Google has released a new feature that will be a boon to online marketers and recipients alike: an unsubscribe link that sits at the top of email messages, right next to the recipient’s name and email address, making it easier for recipients to find and unsubscribe from messages they don’t want. Known as a ‘list-unsubscribe’, the link will allow recipients to quickly unsubscribe without having to leave Gmail. Clicking the link opens a pop-up window that will double-check your desire to unsubscribe.

While many senders may be concerned over the potential rise in unsubscribes, this new feature has an important benefit, as Google has found that many recipients carelessly mark unwanted emails as SPAM instead of spending the extra time to scroll to the bottom of the page and unsubscribe. While in most cases these recipients initially agreed to receive these messages from the sender, for any number of reasons they are simply no longer interested. By marking the message as SPAM instead of unsubscribing, however, recipients cause damage to the sender’s reputation.

While this change may cause an uptick in unsubscribe rates, having a somewhat smaller list is far better than racking up a lot of SPAM complaints. So this simple change to make it easier for recipients to unsubscribe will actually be a plus for all parties involved: recipients, senders, and Google as well. The change will allow recipients to keep their inboxes cleaner, while helping senders maintain their solid sender reputations.  Senders who send a lot of traffic to Gmail, or get a noticeable amount of SPAM complains from Gmail recipients, should certainly consider taking advantage of this new feature.

This feature is part of a broader initiative by Google to improve the platform’s SPAM-catching and deliverability capabilities. Last year Google introduced inbox categories to separate messages by type – like promotional messages, social-related messages, and updates – for the purpose of uncluttering recipients’ inboxes. Google is also in the testing stages of a feedback loop feature that will allow senders to receive detailed reports from Google regarding recipients who mark their messages as SPAM. All of these features are designed to help Google maintain a balance between their millions of recipients who use Gmail for private use, and companies that send out bulk marketing messages.

Aol and Hotmail are also planning to roll out similar functionality; while Aol’s list-unsubscribe will be very similar to Google’s design, Hotmail has chosen to add the link along the bottom of messages.

To enable this new header unsubscribe link, we will need to make a minor change to your Real Magnet account settings, so please contact Real Magnet Support at (301) 652-4025 or Support@RealMagnet.com.