RIM: We don’t need no steenkin’ opt out

As the one who manages email communications for a nonprofit and someone who gets a lot of email across 4 accounts, I see both sides of the CANSPAM coin.

Research in Motion, I’m calling you out for not playing fair.

Back when I had a Blackberry, I was happy to get emails from them about new features, downloads, etc. Now I have an iPhone so I don’t want to get emails about Blackberries anymore.

Once you get on RIM’s mailing list, it ain’t so easy to get off.

Case in point is this email I received yesterday:


To comply with CANSPAM, the bottom of the email contains a link to unsubscribe:


That “here” link lands me:


The main Blackberry Owner’s Lounge page…and I’m not even auto logged in.

Luckily, I remember the password so I log in and navigate to the “My Account” page. I first look for an easy way to cancel/delete my account, but finding no such option I instead hunt for something that sets email preferences. Ah, there it is.


I hit “Next” and get an error because "Is this your first BlackBerry smartphone?” is a required field. Jeez. I guess it wasn’t when I first signed up. I select something there, hit “Next” and get another screen of “tell me more so we can market to you” questions.


Now they have to know how big my company is before I can stop getting email?!? Fine. I select an option. But no, not done yet. The page reloads. Took me a few minutes to realize that even though it’s not marked with a “*” the “Was your Blackberry smartphone provided by your employer” question is required. I select that and finally, my preferences are updated.

Out of curiosity, I went back to the text of the law and what they’re doing is not illegal. The law states that marketers have to provide an opt-out mechanism via a link. They don’t have to make it easy.

You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. You may create a "menu" of choices to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any commercial messages from the sender.

So let’s see how the competition handles the same issue, shall we? I subscribe to Apple’s “New Music Tuesday” e-bulletin. I dug up a recent one and clicked the “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom. This is where I landed:


That’s what I’m talking about.

Another reason to love my iPhone. 🙂


3 responses to “RIM: We don’t need no steenkin’ opt out”

  1. I understand. Lately I've been getting some college alumnus email. I don't remember signing up for it but when I click on their 'unsubscribe' link I have to log into LinkedIn – which I also don't remember ever doing so I don't know my LinkedIn info and the only way to have these stop is to create a LinkedIn account which I don't want to do. So for now I just delete the email. I may have to tell my spam filter to treat it as spam. Sigh.

  2. Judi, I too manage opt-in emailing for my company and this kind of stuff drives me batshit. Abuse like this pisses off readers, and then they're even less likely to trust other senders, legitimate or not.

    I have to admit, now when I receive messages like this (or worse, the one's I've never opted in to) I simply flag them as spam. It's not about "what can we legally get away with" it's about what satisfies the recipient.

    If a company wants to play cute with my trust, I'll punish them with a spam complaint in return. Only when they get enough complaints registered might they be forced to reconsider their unsubscribe method.

    I hold a special place in my heart for the morons who require you to be able to log in before you can actually access any unsubscribe capability. These tend to be the same goofs who haven't implemented their double opt-in properly, so I'm on lists i didn't subscribe to, and can't get off because I never created an account in the first place.

    On a slightly related note – would you mind sharing what percentage of your initial repsondents don't complete the full double opt-in? I'm interested in hearing from others what kind of "unconfirmed" percentage their lists experience.