28 December 2007

Unsubscribe me

The unsubscribe mechanisms of websites always frustrate me. Understandably, they're not usually the focus of the business that is about making new customers. However, they're still important so as not to alienate customers that might want to just not receive email notifications about your site.

It's my efforts to unsubscribe from the Newegg technology store that are currently frustrating me. However, first I need to explain how I got subscribed in the first place to notifications from a store that doesn't even ship to Australia.

About 18 months ago, I read a somewhat interesting article on AnandTech about how the Newegg warehouse system works and finally got to the end where they offered a prize of a new AMD system to the readers.

Before signing up for the competition (whose website has now disappeared), I spent some time looking through the terms and conditions to find out whether I had to be a US citizen to be eligible. No information there. I look through their website, the About page, the contact page, terms of shipping and so on, and there seemed to be no apparent restrictions in where they shipped to.

I completed the entry form, which requested my email address, name and so on, which I submitted. At the final step of the submission, it blocked me from completing it because my IP indicated I was in Australia, and the competition wasn't open to anyone outside the US because they don't ship there.

However, the fact that I didn't enter the competition apparently didn't stop them adding my email address to their mailing list, since I started receiving Christmas offers from them last week.

Fair enough, I thought, I'll just unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of the notification email. I was directed to their unsubscribe form, entered my email address, and clicked ‘Unsubscribe’. The page timed out.

So I just deleted the email, and forgot about it for a while. This week, they were back, offering me post-Christmas sales. It was time to really unsubscribe. Fortunately in this instance, hitting the unsubscribe button worked successfully, and I received a confirmation email (emphasis added):

Your request to unsubscribe from the Newegg.com Newsletter has been received.

Please allow 10 business day for your subscription preferences to update completely. If you receive a Newegg.com Newsletter after the 10 business day please forward the email to the following address with a brief description of the problem.

We hope you will return in the future as a subscriber. If there is anything we can do to improve our Newsletters, please let us know.

Not only is their English awful, but ten business days?! How can it possibly take them ten business days to remove my email from their database? This from a company that claims to have a remarkably efficient stock management system, according to the original article I read. Looks like similar attention to the finer details of their website would pay off.