I made an executive decision this week to transfer all of my email newsletters over to my Gmail account. There has been a lot of talk online about Email Bankruptcy. I'm not even close to being in that situation, but I am ready to acknowledge that for all news, information and promotional emails, Gmail will do me just fine. Prior to this, I had been using an old URL that I've had for years, but Gmail is the ideal solution. Also, having the Gmail account loaded into my Outlook allows me to never have outgoing SMTP issues on emails (which has been a pain for me in the past when I travel).
Now you have the background, so here's my Online Marketing Rant: why do so many companies make it so incredibly difficult, confusing and challenging to change email addresses? You have no idea how many lists I had to unsubscribe from to re-subscribe to (because that's the only way to do it). Shame on them for loosing years of tracking my click habits because they were too lazy or short sighted to add some simple email address change functionality. You would not believe how many of these sites also require a username and password and, most shocking of all, some that don't allow you to cancel your account or change your email address (the only thing you can do is have them stop emailing you).
No wonder trust is so low when it comes to online advertising (and you thought it was all because of the "punch the monkey" banners).
I would not be frustrated if this was across the board in all instances. There are those who got it right, but it was only a handful of the several hundred I subscribe to, that - within one click - everything was changed, updated and done.
Imagine my horror in seeing that some lists allowed me to change my email address, but warned that it could take up to ten business days for it to go into effect. I was updating my email address, not trying to pass cheques from an imprisoned Nigerian Prince. Arrggghhh.
The most shocking indictment is that the worst purveyors, based on my subscriptions, were media properties. Yup, companies whose main business is that of producing media. How sad and tragic. If you're a media company and you can't figure out your database to enable your consumers to update their email address in a click (without needing a username and password), you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and figure out what business you are in.
I was further angered when I finally remembered these usernames and passwords, but when I went to update my record, the company demanded more personal information or it could not save my updates. How classy...or class-less.
Updating profile information should be a simple and pleasurable task, not frustrating and infuriating. I also decided to unsubscribe to some and simply add the RSS feeds into Google Reader. I have a big analytics question: how many companies do you think are watching the click tracking between the "subscribe to our feed" and the "unsubscribe" button?