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As a certified sender, what do I need to know about unsubscribe mechanisms?

An unsubscribe mechanism is a way for subscribers to opt out of receiving your emails.

Different types of mechanisms include:

  • A link to a website
  • A response to an email
  • A phone call

As part of the Certification Standards and Requirements, senders must include a clear, straightforward, and easy-to-use unsubscribe mechanism in all promotional and commercial email. 

Typically, when you make it difficult for subscribers to unsubscribe from your email, they complain by marking your email as spam. This negatively impacts your deliverability and reputation as a sender. 

Requirements

For certified senders, all unsubscribe mechanisms need to be:

  • Easy to use:
    • Make sure your unsubscribe mechanism is easy to find
    • Make sure it is easy for users to understand how to unsubscribe
    • Do not require users to log into their accounts to unsubscribe
  • Timely:
    • Respond to unsubscribe requests within 3 days
    • Resolve all unsubscribe requests within 10 days
  • Persistent:
    • Once users unsubscribe, do not send them commercial or promotional emails
    • Once users unsubscribe, do not sell, share, or lease their addresses or information
  • Indefinite:
    • Keep the unsubscribe link active for at least 60 days following the sending of the commercial message
    • Do not contact users or add them back into your email list unless they subscribe to your email program again
  • Absolute:
    • Allow the recipients of peer-initiated email to globally unsubscribe or opt out of all of your emails
  • Flexible:
    • Let users unsubscribe through alternative methods such as phone calls, postal mail, and email accounts that do not usually deal with unsubscribe requests

In addition to the requirements listed above, your email program's unsubscribe process must be compliant with regional email laws. 

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