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Why did I completely stop getting your newsletter?

I suddenly stopped getting your newsletter this spring. All of a sudden, not a single issue. Why? And what do I do?

Based on that description, and especially the timing, unfortunately there’s a very good chance you’ve been unsubscribed.

And it’s possible that I did it.

Let me explain why.

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Spring Cleaning

Roughly sometime each spring I actually pro-actively unsubscribe email addresses from the Ask Leo! Newsletter who meet a couple of criteria:

  • They’ve been subscribers for more than around two months.
  • They’ve not opened a newsletter or clicked on a link for over six months.

If it looks like you fell into that category, then you were unsubscribed.

A 99.99% successful process

99.99% of the time the folks who were unsubscribed never notice. And it should be clear why: they weren’t bothering to read the newsletter, so they didn’t notice when it stopped.

The problem is that 0.01%. As I’ve discussed many times before, it’s actually impossible to tell that an email has been opened with 100% accuracy. In other words, a few people slip through the cracks – people who have been reading the newsletter, but for whom I’ve not been able to know that.

How do I know who reads the newsletter? Two things:

  • Each newsletter has at least one image in it – the logo at the top. (Typically there’s also my signature at the bottom.) If you have images displayed, then at the time you view the newsletter that logo is fetched, and I know that you opened the newsletter.
  • The links in the newsletter that go to askleo.com include additional information that let me know it’s you. Click on any of those links to go to Ask Leo!, and not only do I know that you visited the site, but I know you had to open the newsletter to do it.

Sometimes, for various reasons (I suspect security software), both of those methods fail and I can’t tell that you’ve been reading my newsletter.

Getting the newsletter again

Fortunately the solution for you is extremely simple: just resubscribe.

On top of that you’ll find all the newsletters you missed archived here on https://newsletter.askleo.com – now and in the future.

And to help prevent it from happening again, make sure images are displayed in the newsletter, and every so often click a link to one of my articles. As long as security software doesn’t interfere, that should let me know that you’re interested.

But, WHY?

So, why do I do spring cleaning?

In a word: spam. Or, more correctly, to decrease the odds that the newsletter will end up in the spam folder for those people who do want it.

Fighting spam has become inconceivably complex. Mail services like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and many others use many, many signals to determine what is and is not spam. One of those signals is “how many people bother to open this email?”. The fewer people that open it, the more likely it is to be spam – or at least something that most people don’t seem to want.

By removing those subscribers who aren’t opening the newsletter anyway the “open rate”, and the overall reputation of the newsletter in the eyes of the mail services, goes up.

And more people who do open and read the newsletter get it without having to rescue it from their spam folder, or worse.

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen, there’s sometimes a very small amount of collateral damage.

If that’s you, I apologize, and I hope you’ll re-subscribe.

Posted: June 9, 2011 in: Administration
Shortlink: https://newsletter.askleo.com/6556
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Leo Who?

I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.