Unsubscribe – The easiest way to save time (and maybe even some money)

Today, the Free-For-All is delighted to introduce a new contributor, Ryan, who will be sharing his technical expertise, along with some handy tips and tricks to help you live a more stress-free digital life.  In his first post, Ryan is here to help you with the all-important act of Unsubscribing.

This morning, I awoke to find the same 964 emails in my inbox that have been there since last month. That number has continued to grow steadily every single day. As I scroll through these emails, I find some “interesting” subjects:

  •    How To Lose Weight By Drinking Wine!
  •    Get Medical Help For Your Child’s ADHD
  •    Prosthetics…with NO interest
  •    Try Vitamin-Infused Coffee FREE!!!
  •    ADVANCED Guard Dogs – Collies, Shepherds, Bull Dogs

These emails are called spam emails, or more commonly referred to simply as, junk mail. To be sure, I have no interest in any of these things (although losing weight by drinking something so good sounds pretty nice). So why am I receiving these?

I continue to wonder how these intrepid companies got my email in the first place. I’m generally very careful about who I give my email address to. Unfortunately, there are several ways a company can get your email address. Usually, it involves them buying your email address from a company that you thought would be trustworthy. My best guess for how I keep getting these emails is that a certain sports newsletter I signed up for several months ago sold my email address to a few companies. They in turn, sold my email address to yet more companies. The cycle goes on and on. In other words, I have a problem that 51% of email owners have. We receive a part of the 97.4 billion spam emails sent worldwide, each day.

This raises the question – how do I stop the flow of unnecessary emails? Simply put, you hit the unsubscribe button. Unfortunately, the simple answer doesn’t always solve a problem simply. So, here’s the in-depth way on how to unsubscribe from junk emails.

Per a law enacted in 2008, all advertisers must allow email recipients (that’s you) to prevent further emails from being sent to them. So, if a company is law-abiding, they will have something called an “unsubscribe” or “opt-out” link at the very bottom of their email. If you want to stop receiving emails from a certain company, you’d do well to find that link. Here’s what to look for:

 Or maybe something like this:

Now, all you have to do is click unsubscribe and the first step to de-cluttering your inbox is done.  Once you click that link, it will bring you to a new tab that will have one of the following:

  • A box to type your own email address into (to let the company know that your email address is off limits)
  • A list of specific types of emails you can unsubscribe from. For example, if you are unsubscribing from a health newsletter, you can unsubscribe from emails geared toward children but keep receiving email for adults. You will also be given a choice to unsubscribe from all further emails, if you so choose.
  • A simple message stating that you have been unsubscribed.

Now that you have finished these simple pieces, all that’s left to do is wait. Per the same law mentioned earlier, the sender has 10 days to remove you from their mailing lists. That means you may receive some emails for a few days after you unsubscribe.

Unsubscribing from emails can take time, particularly if you have several different companies sending you emails. Yet, if you’re sick and tired of having to delete all the junk mail that collects in your inbox, or maybe just tired of being asked for money every day, it’s worth the effort. To help pass the time as I unsubscribe, I’m going to go enjoy my weight-loss wine and vitamin-infused coffee as I pet my advanced guard dog.