Get off the Mailing Lists with Unsubscribe

February 9, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Email is the most used form of direct communication in the world – after speech. As such you won’t be surprised to learn that many companies use email as a means of selling information and products, either directly or as a community “newsletter”.

While the annoyance of spam email can be dealt with by using an intelligent email system like Gmail or Windows Live/Hotmail or employing some useful additional software to your email client to scan and reject messages, email that you previously signed up to but don’t want any more cannot really be described as spam – after all, spam email is unsolicited.

Thankfully there is a very useful online service that will aid you in undoing lots of previous, poorly-considered email subscriptions and blocking spam.

Get off mailing lists with Unsubscribe

Setup an Unsubscribe.com Account

To take advantage of this service, visit www.unsubscribe.com/signup to get started. You will need to provide your name, the email account you want to block from mailing lists (which will be used as your username) and your email client, such as the desktop application like Mozilla Thunderbird or Windows Live Mail.

With the details entered, click Submit to proceed to the package selection screen. Two options are available, a free, 5 Unsubscribes per month option and an unlimited package; to try out the service, just, pick the free option.

Installing Unsubscribe to Thunderbird

After clicking Select you will see a list of download options particular to your email client. For this example we’ll use Extension for Thunderbird, so follow this link and click Download, and then Download again in the next screen.

Save the file to your computer and then open Thunderbird and go to Tools > Add-ons > Install… and browse for the downloaded thunderbird_unsubscribe.xpi file. Open this and then click Install Now, before using the Restart Thunderbird option to apply the change.

Using Unsubscribe to Cut Down Unwanted Email

In order to take advantage of the Unsubscribe.com add-in or extension (depending on what email client you’re using) you will first need to find the button that has been added.

Before that though, a quick explanation on how this service works. Basically, Unsubscribe allows you to block spam and emails from mailing lists that you might have inadvertently signed up to by combining a vast database of such emails with a team of experts to help with blocking messages.

However you have to engage in a small amount of software “training” – after all, the Unsubscribe add-on doesn’t know which of your emails you want to block until you tell it.

To get started unsubscribing, select an email message, open it and click unsubscribe; on first run, you will need to provide your username and password, but with all subsequent uses this will not be necessary.

Using Unsubscribe.com is a great way of disassociating yourself from mailing lists – when the unsubscribe button is pressed, an automated message is sent from the Unsubscribe.com servers to the email sender, with an unsubscribe command attached, thereby preventing subsequent messages!

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