Including list-unsubscribe email header information in newsletter and email marketing messages is not an entirely new concept, but the way Hotmail is treating newsletter and email marketing messages which DO NOT include a list-unsubscribe email header has changed since it declared war on graymail in October, 2011.

As part of Hotmail’s new war on graymail, newsletter and email marketing messages that do not contain a list-unsubscribe email header will be sent directly to the Hotmail spam folder, even if the recipient subscribed to the newsletter or email marketing campaign.

What is graymail, you ask?

According to Hot mail:

“…75% of the email messages that people reported as spam are really legitimate newsletters, offers, or notifications that you just don’t want anymore. We call this type of unwanted email graymail, and we are excited to announce five powerful tools to help you take control of your inbox, get rid of graymail, and keep track of the email that’s important to you…”

One of the ways that Hotmail will decide if a newsletter falls into the graymail category is by the presence (or absence) of an unsubscribe link in the email header.

Newsletter and email marketing campaigns can include either a mailto: or URL unsubscribe link as part of the email header depending on their own preference, according to the new Hotmail rules.

When an unsubscribe link is present in the email header of a newsletter or email marketing campaign, Hotmail will treat it as legitimate, inbox-eligible email. The inclusion of a list-unsubscribe email header also allows Hotmail to make it easier for their customers to unsubscribe from the newsletter or email marketing subscriptions by adding their own unsubscribe link at the top of the message.

hotmail unsubscribe message

“…If a newsletter or email marketing message DOES NOT include a list-unsubscribe email header, email from that sender will be permanently routed to the spam folder…”

If you want your newsletter or email marketing campaign to reach the inbox of the Hotmail recipients on your email list, it is now imperative that you include an unsubscribe link in every email header.

How do I add an unsubscribe email header to my messages?

GroupMail users can configure a custom email header by modifying their sender identity. On the account properties screen, just click Configure to include an list-unsubscribe email header.

how to add an unsubscribe email header in GroupMail

Then, click “New” to create a new, custom email header.

How to add an unsubscribe email header in GroupMail

Enter List-Unsubscribe: for the Email Header Name and either your mailto: or URL link that you use to collect unsubscribe requests as the Value.

adding an unsubscribe email header in GroupMail

For more information on list-unsubscribe email header requirements and other tools that Hotmail is incorporating as part of its battle to keep customer inboxes clear from unwanted newsletter and email marketing messages (graymail), read Hotmail Declares War on Graymail.

For more information about list-unsubscribe email header requirements and RFC 2369 which serves as guidance for the “Use of URLs as Meta-Syntax for Core Mail List Commands and their transport through Message Header Fields”, read List Unsubscribe: A Simple Plan For Trusted Unsubscribe

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