Each day, I get an email from the Los Angeles Times updating me on the latest stories. It’s nice, convenient and often drives me back to the site. But insanely, the LA Times wants to screw it all up for me and probably thousands of other subscribers.
Earlier this month, I got a notification that my subscription would come to an end:
Your e-mail newsletter subscriptions are about to end
We’ve given our newsletters a clean new look. And we’re cleaning up our subscription lists too.
We’re asking all existing subscribers to confirm they’d like to continue receiving our newsletters at no charge.
Plus, you’ll be automatically entered to win one of twenty $50 American Express gift cards.
What??? My subscription was working perfectly fine, and the LA Times just suddenly decides it needs to screw everything up? What’s going on?
It really makes no sense to me. I’ve run my own email newsletters for over 15 years. I’ve “clean” the looks of those email newsletters plenty of time without having to threaten my readers that they’ll be dumped off the list if they don’t resubscribe.
As for cleaning a list, email management software makes it very easy to dump bad addresses. There’s no need to force your readers to do more work.
I expect the LA Times is going to lose thousands of email subscribers because of this idiot move. People just won’t bother to reconfirm their subscriptions. Worse, it’s painful for those who DO decide to renew.
Clicking on the renew link takes you over here, where you’re told to register for the LA Times web site. Got it — you want a newsletter, you have to have a web site subscription.
That’s kind of like saying that if you want to listen to a radio station, you need to register with a TV station. Email and web browsing are two completely different mediums. Email can drive to the web site — sure. And if you really want people to register to read, then hit them when they show up over there. But that’s not how the LA Times operates now. You can read without registration. So why on earth do you require people to register for an email update of articles they may want to read.
Oh, already registered, like I am? Then there’s this note:
Already registered? To start or manage newsletter subscriptions, go to your user profile. To get there, click on “Register” and sign in using the login information you registered with. Once signed in, click on your name on the top left-hand corner of the latimes.com home page.
Are you kidding me? You want me to do all this just to keep my email newsletter going? But OK, I’ll play along.
Um, what happened to using the “login information you registered with,” you know, that I registered with years ago before we even had some of these services. I’m not alone — surely there were thousands of people who registered with the LA Times using one of these accounts. I guess those are dead. And I guess everyone has to trust that they want to give their personal info to one of these third party firms for the privilege of getting a freaking email update from the LA Times.
When you do that, by the way, you don’t save any time. I used my Twitter account to “register” with the LA Times. After doing this, I still had to create an LA Times-based username — plus provide the heart of what this entire exercise was all about, my ZIPCODE, Gender and Birth Date. Get that data about registered users, and you can better sell ads online.
Hey, I get that. But there should have been a far less painful way to do this for those getting email newsletters from the LA Times — and a far less riskier way to avoid losing readers.
Heaven help them. I chose the easier option. I just unsubscribed.