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Need a better way to manage email subscriptions


Need a better way to manage email subscriptions

So, I get it. Besides being nominally an advocacy organization, AARP is a business. And,  as a business, there are marketers on staff. So far, so good. Push/influence/manipulate/advertise services and, with luck, more money comes in, and that's what businesses do.

But it bugs me that, despite getting five or six or eight emails a week from you guys, and being told that one could "manage" (note the pinky quotes, there) those emails, the only "management" available was an option to Stop Getting Emails Altogether.

Yeah, I know. Stop All Emails. Wait a week or a month or a year for the last trickles to get past the, "You just have to look at this email! It's important! We make money on these emails!" filters built into the email system, and then resubscribe to just the ones I'd like, rather than all the ones I was auto-signed up for ("Hey! Here's one you might like! Good luck trying to get us to stop sending just that one!").

I mean, guys. Spam is Unwanted Commercial Email and, yeah, AARP is a commercial organization.

The right way to handle subscriptions is to send One Email, once, with an invitation to subscribe. If you guys don't get a response, then don't send the newsletter. Period.

And, on that subscription page you guys run, a list of the already subscribed newsletters and a bunch of checkboxes so that one could easily unsubscribe from this and that would be a right good idea. I mean, you've got tons of stuff to subscribe, on a one-way-in-and-no-easy-way-out basis. You can make unsubscription easy, right?

One more point. The elderly, who I hear you guys advocate for, are sometimes a bit slower on the uptake, in general, than younger people. This is why crooks of all flavors target the elderly, since their chances of success are that much greater.

Now, a fair amount of spam is just out-of-control marketeers and, as such, do nothing but waste peoples' time. But a good proportion of that spam  are phishes and links to malware, the better to extract money, steal identities, and get every bottom dollar from the elderly that they can.

It would be a service to the elderly to reduce that volume of spam that comes from you; your expecting that the elderly will click on your links trains your clientele that clicking on links is an OK thing to do. And, these days, that's a very, very stupid thing to train people to do. Almost criminal, really.

At the very least, you could do one important thing: digitally sign your emails and newsletters so people can confirm that the body of the email hasn't been modified since it was sent, and it really, truly, was you who sent the email, and not some cracker at a compromised email relay in between you and the receiver who put in a link to something that will make the receiver very, very sad, much poorer, and possibly bankrupt.

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