This happens to me multiple times per day.

My inbox receives an email newsletter that I did not subscribe to.

Most of them have options to unsubscribe – some don’t even have that ( and are promptly marked as spam ).

Rarely, if it’s from a brand / label that I would like to explore working with, apart from unsubscribing, I also write back to them telling them I’d love to explore working with them but “please don’t add me to your email newsletter”.

This is the email I wrote this time :

Girls, I’d love to work with you but I have removed myself from your newsletter. Kindly do not sign me up without my consent. Thanks!

Their response?

Hello Naina,
Hope you’re doing well!
Once you unsubscribe we won’t be able to add you back and send any further emails so don’t worry! 🙂

Say what again?

Mostly I try not to think too much about these email newsletters. They’re like a scourge. There seems to be no way around it. You unsubscribe from one and another ten pop up and I wish I was exaggerating.

99% of these email newsletters I receive are from Indian brands. The remaining one percent are from someone I’m connected with on LinkedIn. ( I’ve been on LinkedIn for years now – I don’t really use the platform to do much except post scheduled social media updates. Once in a month, I do go on to the platform and accept all the incoming “connection requests” my profile receives. But apart from that, nothing. Some people I’m connected to, seem to think they can add my email id to their newsletter without my permission – I tend to cancel the connection request and mark their newsletter as spam. )

No one seems to understand what “permission marketing” is anymore. You can send me a personalized email asking me if I would like to OPT-IN to receive your newsletter. You can’t just just sign me up for it without my consent. Why should I have to unsubscribe from it? I didn’t even subscribe to it in the first place!

You know what it makes you look like? It makes you look like those street vendors who hound car-drivers at traffic lights. A waste of all that effort you must have put into creating your brand, logo, branding, newsletter design etc. Why would you do something to jeopardise your brand’s reputation? Reputations take time to build and the drop of a hat to ruin.

If there’s a brand I’d like to keep in touch with, I’ll find a way. I’ll follow them on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook or everywhere. If they have a newsletter, I might even OPT-IN and subscribe to their newsletter. It’s a good thing you can’t force me to follow you on social media. You can’t force me to subscribe to your newsletter either – you can sign me up without my consent of course but I’m not going to like that. If I’m having a good day, I might just unsubscribe and forget about it. If I’m having a bad day, I might mark it as spam and then even when you have a legitimate reason to email me, it’s not coming through. Why would you want to do that?

For someone who publicly shares their email address online – to make it easier for prospective clients to get in touch for work, I could consider this as one of the hazards of doing business online. Some of you might, “Oh it’s just an email. Unsubscribe and get on with it.” But when you have at least a handful of new newsletters to unsubscribe from each day, the clicks add up.

One click to open the email, another click to scroll down and find the unsubscribe button, another click to click on the link, another click to hit the “Yes I’m sure” button and then another click to close that browser window. Five to ten times a day, that adds up. Without my consent. At some level, I don’t mark all of them as spam because I worry that if any of them turns out to be a prospective client tomorrow, if they write to me, I won’t get that email and will miss out on work. Which is probably why these newsletters continue to arrive in my email inbox. Because I allow it.

There is very little respect for a person’s time in India. This phenomenon of forcefully signing people up to your newsletter without their permission, is a reflection of the same attitude.


More anecdotes and stories in the #WTFNaina series. ( These are all inspired by true stories. Some written emails, some from face-to-face meetings. They have all been piling up for years now and I’ve decided to put them to use! )




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