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Unsubscribe vs. Opt-out

Our organization, CEPSM, recently ran a database “cleaning” email campaign to remind our e-communications subscribers that they are in full control of what they want to receive and how often. While at first instinct nobody wants to see their database decline in numbers, I’m sure most people would agree that clogging your audiences’ email in-boxes with info they do not want is much worse over the long term.

I thought I had my email terminology down pat, however I recently came across a blog post from our wonderful email service provider (Blue Sky Factory) which explained the difference between “unsubscribes” and “opt-outs”. I must shamefully admit, for the longest time I thought they were the same thing. They’re not.


This term means that the subscriber is removing his or herself from the specific list they’re on (which caused them to receive the email they are unsubscribing from).


This term means they are removing themselves from every list they are on from that source.

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