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Unsubscribe Confirmations Can Be Legal, Effective

I recently unsubscribed from Omaha Steaks email because I was subscribed with more than one email address and no longer wanted to receive duplicate messages. After unsubscribing via email, I was sent a real-time “We removed your email address” confirmation message. I had never received an email like this before (I am told other businesses also practice this), but it soon got me thinking — is it CAN-SPAM compliant? How will affect the user experience?  What about complaint rates?

I checked with a CAN-SPAM compliance team to see if this type of email sent after an unsubscribe was CAN-SPAM compliant. I learned that unsubscribe confirmation messages like these are, in fact, compliant because “the CAN-SPAM Act explicitly exempts this type of email in their definition of ‘transactional or relationship messaging.’ The law provides an exemption for ‘notifications of a change in the recipient’s standing or status with respect to a subscription.’”

Since the unsubscribe email was deployed right after I clicked the unsubscribe button, I did not feel like my request was being taken advantage of. It also helped that the the email from Omaha Steaks used very clear, heartfelt and thoughtful language in their message. They did a great job with this post opt-out email all around, from the subject line ("We removed your email address...") to the signed note from the owner.

Does sending an email to recent opt-outs work for all email marketing programs?  Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

Click here to Take the CAN-SPAM quiz.  How did you do?


  1. Hey Jordan,

    I have to say, I think this email is begging for complaints. Reason being, the average email user expects senders to go above and beyond CAN SPAM compliancy and stop sending emails immediately. If someone just asked you to stop sending email, why do you then think it makes sense to send yet another one saying "Goodbye"? Everything in this email could have easily been accomplished on an unsubscribe confirmation landing page.

    Those are my thoughts, though, and am open to opposing theories and thoughts.

    -Kelly Lorenz

  2. Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for your thoughts. As you were alluding to just because something is legal, does not mean it should be done.

    Omaha Steaks seems to be fairly aggressive with their marketing. Not only do they send a good amount of email (and get near the edge of what is allowed legally) - they also send tons of snail mail. They are in the Top 10 mailers in the US.

    - Jordan