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September 16, 2004 04:36 PM

Broken: Fedex's opt-out page

Fedex_1Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing, writes:

So, fedex started sending me opt out spam. I trust the brand enough to unsubscribe (even though I never subscribed).

And then I saw this page, which is the most broken opt out page ever.

When I got there, the two bottom boxes of the first section were checked. I unchecked them. This should mean I'm done.

Instead, I get this error alert. Not only do I have to unclick the first two boxes, I then have to click the bottom box.

In other words, I don't get out unless I OPT OUT on the top and OPT IN to opting out on the bottom.



I agree. If the flow were logical, the last box would be first and negated (i.e. "I would like to receive the following) which would then enable the others.

Now I know that there will be responses saying "it's an opt-out, stupid". So, you've started to opt out by bothering to visit the page, so you're likely to be the kind of person to persist. They could even check the top (bottom) box by default.

If you don't want not to opt out of this thread, please uncheck this unbox [X]

Posted by: Simon Trew at September 16, 2004 07:50 PM

It's not an opt-out page. It's an e-mail preferences page, on which ONE of the options is to not receive any e-mail. I'd be willing to bet that if you checked the last box, you'd get no e-mail from them, even if some of the others were checked.

Posted by: Jim at September 16, 2004 08:38 PM

> I'd be willing to bet that if you checked

>the last box, you'd get no e-mail from them

Maybe, but the point is that you shouldn't have to bet on it. The form should clearly indicate what the result of any option will be, and should be constructed in a way that prevents the possibility ambiguous or contradictory selections.

Posted by: Gil at September 16, 2004 09:01 PM

This is of course broken. I think it's very typical to especially confuse the consumer in order to be able to continue sending those "informative" e-mail "updates".

Posted by: Selcuk at September 17, 2004 09:30 AM

Major Usability Violation: pre-checked selections.

This takes power and control away from users, and puts them right back into the almighty corporate throne of glory and gore. And I don't care how many jerks are doing it.

I've been in direct marketing since 1978. I know there are *dignified, legit* direct response techniques...

...and then the scumbag con artisit "gimmicks."

Pre-selected boxes are almost always scumbag "gimmicks."

Don't combine Confirmed Opt-Out with Email Preferences. They should be separate functions.

How many forms successfully completed give users a "your forms was completed successfully" message? More are doing this, but still kind of rare.

See my recent post on how selfish, greed-crazed companies treat customers impolitely, indecently, and sloppily, at:

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate at September 17, 2004 03:38 PM

Sorry. Hate to post twice in a row, but I check all links I use, and my own URL for my customer service article is *broken* for some mysterious reason. It is typed in correctly. Just click on Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate to see my article.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate at September 17, 2004 03:48 PM

I have no access to the source HTML that you were directed to from the email hyperlink, but my suspicions were raised when you indicated that you never subscribed to a FedEx service.

Be aware that spammers, phishers, con artists of various stripes commonly send mail that looks like a real official corporate communication and asks you to click a hyperlink to a site that ask you for all sorts of personal information.

Anyone can swipe a gif and wording from FedEx and set up their own look-alike site asking for confirmation of email address, mailing address, and other personal information. I wouldn't trust them with it.

Posted by: Mike at September 17, 2004 04:25 PM

What's interesting (maybe), and along the lines of what Mike (9/17, 4:25PM) said, is that I've hunted all over the FedEx web site and have been unable to find any way to "update your email preferences". I *do* have a login on the FedEx site, though I *don't* have a FedEx shipping account. Even using the FedEx search function, I couldn't find an email preferences page.

Could be, of course, that I'm having a very senior moment. I'd be interested in knowing if someone can find such a page other than from a link in an e-mail.

Posted by: Jim at September 18, 2004 10:17 PM

Yep, it has to be a scam. One of the signatures of a scam is misspelling!!

Posted by: Jason at September 23, 2004 08:15 PM

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