Unsubscribe

The opt-out process starts from a personal link that each subscriber can find on newsletters or on its profile page.

What's inside

Note: since February 2024, Gmail and Yahoo mail services announced new requirements for senders.
These new requirements for bulk senders (those who send more than 5,000 messages to Gmail or Yahoo addresses in one day) need to be satisfied or it may result in rejecting message delivery to their customers.
Read more on SPF, DKIM, DMARC dedicated page.

We can have two kinds of cancellations: the one-click (preferred) and the two-clicks.

The selection between the one-click and the two-clicks unsubscribe

The One Click Unsubscribe

With this working mode, the click on a unsubscribe link produces the immediate cancellation. The subscriber sees a goodbye message and no other actions are required.

This kind of cancellation is recommended if not required by all major email providers (Google, Yahoo, and so on).

The unsubscribe links produced by the tags {unsubscription_confirm_url} and {unsubscription_url} works the same way.

The Two-Clicks Unsubscribe

With this working mode, the click on a unsubscribe link brigs the subscriber to a confirmation message, where it should click on a link to complete the cancellation.

The the process works exactly as the one-click version.

The confirmation message shown when the two-clicks unsubscribe is selected

The unsubscribe links behave in different modes:

  • {unsubscription_confirm_url} triggers anyway the one-click cancellation
  • {unsubscription_url} triggers the two-clicks cancellation

The Reactivation

You may want to offer the subscription reactivation, if the subscriber cancelled by error. The goodbye message is the right place where to put it, adding a link using the URL generated by the {reactivate_url} tag.

This link restores the confirmed status and shows the “reactivated” message.

The Goodbye Email

You can optionally send a goodbye email to who cancel the subscription and on that message you can use the {reactivate_url} tag to offer the option to step back and reactivate the subscription.

That option is less widely used than in the past probably because those messages could be considered unwanted communication and marked as spam.

The List-Unsubscribe headers

List-Unsubscribe is a special (hidden) header (RFC 2369) which can be added to emails when they are sent to a list of people, like a newsletter.

That header contains “instructions” to unsubscribe, which can be used by email clients (like Thunderbird, Gmail, Outlook, …) to show an unsubscribe button.

Not all email clients support it and, even if supported, it is not always shown.

Starting by February 2024, major email providers require the presence of those headers.

The Special List-Unsubscribe-Post Header

Newsletter adds even the List-Unsubscribe-Post (RFC 8058) which should prevent unwanted cancellations due to link scan by bot.

Office 365

It was reported that Office 365 SMTP does not allow (or could be configured to now allow) emails containing the List-Unsubscribe header. If you use that service and have delivery problems, you can try to disallow the header.

Cancellation via email request

The List-Unsubscribe header specification supports even an email address. You can specify that address and email clients can use it to send a cancellation request to that email. You should process those emails as they cannot be intercepted by the Newsletter plugin.

A bit of story: in the past and they are still used, the distribution lists were managed by special email messages. Sending a message with “subscribe” in the subject and to a special address was used to subscribe to a mailing list. In a similar way, sending a message to the same management address with subject “unsubscribe” was used to cancel the subscription.

Tech note

If you look at the source of a newsletter, you should find something like:

      List-Unsubscribe: <https://www.yoursite.com/?na=uc&nk=...>

where the “…” are replaced with a unique subscriber token. If the header is not there, probably it is removed by the mail service of your provider.