Google is adding an "unsubscribe" link in the header of marketing and promotional emails to remove the frustration of trying to find it in the footer.
Mailing lists don't want you to unsubscribe — but not including the option contravenes the Spam Act of 2003 (which exists in the US and Australia) and other email spam legislations around the world. What this means is that marketing emails will — as we all know — follow the letter of the law by including an unsubscribe link in teeny tiny font right down the bottom of the email. The fine print, as it were.
And using it, unfortunately, doesn't always work (although that's against the Spam Act as well, at least in Australia). But Google is now rolling out a way for Gmail users to unsubscribe from marketing emails quickly and easily — by including an "unsubscribe" link right in the header information of an email, providing that particular mailing list has one (one example that we found that didn't have an unsubscribe link had a link to "email options" instead).
Putting it in the header will do two things: provide users with easy access to unsubscribing (of course); and reduce the incidence of users reporting legitimate marketing emails as spam when they can't locate the unsubscribe options.
Google announced the rollout at the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group conference in San Francisco last week.
"One of the biggest problems with the Gmail spam filter is identifying unwanted mail or soft spam," Google software engineer Vijay Eranti said. "We want to empower users with an easy way to control what they want to receive."
The link will be rolled out to Gmail users over the next week.