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For reasons I can't penny fathom, the new black is taking the email addresses of all your customers, and subscribing them to your newfangled email newsletters they neither wanted, nor ever requested.

Take this one from Wikia, sent earlier last month:

Welcome to Wikia's debut newsletter from The Social Universe for Fans, by Fans.

Every month, we're going to promote and feature your fan chronicles, offering you a quick resource for everything that's happening in fandom, from movies, TV, games, comics, lifestyle, books and music.

Or this vague one from MechKB:

You are receiving this e-mail because you have previously subscribed to the MechKB newsletter mailing list and/or you have previously purchased from us. Starting from today we aim to send out an e-mail like this once a week / fortnight with various updates and interesting tid-bits about Mechanical Keyboards and, of course, the latest updates and offers from

Of course, such newsletters are quick to reassure us that we can unsubscribe. This one from Wikia, emphasis not added by me:

If you're not interested in receiving this fandom-filled newsletter each month, you can change your email preferences at the bottom of this email.

And MechKB (it's just so easy!):

If you do not wish to receive these e-mails, unsubscribing is easy. Simply scroll down to the bottom of this e-mail and click "unsubscribe from this list." You can do this in future at any time. Otherwise, scroll down to have a look at what we have in mind.

I don't mean to pick unfairly on just these two companies, everyone from PayPal to my bank is doing it. I also happen to really like their sites, and am using a keyboard purchased from MechKB. The irony isn't lost on me that this newsletter email rant has also given them free publicity.

That said, if I were on the fence or indifferent about a service or site, these opt-out email newsletters may be enough to push me over the edge and take my business or data-minable social activities elsewhere.

Whoever is advising companies to abuse their email lists like this, please stop for the good of humanity and all that we hold dear.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Hi!

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