The Abuse of the Email Lists

I’ve been the lucky recipient of both the flu and a wicked secondary sinus infection for the past couple of weeks. Can I just say how incredibly sexy I look with my bright red nose and chronic bed head? Having spent the past 10 days moving back and forth between the sofa and my bed, but unable to brain long enough to actually write anything meaningful, I took some time this week to tackle my email list. Actually, I only did that today since up until now, my arms hurt too much to actually lift the laptop. #truestory

Back to the email thing. I’m not referring to the ever popular email list that all the cool bloggers are supposed to be building, (I’m saving my thoughts about that for another day.) but the unending pile of unopened emails in my inbox. Because that inbox is a hot mess. A bigger hot mess than I am, which is saying something.

I don’t know how it happened that I can go for days without seeing or speaking to another adult human but I receive almost 500 emails a day, most of which contain things that I have little interest in. Actually, there were about 2 that were from people I know in real life and the rest was just stuff that made me tired. Seriously. How did this happen?

The abuse of the email list and what to do about it

It’s okay. We’re going to fix it.

It probably started with websites like Joss & Main that won’t even let you browse their shop until you sign up for their email list. I’m a sucker for that stuff. Well, I was. Unsubscribed. Along with all of the other online shopping sites that email me on a daily (seriously?) basis. Jeez. Stand down already.

I feel like someone needs to invent an auto response to these emails that says something like “The recipient of your email is broke and cannot possibly afford anything you’re selling.” Or possibly “This recipient has small children with special needs and will never have nice things again.” And then the sender would just stop sending since it probably costs money to send those emails out anyways. Can someone invent that?

And then there were all of the places I’ve ever made an online purchase from. Apparently that purchase gave them permission to add me to their email list. Rather than just unsubscribing, I’ve spent a couple of years deleting unopened emails. That ended today. And for those that don’t have an unsubscribe button or I have to jump through hoops to look for it (cough, cough Hobby Lobby)….you’re on your way to the spam box. #sorrynotsorry

Then, of course, there are all the sites I take a momentary interest in depending on my whim of the month. Like the time I kidded myself and thought I would take the boys to Disney over Christmas. I’m now the proud collector of at least 10 Disney emails every month. Buh-bye. If I need to know anything in the future, I’ll google it.

Or all those dang pop ups that sucker me into signing up for newsletters and emails because of a free something or other. Can I be honest? I’m usually pretty underwhelmed by the freebie but I’m left with a zillion emails every month announcing every. single. update. ever. Gone.

I’m also a big sucker for webinars. Or, I was. Because I’ve decided that I’m officially on overload from information on how to be bigger, better, and more. Once the webinar is over, I’m left with even more offers of how to be better in my inbox. For a cost, of course. Ahhh….the dreaded sales funnel. Ummm….no. (How to be better webinars are a post for another day as well.). I’m tired of trying to be better at blogging, I’ve decided I’ll try to focus on coughing without peeing.

As I went through my emails today and deleted close to 20000 unopened messages, I realized that I’ve also been signed up for emails from bloggers who’s link parties I visit occasionally. Except I didn’t actually sign up for the email list. I’m calling foul on those. Since when it is okay for a host to misuse a party goers email and add it to their email list without permission? Sorry, folks. That’s cheating and it’s not nice to build an email list by cheating. You got axed today. I’d say I won’t be visiting those link parties either but I’m a little whacked on cold meds and I forgot to write down the offenders names. I’ll figure it out, I guess, when I’m suddenly back on the email list.

How to manage an overwhelming inbox with one simple trick

I also shut off all of the Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram updates. If I want to know what’s happening from here on out, I’ll just log in. As an aside, I don’t get Twitter at all and it hurts my brain.

You know what really made me semi- crazed today? Before I start writing, I always do a bit of research to make sure I’m not repeating information or posts that are already out there. I got pulled into lots of articles about how to manage overloaded email inboxes. But my absolute favorite (sarcasm alert) was the site that promised to help me get more organized by…..wait for it….signing up for their email list. Actually, every single article I read was interrupted by a pop up asking me to sign up for their email list. If it didn’t make me cough up a lung and wet myself, I’d have laughed out loud. You’re kidding, right?

As I write this, my email box is pinging away with more email notifications to tell me that I’ve been unsubscribed. Super.

So….the answer to slimming down that email inbox? The unsubscribe button. Go ahead. Click it. This is a view worth celebrating.

How to manage an overwhelming inbox with one simple trick.


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  1. I’m so sorry, but I want to laugh…only because you are funny as heck and because I feel your pain on so many of these issues. I don’t like being sneaked onto an email list. But I do get myself on more than enough of them based on a current interest/whim, too. Then, I think, “Why did I do that? I knew I wasn’t going to buy/do/sign up/follow up with that when I did it.” LOL!

  2. I am with you, sick and tired and sick of the emails. Then, like you said, they email you to let you know you unsubscribed. Argh! Fell better.

  3. I am with you, sick and tired and sick of the emails. Then, like you said, they email you to let you know you unsubscribed. Argh! Feel better.

  4. Once again Jenna, we are in the same boat on this topic! I love supporting other bloggers but I want the entire week in one email that I can easily digest, not 4 or 5 a week, I can’t do it! I have one newsletter a week and it’s tied to the VIP Lounge full of tutorials, this way I can give value. The only way I can see doing it. At one time I had over 15,000 emails in my inbox, just crazy! Ain’t nobody got time for that! It took me ages to delete them all, and to unsubscribe! I don’t want to be a Scrooge, but I have to have time to live and run my business too! Love your tone, I laughed many times, and I sure hope you are feeling better!

  5. Feel better soon! I need to check if inlinkz automatically subscribes people to our party updates. I hope not and I hope you’ll still visit our party. I unsubscribed from most email lists as well (it was a part of my ‘unplugging challenge’, which wasn’t that much of the challenge, but necessity to keep me sane ;)) I absolutely love your rants and I’m waiting for more! 🙂 Bring on ‘becoming better webinars’ 😉 Your post will be featured this week at Idea box.

    • Oh, I almost forgot! They’re coming back! Subscription emails, I mean :- O
      I had unsubscribed from some of the email lists many times and after a month or two, emails are back. Honest 🙂

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