Do you mind if I add you to my mailing list? Yes, I do.

What’s the proper etiquette to put someone on your mailing list? The answer is pretty simple: you need to get their approval first. It’s not OK to put them on the list and let them know that it’s easy to get off. My dad used to get really annoyed at the (unofficial, non-city) painters who came by, painted the street number of your house on your curb and then asked you to pay them for it.

“But I didn’t ask you to paint the numbers on my curb.”
“But I already did the job.”
“That’s not my problem.”

Isn’t that called extortion? Maybe it’s a mild form of extortion. Are there mild forms? Isn’t it like hand grenades where almost doesn’t really matter? Anyway.

If you’re on a mailing list and you don’t want to be, you have several options:

  1. You can opt out. Usually at the bottom of an email there’s a link to get off. If there isn’t, it’s technically illegal and they’re spamming you.
  2. You can label the message as spam in your email client (see example screenshot below from Gmail)
  3. You can report the email as spam to the mailing list software provider. For example, here is Constant Contact’s Spam Policy. On that page, you can report spam.
  4. You can write to the sender of the mailing list and remind him/her that you didn’t agree to be on their list.

What it really becomes is just advertising, but¬†unsolicited¬†advertising. We get ads in our browser because, for example, the site’s content is free. But we’re not allowing that company to email us directly with their product promotions. This is the same thing.

But we’re in the same industry and I know they’d love my content!

That’s wonderful, but it’s still the same thing: it’s unsolicited. You know those signs in the lobbies of office buildings? No solicitors? That’s the same thing, but it’s just per email.

Do You Mind?