Following any send, you're likely to receive an automated reply or two that goes along the lines of: "I've changed my email address... Please update your address books". But does this really give you permission to update a subscription?
For such a common message, there's remarkably little guidance out there as to how to handle 'change my address' autoreplies. So while we're going to let you know our recommendation shortly, we'd love to open this up for discussion - you likely have a point of view that's just as salient as our own.
Escaping Planet Email
First of all, why do folks set up these autoreplies in the first place? Our top guesses are that:
They're not savvy enough to set up email forwarding/a domain redirect
The final point is the one that bothers us the most about updating a subscriber's email address manually. How about if they don't want to hear from anyone but their nearest and dearest? If they are really determined to receive your newsletter, they likely can subscribe again - why make that choice for them?
On the other hand, these autoreplies are, well, a request to do something. An "I'm abandoning my inbox, please help me", of sorts. However, as they aren't explicitly asking you to add their new address to a mailing list, doing so doesn't really hold water for us.
That said, there is the option of emailing the subscriber personally to confirm what their preferences are. But for most senders, these autoreplies, like hard bounces, are an inevitable and statistically insignificant part of the greater wonder that is email marketing.
Do 'my address has changed' emails give you permission to send? We'd love to hear your opinion, so lets get the party started in the comments below.