Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chrome Extension to Easily Unsubscribe From Newsletters in Gmail

I signup on lots of websites to try out new web apps and other stuff, and more often than not, end up on their mailing list. Everyday these sites send me scores of emails that goes straight to trash. I skim through the subject lines in my inbox, select the ones I do not need and delete them. Since I never open any of these mails, I’ve never had a chance to unsubscribe from them. This had become a daily ritual until one day I decided to unsubscribe from each and every one of these unsolicited correspondence.

I used a little trick I learned sometime ago: I searched for the words “unsubscribe” and bam! Gmail showed me all newsletters that had an option to unsubscribe. I opened each email, hunted for the unsubscribe link - that is usually located at the bottom of the mail and printed with the smallest possible font – clicked on it followed the procedure. It was time consuming and tiring, but since the clean-up I get fewer newsletters than I did before.

Today, I chanced upon an extension for Chrome that could have made my job easier.

The unintuitively named “unsubscribe from newsletters easily on g-mail” extension adds a prominent, red “Unsubscribe” button to newsletters at the very top of the mail, next to the Gmail action buttons. Every time you open an email this extension searches for the unsubscribe link and if found, displays an “Unsubscribe” button on the email.

unsubscribe-button

I tested this extension against several newsletters and regular emails containing the word “unsubscribe” and have found that the extension works only when the word “unsubscribe” is in the anchor text of a link. In layman terms, if the word “unsubscribe” is also a clickable hyperlink, then the extension gets into work. Otherwise, it won’t. Any occurrence of the word “unsubscribe” without a hyperlink is ignored.

This also means that the extension sometimes work and sometimes doesn’t. Some newsletters would say: “To unsubscribe, click here”, where “click here” is the hyperlink, like this email from Quikr.com.

no-unsubscribe-button

The extension can’t detect those, and would not show the red “unsubscribe” button. Also, the extension doesn’t verify whether the unsubscribe links actually goes to the unsubscribe page on the website.

It still works most of time, and if you really hate looking for the unsubscribe link, you will love this extension.

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