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October 30, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Best Western e-mail unsubscribe

BestwesternJoe Rybicki points out:

Attached is a photo of the beginning of the ridiculously long unsubscribe form/survey that Best Western directs you to when you click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of one of the e-mails they automatically send out to anyone who has ever booked a room with them online.

Which of these options for unsubscribing would you be most likely to first choose?

1. Select this option if you do not want Best Western, its affiliates and subsidiaries (the "BW Companies") to communicate with you via e-mail about the promotions and special offers.

2. Select this option if you do not want the BW Companies' related travel partners to communicate with you via email about promotions and offers related to the Gold Crown Club International newsletter. (Includes monthly statement).

3. Select this option if you do not want to receive any communications via e-mail from the BW Companies or its travel partners regarding all Best Western and Best Western related promotions and offers. [Checking this box will mean that you no longer receive Best Western surveys, Gold Crown Club International communications, Best Western Travel Card communications and/or any other Best Western offers]

Which one do you think will actually fully unsubscribe you? Careful -- remember to check your work.


Its round about but not that bad.

Option 1: no e-mail from best western, but still from partners.

2: none from partners but still from BW

3:no emails at all.

Posted by: PIe4Weebl at October 30, 2006 01:33 AM

Make it easy to unsubscribe and perhaps I'll think well of your company in the future. Make it hard, and I'll think ill. Simple as that. No expensive brand work needed.

Posted by: mmcwatters at October 30, 2006 07:35 AM

That form is simply atrocious. The information is not succint. And it is difficult to tell what the right choice is without a careful reading.

Slightly off-topic, I stayed at a BW last year, and was convinced to sign up for their loyalty program. Completing a survey was supposed to add some extra points as a bonus reward. I completed the survey and the redirect to collect the points resulted in an HTTP 500 server error. They got their survey and I got no points.

I emailed their customer service. Their autoresponse bot sent an ack email, but no human seems to have read it and taken action. I ended up managing to email the right Sr. VP who was able to suddenly get everything fixed.

I got a real sour customer experience from the web site and customer service, but the Sr. VP made it right.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at October 30, 2006 08:01 AM

Unsubscribes don't work, even from legitimate companies (at least, not in the US). I used to work for (an unnamed) company and we really tried to honor unsubscribes. But consider all the conditions you have to cover. First, anyone in a company using Outlook for email can easily create and send a marketing letter to any email address they choose. So, to effectively block something like this you would have to have a blocking list managed centrally on the corporate email servers. But that would in effect block all email to a given address, including (for example) email about a serious security bug in some software our company provides. What about software? You install something and select to be notified by email; but also said don't send you any email: Which one wins? You sign up for two things on the internet: One you say send email, one you say don't send email. The one I like the best: You contact a company and say stop sending email. However, the email you received was forged: The email didn't come from the company you contacted. It's not possible to stop sending email a company never sent.

Bottom line: As long as we have an opt-out system of email solicition, and an email system that is childs-play to forge, you will always receive unwanted email. Learn to live with it.

Posted by: David at October 30, 2006 08:11 AM

I'm not sure what David's point is. If it's that spam exists, well, yeah. That's pretty much a given, and I think most people are used to it.

But, if it's that companies cannot manage their email subscription lists, well, then that's a company not worth doing business with, plain and simple. It's very easy to manage our subscriptions, and any company who doesn't do it is just neglectful, lazy, or stupid. You choose.

Posted by: mmcwatters at October 30, 2006 08:22 AM

Another reason not mentioned yet as to why this form has to be so long could be legal reasons...

I'm not saying that's it, or that it makes any sense, but we all know how things are any more, no possible ways for someone to sue you for whatever. To go with that, if they made it very, very simple, you would get someone writing in to TIB saying they weren't explicit enough.

Posted by: Memnon at October 30, 2006 03:58 PM

If you read this e-mail thoroughly enough, you will understand what it means... But what about them mailing you snail mail?

Posted by: st33med at October 30, 2006 04:43 PM

Could be Legal. I run into this at my company all the time -- it's heartbreaking. You want to make things clear and simple for customers, but the Legal department requires you use looong, headache-enducing legalese. It's supposed to make things clear and indisputable. But for many people, it's just confusing and makes them distrust corporations even more.

Posted by: ww at October 30, 2006 06:51 PM


Make the form in Regular Human English and provide an obvious link to a form in Technical Sue-Proof Legalese!

Posted by: The Pondermatic at October 31, 2006 09:14 AM

I'm responsible for my company's email marketing - from acquiring subscribers to turning them into bookers, to ensuring we don't annoy unsubscribers.

In the UK, data protection is taken very seriously, so it's to our advantage to not only behave within the rules, but to impress customers by going above and beyond the rules.

Consumer respect is one of my top priorities in development of our campaigns - a consumer who asks to be taken off a mailing list isn't necessarily pissed off with our company, so why make the process difficult and frustrating and make them pass that tipping point where they do start getting pissed off with us?

It's a tiny bit more work on our part to ensure unsubscribes are easy and painless, but I'd rather have an unsubscribed-but-happy past user, who'll still recommend us to friends from the knowledge that we respect them, than a list of users who can't unsubscribe and are unimpressed with the way they're treated.

Posted by: Vero Peps at November 1, 2006 07:37 AM

I'd select all of them. (Remember the post where you can select 'under 18' and 'over 18'?)

Posted by: Sean Z. at November 2, 2006 12:18 AM

And none of the fields are marked with an asterisk to say "is required"

Posted by: zzo38 at November 5, 2006 11:31 PM

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