the case, as the updated feature will ensure that businesses maintain a good sender reputation.

The rationale, says Google, is that if a certain number of people report a sender’s messages as spam, Gmail’s system will classify that sender as a spammer. The unsubscribe button will help email recipients define real spam and reduce spam reports on promotional emails that are legitimate.

It’s still unclear how Google differentiates between promotional and non-promotional emails, because the unsubscribe button appears in some emails (including those from The New York Times and Google itself), but not others (including those from Amazon and PayPal).

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