The Email Marketer Hall of Shame

Email is the unsung hero of many digital marketing strategies. It’s cheap, effective and everyone uses it. And so it is often abused — and not just by Nigerian princes and penis enlargement pill peddlers. Even the most self-respecting of marketers can go too far.

Enter Unroll.me, a service that scans users’ email accounts for all of the lists they subscribe to — either on purpose or unwittingly — and then offers users a choice: either unsubscribe from individual emails, consolidate a bunch of the emails into one single regular update, or take no action.

I ran my personal email through the service and it found 94 emails that I “subscribe” to. In order to begin unsubscribing I was asked to post a link to either Facebook or Twitter. But that feels like a small price to pay now that my inbox is 72 recurring emails lighter (including seven — seven! — different Old Navy email updates that started coming after I made one lone purchase for my 8-year-old last fall).

Anyone who wants to use the service must allow the app access to their email account, but Unroll.me promises to use your data for good. An example of such a good? On Monday the service announced the winners of its first annual “Unroll.me Awards,” a roundup of the most frequently unfollowed lists on the Internet.

Unroll.me claims to have stopped more than 1 billion emails, offers and updates from reaching their intended inboxes in 2013, and a breakdown of that data reads like a marketing hall of shame, a who’s who of mad spam bombers.

The biggest culprit: 1800Flowers. Apparently once people say “I love you” (or “I’m sorry”), they feel their work is done. But the 1800Flowers emails keep coming — and 52.50 percent of Unroll.me users asked for them to stop.

Rounding out the top five most frequently unsubscribed emails are: Ticketweb at number two with a 47.50 percent unsubscribe rate, ProFlowers (people really don’t like getting updates from flower delivery services), Expedia (once the trip is done, so is the user apparently) and Active.com.

The least unsubscribed email services may come as a surprise. With 70 percent of Unroll.me users choosing to stay subscribed to their updates, Facebook is the app’s “most popular” site. Google+ is a close second, followed by Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. It seems Unroll.me users are a social group of folks — not a bunch of flower-hating hermits. They just want to hear from people they actually know.

Click here for a full list of Unfollow.me’s winners and losers.

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