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Message Details

Date Sent:      March 02, 2010
Subject:           Don't Sweat the Email
From:               John Bondon
I consider myself a pretty easy going kind of guy. I appreciate all the little things life has to offer, so I don't usually let the big nor the little things bother me. Usually.

But one little thing that does get my goat in managing this hiking website and associated mailing lists, is when someone reports my Weekly RSVP hiking emails (like the one you're reading now, for example) to their Internet Service Provider (ISP) as junk mail. This gets my goat because I've tried to design the website to be as user friendly as possible. And I've gone to great lengths to make unsubscribing as easy as possible, too! Add to the fact that everyone who joins our mailing list(s) does so voluntarily. I'm not buying commercial mailing lists and spamming the community and forcing people to be part of our group. Instead, you have to seek us out, and manually add your name and email address to our list before you start receiving any emails from me.

If you later change your mind and decide you don't want to be a part of this group or receive emails from us anymore, no problem. I don't take it personal. But I sure would appreciate members would use the tools I spent many hours developing to UNSUBSCRIBE oneself from the system. This method is really the quickest and easiest for everyone concerned. For anyone who's been a member for awhile now has heard me make this plea time and time again.

Yeah the amount of requests I still get from people who request to be removed is staggering. The part that is really troubling for me is when someone asks me to remove them and grows immediately impatient when this doesn't happen right away. I think some people forget that I do have a day job, a family, and numerous other interests that consume my time. This website, though fun, it is a hobby and never was intended to be a money making venture for me. Therefore, as such, it receives lowest priority when it comes to unsubscribe requests, as 99% of the time when someone sends me an email requesting to be removed from our email list, they are doing nothing more than forwarding to me the very link they could have just as easily clicked to immediately take care of it themselves! After all the hours I spent making the unsubcribe process as easy as possible, that, to me, is like pouring salt on the wound!

Unfortunately for some who are either too impatient to wait for me to unsubscribe them manually, or they simply have forgotten what they originally signed up for and now view our emails as a nuissance, whatever the reason, we do have those who report my hiking emails (and our Member's Only emails) as "junk mail" to their internet service provider. That is an action I take personal offense to. Anyone who does this and I find out about it, is immediately removed from membership. Not because I am angry or to retalliate, but simply because marking us as spam will negatively affect our "email reputation" on the internet. And this could negatively impact the deliverability of emails to all our legit members who still want to receive them. Besides, if you mark my email traffic as spam, that's a pretty clear sign to me that you are no longer interested in receiving my emails anymore, so why keep you subscribed?

This is not a unique problem to our email list. Any bulk email list you are a part of, whether a notification email list you requested to be part of or a legitimate commercial mass mailing list, typically has some mechanism to monitor and remove those recipients who either bounce as undeliverable, or utltimately mark such traffic as spam.

How do I know when someone marks my email as spam, you ask? Simple. I ask your Internet Service Provider to notify me when this happens and they oblige. They don't want to deal with it either! And they know if I am a legit "mass emailer" I will maintain my list to only those who truly want to hear what I have to say.

This is another example of the tasks that take time in managing an email list, yet go on behind the scenes. And if you're not in the habit of managing email lists yourself, probably not an activity you were even aware of!

The good news is that most people who wish to leave our email list(s), DO use the self-service tools to unsubscribe. To them, I say "THANK YOU!". To the rest, I am trying a new trick -- you may have noticed that the unsubsscribe information has been moved up to the TOP of this email. That's no accident. I'm trying everything I can think of to make it as obvious and as easy to unsubscribe. If this latest attempt doesn't work to minimize the number of manual requests for removal I receive, I don't know what will! If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know!

Happy Trails!

Happy Trails,


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