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Don’t over email people

I was recently invited to join a new online forum system by a friend. I clicked the link in an email I was sent and entered a password (they already knew my email address as my friend had given them it).

Once signed up, I clicked around 3-4 pages, joined a few topics of interest and then left. I spent about 60 seconds on the site in total, before seeing it wasn’t really something that I would be interested in.

Four days later and I’ve received 12 emails from them.

TWELVE EMAILS.

4 daily digests for the different topics I had expressed interest in and 8 individual emails for new posts and replies to older posts.

There is no reason to EVER send a new user 12 emails in such a short period of time by default. I ended up unsubscribing from all the emails (they were all different and so required 3-4 different unsubscribe links), and now they will never get the chance to entice me back to their website as they have abused my trust.

What they should have done is start off with a single digest of activity every few days and then as I started to use the site more…ask me if I wanted to get individual emails about every action that occurred on their site.

This way I would have gotten used to seeing them appear in my inbox. Maybe clicked on a few of them over a couple of weeks, and started to build up a routine about visiting them.

It is very rare that a user would ever need to know about EVERY action on their account, and once you overload a user with information they zone it out and you can never get them back. The boy who cried wolf is a good tail to remember…if everything is treated as a “stop in your tracks and read this” event…then users won’t read your really important alerts when they matter.

—jw