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Recently looking for contracts and jobs here (a long, long story) I noticed the very heavy competition for my viewing eyes from job boards. To differentiate they all had the best email list or an RSS feed for my favourite harvester.

This process has given me a clear path into which sites I'd use again. Those sites are definitely not the ones I'm still trying to get rid of now. So why does this matter? Brand, recommendation, customer experience.

It is odd there are so many job sites. I realise that 60 odd million people will demand the average entrepreneur to chance his/her/its arm and jump in with all three feet to give it a go. For digital marketing jobs I got to 15 job sites. Yes, that was fifteen job sites. I will not list them all, in fact, they shall all remain nameless. That is because I gave up at 15. It would be unfair to name just the minority but I digress. My point is that they used the same tactic to pull me in and in varying degrees did an okay job but it is the kiss goodbye where I see the biggest failure. This will determine potential re-use.

A web savvy guy like me has an obvious preference for RSS feeds. Job done, I unsubscribe and it is bye till next time when I look to my well organised bookmarks and pick up the good sites again.

Email, however, is another story altogether.

It has been a week now and I am still trying to rid my box of the more aggressive websites. Okay, it takes a little bit to win customers but please accept there is a lifecycle. Most people dearly hate looking for jobs. You, the job site, are an evil necessity, a 'hate purchase' (does that mean it is a hate crime?) and your lifespan is eventually up.

As for those added extras like career advice? Oh come on, you're a website not a psychologist. Subject matter expert? Maybe in recruitment but I'll stick with this place for digital marketing thanks.

The difficulty and obstacles encountered to unsubscribe from many recruitment websites goes beyond comprehension. What happened to a simple unsubscribe link? Click, gone, happy me, I'll subscribe again when I need you.

Instead, let's put some hoops up. Let's make me log in, find that password again that was auto-generated, it'll be with the other 14 websites. In fact, let's hide the unsubscribe function deep within the website so it is difficult to find unless I have an hour to find it.

The only reason for this is to bolster the list numbers to keep them in the game with advertisers. Quality list? Nada.

So why does this matter again? Brand, recommendation, customer experience.

And spam.

I've just given up. Spamhaus and Gmail have some new entries. Not only have you distracted me, you're about to be very distracted yourself. It is a little like sending empty replied paid envelopes back to unsolicited direct mailers but worse. Your cost for making unsubscribe difficult has not only lost a future customer, it has made your customer engagement more difficult because you'll end up in the spam queue.


Next time make it easy. It will leave the door open on the way out...

Julian Grainger

Published 28 September, 2009 by Julian Grainger

Julian Grainger is an internet consultant and cotnributor to Econsultancy.

9 more posts from this author

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