Earlier this week we made a small change to how unsubscribes are handled for all of your subscribers. Before I get into the details though, a bit of a background…

The problem

For many people, email can be a common way for unwanted nasties like worms and trojans to infect a computer. To combat this, many anti-spam companies have integrated their software into email clients and mail servers. One of their major lines of defence is to quickly check each of the links in an email to make sure they aren’t trying trying to trick an unknowing user into opening one of these goodies. To do this, the anti-virus software actually visits every link in your email. Trouble is, that means they also take a ride on our single-click unsubscribe process and accidentally unsubscribe that person from your list.

We’re big fans of the single-click unsubscribe method, so the last thing we wanted to do was force a confirmation step on every person who wanted out. Once we tracked down the problem, we decided to start logging these accidental unsubscribes to figure out the least intrusive way to prevent them. It turns out that the approach each anti-virus tool uses to follow each link in an email doesn’t support JavaScript. That was our opportunity.

The solution

With the knowledge that none of these tools supported JavaScript, we’ve made the following changes to the unsubscribe process:

The unsubscribe link is clicked

Once an unsubscribe link is clicked, either by a human or anti-virus software, they are taken to a new landing page. This page then detects if JavaScript support is available.

Option 1: JavaScript is supported

If JavaScript is enabled, we know it’s not an automated click but a real person and submit an AJAX call that automatically unsubscribes that person from your list and displays our traditional confirmation message. The recipient can also re-subscribe to the list with a single click if they change their mind.


Option 2: JavaScript is not supported

If JavaScript is not supported, we know it’s either an automated system like anti-virus software, or one of the 3% or so of users who have deliberately turned JavaScript off. Using the trusty <noscript> tag, we show a simple page asking them to click a link to confirm the unsubscribe.


We can confirm that the anti-virus software won’t click this link, and only a very small percentage of your subscribers will ever have to go through this extra step to unsubscribe from your list.

We’re very happy to put an end to those pesky unwanted unsubscribes, and even happier that we could pull it off in an elegant way that doesn’t damage the current experience for your subscribers.

  • Gregg Tomlinson

    Wow. THANK YOU for getting this straightened out. I’ve got a couple of clients who were affected multiple times by this issue over the last few months & have contacted you thru the contact form about this issue. And unlike when others have said this, when you guys told me “we’re working on the issue” I knew you really were by the feedback I was getting on my support questions. Thank you for the due diligence and the incredible support!

  • Naca-Yoda

    Begs the question… how often was this occurring? Any stats?
    Thanks for fixing it though. And thanks to all who noticed a problem and raised it.

  • Cédric

    Great idea ! but what happens when custom unsubscribe is enabled? Can we add a “resubscribe link” on our pages?

  • David Greiner

    @Naca-Yoda, this wasn’t something that happened very often at all, but obviously impacted the same customers over and over and became enough of a hassle to let us know about it.

    @Cédric, this isn’t enabled right now for custom unsubscribe pages, as there would be a small delay while we do a redirect from the page that checks for JS to your custom page. Of course, if this is something you guys would love to see supported it’s something we’ll definitely consider.

  • Nickolas Simard

    GREAT… I’ll be waiting to get the ability to customize the “unsubscribe me” page if JS is disabled. +1 for this features

  • Steven Ishiwara

    Phew. My clients were complaining and I didn’t know what to tell them!

  • Michael I. Blum

    Excellent, i’faith! It’s nice, for once, to learn about the SOLUTION to the problem BEFORE one is actually aware of the problem! Keep up the good work.

  • Bruce

    Ohhhhh yeah!!!! I had issues with this last year. CM said it was on the development list for release later on and viola – here it is. Nice to have a dev company who does what they say. Thanks to the team for this

  • Vincent

    Well done on a good solution.

  • Tim Tunbridge

    On a distribution list of 2800 we’ve seen this regularly happening, but not more than 5-10 recipients each time … so very low numbers.

    Thanks for the solution though!

  • cotton

    Nice feature. +1 for adding this ability to the custom pages. Or better yet: make the text on the standard landing/unsubscribe pages editable (or multi-lingual).

  • dave

    +1 also for enabling custom pages with this. But a great solution anyway!

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