Newsletter quality

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At some point I must have given my email address to Classmates. I don’t remember doing so, but reputable companies generally don’t buy spam lists, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

This morning I got an offer from them for some sort of subscription bonus. I wasn’t interested, but here’s some hints for Classmates.

  1. Permission goes stale. I don’t remember signing up to receive offers from you. If I did it was long enough ago that I don’t recall doing it, but this is the first time I’ve gotten an email offer from you. If you haven’t contacted me for a long time, make sure you remind me why I’m getting this email and make it easy to get off your list.
  2. Check your links
    You spell check your newsletter don’t you? Then why don’t you also check and make sure all the links in the email work as well? Especially if you send HTML email to me where I can’t see where the link takes me until I click. I cound’t find unsubscribe instructions, so I clicked a link to your help section. The link has an extra space at the end, which my browser encodes as %20. So I got a page not found error. I happen to know that when I see that you really meant, but not everyone does.
  3. Color Blind
    I’m sure you thought that changing some of the text to red was a good way to highlight it. Good thing I’m not color blind or I might not have been able to see it. Many people have trouble reading red text on a white background. In fact I’ve seen some statistics that say up to 10% of people may have trouble with red text on white. The University of Wisconnsin has some good links resources for dealing with color blindness in Web design.

Steven Garrity
February 20, 2002 4:02 PM

"Permission goes stale." - Preach on brother! This important rule reminds me of Jakob Nielsen's proposed 'token' based permission system. Jakob idea involves giving a company a digital token that will allow one (or some other limited number) of opportunities to contact you without divulging your actual address. Good call.

Adam Kalsey
February 20, 2002 8:55 PM

But Nielsen would want to tie those tokens to micropayments. :) When I am required to divulge an email address, I often use a Sneakemail address. Sneakemail is a free service that allows you to create an unlimited number of thowaway email addresses that forward to your real email. If a company starts abusing it or if it shows up on a spam list, you can block all email forwarding or even delete the address altogether.

November 3, 2003 12:48 PM

I joined classmates several months ago. I changed computers and e mail a address. I can not get in touch with any one at your Help address. I sent a address change but when I go to Classmates all i get is advertising to get a a gold membership. I already have one under my old address but can not get it changed to my new email address. My old email address was ltankersley@ I am a member of the 1961 class at Whitehaven High school in Memmpis Tenn. I s there any way I can get this changed to my new address Right now the membership is worthless

Adam Kalsey
November 3, 2003 1:43 PM

Since I'm not affiliated with, there's not much I can do to help. Apparently this page is one of the top search results for, so I get a number of visitors who typed that URL into a search engine instead of their browser's address bar. Many of these people think that they've reached Classmates for some reason and send me a message asking for help. Many of these people have similar problems. They've tried contacting Classmates Help and don't ever get a response.

This discussion has been closed.

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