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Gmail's 'Unsubscribe' Tool Comes Out of the Weeds

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the and-don't-come-back dept.

Google 129

itwbennett writes "Starting this week, a new, clearly marked 'unsubscribe' link will appear at the top of the header field in marketers' emails. Previously only appearing for a small percentage of users, the feature will now be made available for most promotional messages with unsubscribe options, Google said on Thursday. Email recipients do not need to take action for the links to appear."

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AWESOME (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46311619)

damn great news now hope that the mailing lists owners actually do something with a unsub command.... I've been having bad luck on that part

Re:AWESOME (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46311641)

I've been having bad luck on that part

Probably because by clicking that button you're proving that a human exists at the end of the email address. And because you were silly enough to click it, you're probably exploitable in other interesting ways, too.

Re:AWESOME (1)

jmd (14060) | about 7 months ago | (#46311647)

Yep... not long ago i did this very thing. Now I get 20+ per day spam messages for an adult site.

Re:AWESOME (2)

Tx (96709) | about 7 months ago | (#46311753)

It's not as bad as it used to be, I don't think. I recently went through the exercise of unsubscribing every spam mail that came in to the accounts of two former employees at the company I work for, and the spam level dropped almost to zero, around one spam mail per day rather than 30-50. Granted, the kind of spam you get on the work account of a reasonably sensible employee is probably going to be from more reputable sources on average than most personal accounts, but they weren't all reputable-looking. For sure I always do a little checking up on the source before I click that "unsubscribe" link on my own mail.

Re:AWESOME (0)

Raistlin77 (754120) | about 7 months ago | (#46314581)

...Granted, the kind of spam you get on the work account of a reasonably sensible employee is probably going to be from more reputable sources on average than most personal accounts, but they weren't all reputable-looking...

There's no such thing as spam from a "reputable source". If it's spam, they're obviously not reputable.

Re:AWESOME (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 7 months ago | (#46314917)

To be fair, there is a grey area here. It's quite possible that at some point a past employee was genuinely interested in hearing more about progress at a potential supplier of interest, and chose to sign up for more information. Maybe the supplier never followed through with the specific product the ex-employee was interested in, maybe the in-house project that would have used it has since changed or been cancelled, or maybe there's just no-one else still at your business who cares even if the ex-employee did.

In all of these cases, updates that were originally actively requested and sent in good faith are now effectively unsolicited commercial mail from the point of view of everyone left at your business. The sender has no way to know that if you don't tell them, and probably has little interest in upsetting someone who was at least near their potential market by continuing to send them after being asked to stop.

Re:AWESOME (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46314937)

There's no such thing as spam from a "reputable source". If it's spam, they're obviously not reputable.

You mean like "from a marketing department"? And Tx wrote "more reputable", not "reputable"! Cowboys are present in almost all marketing departments, who see email like they see TV ads or snail-mail promotional stuff, only much more profitable. "X person didn't open the email I sent them, I'd better send them another just to make sure!". "At least they will be seeing the brand name so they won't forget about us!". The law is an unfortunate and annoying curse, getting in the way of economic development for most of them. Think of the jobs! What about the children!?! I doubt there is a single Fortune 500 company without several of these people in prominent positions. I have personally had to deal with many such marketers and it gets pretty soul-destroying after a while.

The BIG4 (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL) are pretty good on this though, and if they detect senders not respecting unsubscribe requests (via the list-unsub header) then the results can be severe (bugs happen too btw). The key thing to note here is that managing list-unsubscribe requests (particularly mailto, which is the only version Gmail processed a while back) actually requires resources - resources that "pure" spammers (phishers, etc.) don't usually invest in. Don't forget - unless your mailserver only communicates bounces via async (bounce email sent at a later date, not a reply message in the original SMTP delivery exchange) then most servers will reveal the validity of an address after the RCPT TO: command.

The biggest problem, however, is that people actually open the emails and some even make purchases after doing so. Some people don't mind receiving lots of promotional email and many don't bother to uncheck the good old "receive targeted messages from our partners". If no one made purchases and everyone opted out from partner mail, then greymail would get cleaned up very quickly. Hell, I know postmasters at ISPs with MILLIONS of subscribers that acknowledge that they spend far more time dealing with subscribers unhappy they no longer receive emails from X site/company (who have been blocked) than they do blocking... What person A considers to be spam could very well be highly desired email for person B.

Re:AWESOME (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312929)

They already have my email address. They're not going to remove it from their distribution list if I don't click on the unsubscribe button anyways since spammers don't bear the cost of sending emails. I'm not saying to click "unsubscribe" on every email you receive, but there are some distribution lists which will remove your email if you click on the link.

Re:AWESOME (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#46312975)

I've been having bad luck on that part

Probably because by clicking that button you're proving that a human exists at the end of the email address. And because you were silly enough to click it, you're probably exploitable in other interesting ways, too.

Exactly so. Unsubscribe from one, and two or three others show up from different sources within a few days.

Since I never subscribed to these in the first place, I'm never going to unsubscribe. I'm going to mark them spam.

Sorry Google, but I'm not playing along. I'm going to stuff your spam filters (which work very well thank you) full of these UCE mailings whether or not they contain unsubscribe options. Punish every on of them and force them to stop adding people to mailing lists without a request to do so.

This is simply wrong headed. I can't believe google doesn't understand how these guys work. Why would they want to enable this kind of practice to continue?

On my company email, I've got very effective Spamassisin filters for these types of things, and I mercilessly categorize them as spam. I expect nothing less from gmail.

Re:AWESOME (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46311711)

damn great news now hope that the mailing lists owners actually do something with a unsub command.... I've been having bad luck on that part

To be fair, they are just copying a feature Outlook.com has had for a long time. Shows that it is good to keep some competition to the Google. If now they only could copy outlook.com's alias feature -- eg. proper aliases that are not revealing your real email and can be easily discontinued with a bounce to sender as result.

Re:AWESOME (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312007)

proper aliases that are not revealing your real email and can be easily discontinued with a bounce to sender as result.

I haven’t studied SMTP for a long while, but I think what you’re describing isn’t possible with ordinary email over the ’net. That sounds like something restricted to an internal mail system since it requires a centralized database of mappings between aliases and email addresses.

Re:AWESOME (3, Interesting)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 7 months ago | (#46312187)

That sounds like something restricted to an internal mail system since it requires a centralized database of mappings between aliases and email addresses.

Google seems to be pretty good at handling databases for other data...I think they could handle this.

I do exactly this same thing with a database for my home mail server. Every site I deal with gets a different e-mail address, so I know who sells their lists. There have been one or two sites that have had the alias deleted because they didn't pay attention to whatever opt-out method they claimed would stop the e-mail.

This technique also protects me from phishing, as an e-mail that isn't addressed to mybankalias@mydomain.com can't possibly be from my bank.

Re:AWESOME (3, Informative)

Gunboat_Diplomat (3390511) | about 7 months ago | (#46312255)

proper aliases that are not revealing your real email and can be easily discontinued with a bounce to sender as result.

I haven’t studied SMTP for a long while, but I think what you’re describing isn’t possible with ordinary email over the ’net. That sounds like something restricted to an internal mail system since it requires a centralized database of mappings between aliases and email addresses.

No, Outlook.com has solved this the way it should be. They are using real standalone email addresses for aliases. It can be completely different than your main email, and by default it shows up in a separate folder in your inbox. If you kill the alias, it is for the rest of the world the same as killing a standalone email address, and mail to it will bounce.

Re:AWESOME (1)

worf_mo (193770) | about 7 months ago | (#46314701)

Any decent MTA will be able to handle aliases [postfix.org] , this is by no means limited to internal mail systems. When you write to some.address@example.org, the destination SMTP server will look that address up. If it does not exist the message will be bounced with an error, if it is an alias for real.address@example org it will be delivered to just that account.

Re:AWESOME (1)

Papaspud (2562773) | about 7 months ago | (#46312717)

Just mark them as spam

Re:AWESOME (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46313565)

I'm pretty sure I remember marking marketing e-mail as spam and being offered the option to unsubscribe from the list. I assume this is primarily a change to the UI to make the unsubscribe support more visible.

Personally, for reputable companies like Amazon who do send obnoxious marketing e-mails sometimes, I expect them to actually unsubscribe me if I ask, so I do.

Re:AWESOME (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 7 months ago | (#46314379)

damn great news now hope that the mailing lists owners actually do something with a unsub command.... I've been having bad luck on that part

They've always have... they mark the addressed "confirmed live" and add it into their lists to sell onward.

We need "vetted" unsubscribe links (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46311659)

They should only put the unsubscribe link in for scrupulous vendors who will actually unsubscribe you and not sell your email address as "confirmed to be working".

Re:We need "vetted" unsubscribe links (3, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 7 months ago | (#46312339)

google does NOT work for us. there is zero reason to trust this.

its the same way as the postal service in the US re: spam. I once asked the letter carrier if we could put a sign up on our mailboxes saying 'no junk mail or UCE please'. he said that this is how they make most of their money these days and that they are paying to have their 'junk' put in my inbox. you can see who works for whom; and its not the recipient!

google also makes money on their search and have you noticed that when you search for something that has a tech nature and also a salesy nature, the sales stuff comes first and you have to trawl thru many pages to find the actual tech info?

have you noticed that there are PAGES of fake sites that serve only ebay ads, trying to fool you into clicking on them? google does nothing (zero, nada, zilch) to stop this even though the Powerful Google could easily fix this if they wanted.

unless I'm paying google, I'm not the customer and I have no expectation that they will respect me or my wishes.

Re:We need "vetted" unsubscribe links (2)

SydShamino (547793) | about 7 months ago | (#46312507)

Google sees the number of people using email dropping, and place at least some of the blame on unwanted (perhaps unsolicited, perhaps not) email cluttering their users' inboxes. People are replacing email with Facebook and Twitter though, both products that Google doesn't own and can't as easily mine for profit, so it's in Google's interest to help you only receive the mail you want to receive.

I'm not doubting or denying your point that you and I aren't Google's customers, but at the same time I think what's in Google's best interests (keeping our gmail inboxes spam-free so we'll continue to use gmail) and our interests (keeping our gmail inboxes spam-free so we'll continue to use our gmail) are the same.

Re:We need "vetted" unsubscribe links (2)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#46313049)

Do you have any data to back this up?

Lately, people have been dropping facebook in droves, and switching to smaller less public messaging services. Some even reverting to gmail.

Google isn't seeing less email. They blew past hotmail in 2012 to be come the worlds largest email service [venturebeat.com] . 425 million ACTIVE users, and a couple hundred more occasional users.

I pretty much believe Google's rational for doing this, even though I don't agree with it. People are marking too much legitimate email as spam simply because they are no longer interested in that source. That's fine for the individual, but feeds back into the spam catching system, and can make even your actual bank notifications look like spam.

There are companies that will legitimately honor unsubscribe, and there are others that merely put your email up for sale to others upon receiving an unsubscribe, and those buyers will add you to their email arbitrarily..

Google has to be very careful to only offer this unsubscribe capability to those companies that will honor it.
But I suspect they will, as they usually do, simply try a one size fits all solution and they will end up feeding the trolls.

Re:We need "vetted" unsubscribe links (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46314801)

Do you have any data to back this up?

Do you? LOL.. you cite marketing material from Google as "data" and have the balls to ask others for data?! Google cheerleaders are funny...

425 million ACTIVE users, and a couple hundred more occasional users.

Like millions of the "ACTIVE" Google + users who do nothing? Also the user count is insanely inflated. Probably because Google spams every new Android user to create some shitty google + profile when they first bootup the phone.

There are companies that will legitimately honor unsubscribe, and there are others that merely put your email up for sale to others upon receiving an unsubscribe, and those buyers will add you to their email arbitrarily..

Nobody will know who honors the unsubscribe except Google. And then suddenly..

"Oh your product emails are not reaching your customers?"

"Um.. hey why dont you use our advertising platform instead of sending free emails? "

Re:We need "vetted" unsubscribe links (1)

swillden (191260) | about 7 months ago | (#46312833)

google does NOT work for us.

That may be true financially, but it's not the way Google sees it. Seriously, the perspective within Google is that users are customers.

its the same way as the postal service in the US re: spam. I once asked the letter carrier if we could put a sign up on our mailboxes saying 'no junk mail or UCE please'. he said that this is how they make most of their money these days and that they are paying to have their 'junk' put in my inbox. you can see who works for whom; and its not the recipient!

Google doesn't make any money from e-mail spam. Exactly the opposite. Google (like any mail service provider) spends huge amounts of resources receiving, processing and discarding spam Google does make money on the ads in gmail, and those are most effective if you only get real mail, because then the ads can be targeted based on stuff you really care about.

google also makes money on their search and have you noticed that when you search for something that has a tech nature and also a salesy nature, the sales stuff comes first and you have to trawl thru many pages to find the actual tech info?

That would be because most people who search for that salesy stuff are looking to buy. Outside of the links marked explicitly as sponsored, Google does not play games with the results.

have you noticed that there are PAGES of fake sites that serve only ebay ads, trying to fool you into clicking on them? google does nothing (zero, nada, zilch) to stop this even though the Powerful Google could easily fix this if they wanted.

It's actually not so easy. Google puts a lot of effort into eliminating crap results like this, but it's a gigantic game of Whack-a-Mole to do it site by site, so Google doesn't do that. Instead, Google adjusts ranking algorithms to identify and eliminate the crap, but changing the ranking algorithm is a Big Deal that requires vast amounts of analysis and testing, so it only happens occasionally. Generally, when the algorithm is changed most of the garbage sites drop out of the top results and things are better for a while, but then the SEO people learn how to game the new algorithm and they start to rise again.

(I'm a Google engineer, though I don't work on search, or gmail.)

Re:We need "vetted" unsubscribe links (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46314783)

Oh look, its the Google shill. Nothing wrong with that, since you clearly marked yourself as a Google employee. Its only annoying when people don't say so...

Google doesn't make any money from e-mail spam.

Ofcource. What Google wants to do is force companies to stop using _FREE_ advertising services like sending email to customers and force them to use Google's advertising platform.

Google does not play games with the results.

Sure buddy, nobody actually believes that.

Re:We need "vetted" unsubscribe links (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 7 months ago | (#46314007)

Sure, we're not the customers, but we are the product and google still has to worry about losing us. The spam filter is good enough for me on gmail, but with so many people on gmail, I'd wager spammers are focusing all their efforts on getting by it. If spam starts seeping in, it won't be too long before the users leave. Having another way to get users to identify which mail is spam could help google with the arms race and keeping us there, with our information, and keeping that ad price high.

Is there a paid e-mail service that filters out spam better? I'm aware I could set up my own e-mail server, but I'm also aware that's not something I'm capable of.

Re:We need "vetted" unsubscribe links (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46315175)

If Google makes money from advertising then surely it is in their interest to block unwanted adverts from other people. By filtering spam they make their service more attractive and reduce the amount of distraction from their own ads.

FWIW the "unsubscribe" button doesn't just send an unsubscribe request, it blocks further mails from the spammer and sends them directly to the spam bin.

Did Google do this right? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46311691)

I hope the unsubscribe link points back to google, and that they keep track of what I have unsubscribed. If they see me unsubscribing the same spam several times, they can safely conclude that the spammer will not respect the unsubscribe, and can start filtering the stuff out. Even better, they now know this is a spammer, and can filter out everything he sends to any gmail address, or at least add a block the first time someone else clicks on the unsubscribe link.

Re:Did Google do this right? (5, Informative)

sbrown7792 (2027476) | about 7 months ago | (#46311705)

They do. If you look here [google.com] , Google states that:

If a sender continues to send you email after you tried to unsubscribe from their messages, new messages from this sender will go directly to Spam.

Google has their shit together when it comes to filtering spam

Re:Did Google do this right? (4, Insightful)

weave (48069) | about 7 months ago | (#46311739)

Yeah, sure, Google will do that with future emails from that marketer. But what about when your email is sold to others or that same marketer just sends again using a different address? :(

Re:Did Google do this right? (0, Flamebait)

real gumby (11516) | about 7 months ago | (#46311949)

Or what about when Google steps the “unsubscribe” feature to 2.0, in which the marketer can bid on being able to send 1, 2, 3, n more messages before the “unsubscribe” takes effect?

Or v3.0 in which the sender can pay to have unsubscribe NOT appear or to have their mail “opt out” of any spam filtering?

You know it’s coming...

Re:Did Google do this right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312029)

They haven’t done this with their spam filtering. Why would they do it with marketing email? Remember that with Gmail they eat their own dogfood.

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 7 months ago | (#46312517)

Then they'll lose more customers to Facebook messaging instead of email, and they'll make less money.

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#46313087)

Yeah, because nobody every got spam from using facebook messaging. (rolls eyes).

Re:Did Google do this right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312619)

Christ just stop using email if it is such an issue for you.

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

swillden (191260) | about 7 months ago | (#46312869)

You know it’s coming...

Actually, I'm quite certain it's not. Not without a dramatic change in Google's culture, which I don't see happening.

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

real gumby (11516) | about 7 months ago | (#46313269)

You know it’s coming...

Actually, I'm quite certain it's not. Not without a dramatic change in Google's culture, which I don't see happening.

I used to think so too, then they reduced the highlighting of the ads that surround the search results (so that people are more likely to click on them), then started pushing people to G+...

I do think they still try not to be evil, but as Upton Sinclair pointed out, when your salary depends on something you tend to start to decide it's OK .

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

swillden (191260) | about 7 months ago | (#46313547)

I used to think so too, then they reduced the highlighting of the ads that surround the search results (so that people are more likely to click on them)

They're still clearly marked, and studies show no change in the ability of users to distinguish them from the search results.

then started pushing people to G+

That has been handled poorly, I agree. G+ is the single Google account system, which makes a lot of sense, and it's also a social network. Unfortunately, they were introduced in the wrong order. If Google had consolidated the accounts first and then added a social network later people would have understood the goals better.

In any case, neither of those things indicate any kind of a shift in Google's culture or attitude, not if you understand them and the rationale behind them.

as Upton Sinclair pointed out, when your salary depends on something you tend to start to decide it's OK .

My salary doesn't depend on my agreeing with Google's actions. For that matter, if I were too annoyed getting another job would be trivial.

Stupid motherfucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46313725)

You are one stupid motherfucker.

Spammers send spam because its essentially free. When the fuckers start having to pay people like Google to get off the black list, they'll stop spamming.

Re:Did Google do this right? (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 7 months ago | (#46311885)

If a sender continues to send you email after you tried to unsubscribe from their messages, new messages from this sender will go directly to Spam.

But what if the sender is, e.g., MailChimp?
Will this blacklist MailChimp?

Many companies use a third party to send their newsletters.

Re:Did Google do this right? (3, Insightful)

halltk1983 (855209) | about 7 months ago | (#46312113)

Presumably, if a company gets blacklisted, they will contact Google. Then Google will provide evidence that the unsubscribe requests were being ignored, in violation of federal law (CAN-SPAM Act). Then the company finds the customer that was ignoring it and removes them. And the internet gets a little cleaner.

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 7 months ago | (#46312123)

And how do they find out if they are blacklisted?

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

CBravo (35450) | about 7 months ago | (#46312541)

Because customers complain or because your monitoring alerted you.

Re:Did Google do this right? (0)

whoever57 (658626) | about 7 months ago | (#46313093)

And how do they find out if they are blacklisted?

They sign up for some Gmail accounts and then add their own Gmail addresses to their list. That wasn't so difficult was it?

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

CBravo (35450) | about 7 months ago | (#46312565)

Customers are stupid so we automated that for them: NO recipient who has pushed the FBL button will receive email. Ever. Again. From this specific customer, that is (unless your hobby is pushing the spam button).

Re:Did Google do this right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312167)

Mass marketing by legit companies like MailChimp and ContantContact are trusted by spam filtering like Google's because they have valid unsubscribe headers/methods and properly handle abuses/complaints. I am sure Google has some smart engineers that have tracked the unsubscribing of senders to build the sender's reputation based on millions of us that use Gmail. Those with repeat offenses of not honoring the unsubscribing will get a low reputation and sent to the spam folder. It really can work well when you have access to all of the feedback of Gmail users.

Re:Did Google do this right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312241)

>Many companies use a third party to send their newsletters.
Then they should get big boy computers and send their news letters themselves.

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 7 months ago | (#46312911)

If a sender continues to send you email after you tried to unsubscribe from their messages, new messages from this sender will go directly to Spam.

But what if the sender is, e.g., MailChimp? Will this blacklist MailChimp?

Many companies use a third party to send their newsletters.

So you mean, there will be give and take, ebb and flow ... kind of like now?

Re:Did Google do this right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46314101)

Any company that exists solely for the purpose of sending mail, spam should be a one strike rule because the majority of their mail is spam. It should be at the ISP level too. One unsolicited email from a company whose business model is sending mail should result in their entire IP range being cut off from the internet. Reinstatement fee should be 75% of revenue for the following 10 years paid to spamhaus. Second offense should send executives to jail.

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#46313077)

They do. If you look here [google.com] , Google states that:

If a sender continues to send you email after you tried to unsubscribe from their messages, new messages from this sender will go directly to Spam.

True, but that is exactly what happens when you mark it as spam. So for the user, there is no difference.

So all this does, is affirm to the sender that this is a real and in-use email address. And that is a valuable commodity. Many will simply take you off of their list, and sell your email to the next spammer on their list. This is why you end up getting more and more offers form different spammers after you successfully get off of someone's list.

So unless google also keeps a list of known address-reseller chains, this can play into the hands of the worst offenders, while not helping the user at all.

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 7 months ago | (#46313763)

Google has their shit together when it comes to filtering spam

Hardly. Close to 90% of the newsletters, notification emails, etc... etc... that I subscribe to regularly end up in my spam folder, and I (for the hundredth time) have to tell Gmail that it isn't actually spam. Gmail is very good at filtering actual spam, but their false positive rate is extraordinarily high.

Re:Did Google do this right? (1)

turtledawn (149719) | about 7 months ago | (#46314823)

That's very true. Newsletters that I've read regularly for years, as soon as I delete two or three of them without opening the message first start getting sent to the spam folder.

Somehow despite being fairly promiscuous with my gmail address I only get six or seven spams a day (often from/for Christian Mingle, which is hilarious for multiple reasons). Maybe I've just been extraordinarily but I have not personally experienced this 'unsubscribe from one list and get added to seventeen more' phenomenon.

Just mark it as spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46311695)

Net neutrality empowered by the customer :)

Misdirected ham (1)

smartr (1035324) | about 7 months ago | (#46311735)

A lot of the mess I get in my inbox is related to companies not validating email addresses. I've got people doing business transactions with my address and doing things like registering a twitter account. So, in a sense, it's spam but not spam.

Re:Misdirected ham (2, Funny)

Krojack (575051) | about 7 months ago | (#46311801)

This is my biggest complaint. A few years back I had someone in Australia buy plain tickets online and used my email address. I got the info about the account and tickets, did a password reset request and got into the account and canceled the tickets. I sure hope they had a hard time when they showed up at the airport.

Verification emails should be sent on all new account creations and when signing up for any mailing list. Clearly the latter won't happen because companies want the emails to go to someone, they don't care who.

Re:Misdirected ham (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46311831)

Plain tickets? How gauche! If only it had been fancy tickets instead...

Re:Misdirected ham (4, Insightful)

jopsen (885607) | about 7 months ago | (#46311925)

This is my biggest complaint. A few years back I had someone in Australia buy plain tickets online and used my email address. I got the info about the account and tickets, did a password reset request and got into the account and canceled the tickets. I sure hope they had a hard time when they showed up at the airport.

Wow, sure it's annoying when people accidentally uses the wrong email... I can understand that you complain about. Given that you had to commit a federal offence by illegally obtaining access to an account that wasn't yours.
I mean becoming a criminal is worth complaining about, but you could just have contacted the airline, which is perfectly legal, and asked them to resolve the situation.

Instead of going out of your way, to be an a**hole, and actually make yourself a criminal in the process.

Verification emails should be sent on all new account creations and when signing up for any mailing list. Clearly the latter won't happen because companies want the emails to go to someone, they don't care who.

Sure, but an error somewhere in the system, does not make you owner of the account. Seriously, why don't you think before you hit somebodys password reset. That's clearly illegal.

I mean, wow, just wow, given how long time the US is willing to lock you up for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, I'm surprised you decide to just go ahead... No wonder 1% of the US population is in prison :)

Re:Misdirected ham (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 7 months ago | (#46311929)

Sorry, about the messed up quotation... It's early morning..

Re:Misdirected ham (1)

swillden (191260) | about 7 months ago | (#46312877)

Sorry, about the messed up quotation... It's early morning..

If only there were some way to preview posts...

Re:Misdirected ham (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312537)

Sure, but an error somewhere in the system, does not make you owner of the account

Which works both ways. If your email account is misused and the service provider doesn't provide a way to disassociate their nitwit user from your credentials, that's their problem. It's best to attempt to contact the site and get it corrected, or to try to find contact information in the profile to alert the idiot who doesn't know his or her own email address and help them fix it, but changing the password and clearing the account settings of any payment information is often the ONLY way to communicate the mistake to the other person because of various kinds of privacy policies and corporate policies that provide no mechanism for correction.

Seriously, why don't you think before you hit somebodys password reset. That's clearly illegal.

No, it's not. If a service enforces a mandatory association of a user ID with a third-party credential (e.g., your email provider), then any account opened at that service belongs to the owner of that third-party account. In other words, the email account controls.

Canceling someone's airfare is a dick move--the online account should have simply been closed instead. But the person who bought the tickets should have used the right credentials and more importantly, the website operator should require some kind of verification both for creating accounts and for performing any kind of sensitive transaction.

Re:Misdirected ham (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 7 months ago | (#46312597)

I agree with your sentiments, but I also understand the parent poster's frustration.

There's a guy living in West Virginia who shares my surname and the first initial of my first name. He keeps giving out my Gmail address to businesses as his own. I suspect he's either old or just stupid, rather than intentionally giving out a fake address, because some of the emails seem to be stuff he likely signed up for intentionally. But I keep getting his appointment reminders, his renewal notices, and other crap - and it's been going on for several years now.

I have, on several occasions, contacted a number of these businesses and explained the situation. They always apologize and remove me... But, six months later, I'm back on their list because the guy has been back in for a service call on his Hyundai, a dental cleaning, or whatever. It's incredibly frustrating.

I have tried contacting him, but it's not as easy as you might think (or else he's just ignoring me). So I can understand the frustration the parent feels, and I can see why someone might succumb to the temptation of moving on to malicious behavior.

Re:Misdirected ham (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46314113)

Why the flying fuck is your email address easily connected to your name like that? You kinda deserve it you stupid cum stain.

Re:Misdirected ham (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 7 months ago | (#46313067)

Facebook! I was getting notice about posts to my wall for several weeks before I reset the PW (never signed up before then). Think Facebook spammed me enough to get me to actually sign-up except I didn't sign up other then to change the profile and reset the pw. Worked quite well as I have never gave em any information and I now block all facebook crap in my Hosts file with anything from facebook going right into the trash for my gmail account.

Re:Misdirected ham (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46314485)

I had the very same problem. Some guy in California decided to use my/his full name @gmail (but without the period in the username) when purchasing his Honda car. As a person who also works at a dealership (in a different country though), I understood what needs to be done exactly to get them to remove my email from all their databases (not just tell them to unsubscribe). Alas, the initial contact person ignored my plea. I forwarded my now angry email to the CEO/GM/etc. - people I can easily find on their entire company group - but that has also fallen on deaf ears. I am hoping this unsubscribe feature will help drive home the message that they got the wrong guy.

Because of his accidentally using my email address, and the dealership/company's ignorance, I now have his car's VIN. I'm not sure what I can do with it though.

Hmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46311765)

People still use Gmail?

Re:Hmm (1)

PenisLands (930247) | about 7 months ago | (#46311809)

Big cocks

spam? any more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46311787)

With the availability of free disposable or throwaway email addresses, there hasn't been any need to get spammed for a good 10 years now. I can't remember the last time I got a spam and my email is not spam-filtered.

Spam is a 1990's problem, not a 2010's problem.

Re:spam? any more? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46314121)

You just aren't popular. Even the spammers think you're useless. You should probably kill yourself.

National Do Not Spam registry. (1)

Snufu (1049644) | about 7 months ago | (#46311841)

We can dream, can't we?

Re:National Do Not Spam registry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312119)

I would rather use phone spiders, they can't just ignore those. :D

http://youtu.be/zLaQnrJSp9g

but i thought google was evil? (3, Interesting)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 7 months ago | (#46311889)

where are the people that bark google has too much power and are "intrinsically evil" because of it? where are the people crying that their privacy is being breached because it scans their email for context? where are the people claiming they have been "scroogled"? where are you naysayer of every change google makes to a (free) product? where is your vitriol toward google for perpetrating a clearly heinous act? then again, you could just mod me down for your bitter repute.

have you considered that google actually tries to follow their "dont be evil" edict?

Re:but i thought google was evil? (3)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 7 months ago | (#46311937)

Have you considered that people approve of Google when it does good things, and disapprove when it does bad things?

Re:but i thought google was evil? (0)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 7 months ago | (#46312021)

Have you considered that people approve of Google when it does good things, and disapprove when it does things they find inconvenient for them?

ftfy

Re:but i thought google was evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312315)

Have you considered that people approve of Google when it does good things, and disapprove when it does things they find inconvenient for them?

ftfy

Really?? In your world Google never does bad things? okey...

Re:but i thought google was evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46311961)

Presumably, they're in your head.

Re:but i thought google was evil? (2)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 7 months ago | (#46312025)

Clearly you're not thinking hard enough like a naysayer.

Google are doing this because of their evil plan to block spam. You see, it will be popular with users sheeple, and they will flock to gmail's deceptively free service. And then the advertisers who used to send spam now have to go to google and pay for ads in gmail itself, instead of sending them and getting google to pay for the infrastructure.

And of course, google knows all about what you get in email and don't block, so they can tailor the ads just for you, and charge an even higher price!

Evil geniuses, those google people.

Re:but i thought google was evil? (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 7 months ago | (#46312045)

Dammit, slashdot took out the strikethru html code. Now I look like a user sheeple.

Re:but i thought google was evil? (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 7 months ago | (#46312133)

Dammit, slashdot took out the strikethru html code. Now I look like a user sheeple.

slashdot? nay! it was google!

btw, strikethrough has been gone a lone time which is why (more) people started using misconfigured terminal backspace char "^H"

Re:but i thought google was evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312551)

I've posted in this thread already so I can't moderate it, but FYI I moderate every post that uses the word "sheeple" as troll. It's a catchphrase of the weak-minded, who somehow think other people's priorities should be the same as theirs.

Re: but i thought google was evil? (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 7 months ago | (#46313041)

I was using it ironically.

Re: but i thought google was evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46314205)

Ironically, you're a moron.

Captchas (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 7 months ago | (#46311921)

I wish google implemented captchas for sending me email.

How does that work?

Well, if you, the unverified person, wished to send me an email, Google would send an email back containing a captcha.
If you solve the captcha, you would enter my "first-line-of-defense whitelist", and the e-mail gets sent to me.
Needless to say: otherwise, your e-mail would end up in /dev/null.

Re:Captchas (1)

real gumby (11516) | about 7 months ago | (#46311969)

I wish google implemented captchas for sending me email[] If you solve the captcha, you would enter my "first-line-of-defense whitelist"

You can easily implement this kind of thing if by running your own server. Google is quite unlikely to implement complicated features that few people would actually use.

OK, admittedly they implemented Google+ which is complicated and which O(0) people actually use, but I claim that’s the exception not the rule.

Re:Captchas (2)

CBravo (35450) | about 7 months ago | (#46312641)

Some people want to receive invoices, newsletters, package delivery notifications and other automated messages. So captcha would not really work nice.

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312031)

Well I don't have this issue with my email from my domain vicodin.es which allowed me to make the email Ilove and yes I'm dead fucking serious.

fuck that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312153)

Fuck that, I want a 'bounce' option I can control.

Re:fuck that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312367)

You can't bounce an email after it's been received. Unless you want gmail to hold the connections of everybody that mails you open until you log in, so you can decide to bounce it or let through, it can't ever work.

Google implements RFC 2369, film at 11 (1, Interesting)

mrsam (12205) | about 7 months ago | (#46312603)

All that Google did here is implement a fifteen year-old RFC. As Benny Hill would've said: "Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig ...deal."

This is nothing earth-shattering. I coded an unsubscribe link in sqwebmail, for exactly the same thing, circa 7-8 years ago (too lazy to trawl a bunch of dusty CVS logs to get an exact date). Really, every time Google goes ahead and does something related to an obscure, unimportant RFC, it's front page news, these days.

Re:Google implements RFC 2369, film at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46313499)

Google has millions of users, you probably don't. That is why its a big deal.

Re:Google implements RFC 2369, film at 11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46313689)

You pour a can of motor oil down the storm drain and no one cares. But then you pour 8 tanker trucks full of oil down the storm drain, it's front page news, these days.

Unclear (2)

Threni (635302) | about 7 months ago | (#46312767)

Is it just another link to the unsubscribe link already in the email? In which case, I probably won't want to click it, for the usual reasons (instead clicking on Delete or, more likely, Spam).

If Google is letting you unsubscribe from email lists/spam etc which don't have an unsubscribe option, by acknowledging your click of their unsubscribe button, and then treating further emails from that sender as having been unsubscribed from by simply dropping them (or sending back an unsubscribe request without the users getting involved) then it's a little more cool.

Do Not Need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46312859)

I already have an "unsubscribe" button:

/usr/bin/bogofilter -s

Great. (1)

tom229 (1640685) | about 7 months ago | (#46312931)

Now how do I unsubscribe from Google's data mining?

Spam is not unwanted e-mail (1)

The Cat (19816) | about 7 months ago | (#46313085)

Spam is:

1. Unsolicited
2. Commercial
3. Bulk
4. Off-topic

It must be all four or it is not spam.

Spam is not "any e-mail or message that I don't want to read." Such a definition renders one person introducing themselves to another person via e-mail "spam," which is absurd.

Oh by the way. When did Google become the Internet police? Altering the contents of an e-mail is a violation of U.S.C. title 17 sections 101, 106, et al. So is altering the contents of a third party's website: something Google does regularly with neither permission nor legal authority.]

Re:Spam is not unwanted e-mail (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 7 months ago | (#46314407)

Bullshit. Spam is unsolicited bulk email. It has no requirement to be commercial -- claiming otherwise was just an old spammer excuse for why their particular shotblast "wasn't spam" -- and "off-topic" doesn't even make any goddamn sense.

And buttoned up with a cartooney, no less...

Outlook 2013 Mail Tips (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | about 7 months ago | (#46313211)

Outlook 2013 has a pretty neat feature that I think is part of what they call Mail Tips.

It basically gives you little "apps" that parse the email for certain item and give you options based on the text. Unsubscribe links (gives options, but I haven't clicked), dates (sucks at being useful), action items (barely useful), and I think addresses (haven't tried).

Maybe this feature forced google to go ahead and release it for Gmail. I hope the gmail implementation of dates and action items is better than the Outlook implementation.

Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46313411)

Doesn't this mean people have to open the Spam? and GMail is loading images by default now, hence telling the "marketers" (read scum) that the email address is live? Leading to even more spam.

sneakemail.com is the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46313515)

not only do you have total control over your email but if someone has a data breach all of your other accounts everywhere are not compromised

Google: Still being evil. (0)

seebs (15766) | about 7 months ago | (#46313953)

Note that "unsubscribe" is not "report spam". Google does have a way to report spam; they have a web form you're supposed to fill out, which requires you to enter a valid gmail address for the sender. Note that you can cause gmail to generate outgoing messages which do not contain any gmail addresses anywhere in their headers. These cannot be reported to Google at all.

This is basically exactly what crappy spam-for-hire places have done, and exactly what legitimate mailers usually don't do. Google gets away with it in part because they're too big to fail (you can't just block all their stuff without serious losses), and in part because their automated filtering is reasonably good most of the time. But the fact remains, they're seneding spam and making it extra hard for people to inform them that it's spam. This is probably because there's money to be made sending spam and telling people to unsubscribe...

Re:Google: Still being evil. (1)

radio4fan (304271) | about 7 months ago | (#46315085)

Google does have a way to report spam;

Other than the bloody huge 'Report spam' button, the same size and right next to the 'delete' button, that is.

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