Worst-Ever Unsubscribe Experience

Every now and then, I let a retail cashier sign me up for the company marketing e-mail newsletter, mostly to see what they’re doing for e-mail marketing. OMG! I have to say that Books-a-Million (BAM!) has won an award with me today.

I decided, based on sheer volume of e-mail and the ease of ordering from Amazon, to unsubscribe from BAM’s mailing lists. You know how it’s supposed to go; there are standard practices: Click the unsubscribe link and you get a message, “You have been unsubscribed.” Easy-peasy. Not so with BAM.

Here is the footer of the last e-mail message I ever wanted to receive from BAM:


It says, "Click here, and you'll fill out a new e-mail message."

So, if I click on the link and a new message is supposed to open, that tells me that the code underneath must be:

<a href="mailto:unsubscribe@booksamillion.com">here</a>

…or something like that. No. It’s actually a link to:


When you click it, a new tab opens, and several minutes–minutes!–later you see:


Whose options are THESE???


…and so, I had to select “unsubscribe” from every little drop-down, for unintelligible mailing lists. It was easy, since I’d already decided I never wanted to receive anything from BAM again. And another several minutes later, the page confirmed thusly:


Oh, good. It worked...?

Now, there are too many things wrong with this scenario to list them all, so I shake my head and wonder: “Why would any developer build such a cryptic and horrible interface?–too awful to contemplate.

Books-a-Million, you have a serious problem in your e-mail marketing department. I hope you can track it down.

Postscript: Several HOURS later, I noticed that I had to click the “unsubscribe” button AGAIN to make it final. Sheesh!

About: rsgracey

@rsgracey has spent his life moving from one area of interest to another, collecting knowledge, skills, and experience (and TOOLS!) for a wide range of creative and professional fields. If you need someone to help you "think through" any problem of information, communication, and the community, don't hesitate to call him in.


  1. Lana says:

    Wow, that really is horrible!! Good lesson on what not to do!

  2. Kathy says:

    I’m having the same problem this morning. There are 82 (82!) items from which to unsubscribe. Unfortunately after I painstakingly clicked unsubscribe on each one (and the text is tiny so you have to be exact on your clicking) I clicked Save expecting to be taken to the verification page only to get that annoying Page Cannot Be Displayed page instead. And of course when I clicked the back button, all the items are back to Subscribed again so I have to start over. Now I’m trying just a few at a time. So far I’m up to the “Es” in the alphabetical listing. Only about 66 more to go!

    Probably should just block Books a Million from my Gmail. Sheesh!