An Email Bill of Rights for WebServices Users

An Email Bill of Rights for WebServices Users

The are a few email faux paux”s I see which regularly find their way into my inbox. Chief among them is the block of fine print below:

Please do not reply to this email. Replies to this email will not be responded to or read. To contact us, jump through hoop x, y, or z.

Let me get this straight: You expect me to read your email, but you will not read mine if I reply? Morever, you expect me to hunt down your contact information by poking around on your website?

There are few things more insulting to me as a user of a web service than a service that sends an email from This email address serves to discourage a two-way dialogue with a client base by discouraging easy communication.

It”s 2009. A dialogue with users is important. Their pain points today is your competitors” advantages tomorrow.

Here”s a novel idea: Respect your users” privacy and they will respect your brand.

My ”Webservice Email Bill of Rights”, written in plain-speak, below:
– Respond to users who reply to your emails.
– Concisely state the information you wish to communicate. Subject lines should be less than 5 words. The primary paragraph of your body should be no more than 2 sentences.
– Do not share my email address unless you tell me you are doing so. If you do so, disclose that on your signup form. Do not hide this information in fine print.
– Provide a Privacy Policy, written in plain-speak, not lawyer-speak.
– Provide a clear unsubscribe link. Bonus points if I don”t have to sign in to modify my subscription.
– Provide a “view this email online link”.
– Make it clear what emails I am going to receive from you upon subscription.
– Allow me to easily customize which types of email I receive from you (if you send more than one email type).
– If you have a document attached to your email, put it into a format that is open, free, and quick to open. (hint: no MS Office)

What would you add? What are the most common email faux paux”s you see in your inbox?

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