2009-09-08

GMail 'unsubscribe' feature fail

Some months ago GMail folks have added a feature to get rid of annoying mailing lists you got into. If getting those messages, no more searching for 'unsubscribe' links, sending 'remove-me' replies or whatever, just click 'show details' and voila:



Removing the address from the list is fully automated, GMail will take care of performing all needed actions. This feature was about to make gmailers' life easier, but IRL it is bringing more problems than actually solving.

To begin with, the implementation is technically inaccurate. Well, screw that, it is a perfect example of fuck-up, with all respect to everything else GMail folks are doing. For one address, it works fine. But I am pretty sure most people have multiple addresses controlled by one GMail account... You might have guessed already where I am trying to get.

Say, you own 'clean' address backbone@gmail.com and alternative address for.spam@fubar.com that you provide to suspicious services. GMail account is set to wipe all mail also from Fubar inbox, and you certainly get some unwanted crap there. Now if you decide to unsubscribe following the GMail suggestion, it will try to unsubscribe your clean backbone@gmail.com address, advertising it to bad guys who are already abusing your special spam box. Thank you, Google, for helping spammers to extend their databases!


And all the idea of unsubscribing seems doubtful to me. If some particular list is not meant to spread spam, it is usually easy to get rid of it, manually. But when it comes to unwanted advertising, the more you are trying to react on it, the more they will mark you as active guy who really cares. Here should 'Shit model' work: don't kick it and it won't stink. Only rational thing you can do here is 'Report spam' button.

Once again, don't use 'unsubscribe from this sender' link in GMail, especially avoid it if you have multiple addresses managed by one GMail account. It is working incorrectly, both idea and implementation, and is more likely to bring you more pain in the ass than you used to have before. I wonder if GMail folks could make it optional, possibly disabled by default.

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