Author Mailing Lists and Misinformation Lemmings Jumping Off GDPR Cliffs

If you’re like me, you probably feel yourself a little besieged right now. Yes, I just went through my inbox, and deleted yet another handful of “GDPR-compliance” emails, exhorting me to tick a box in order to stay on a list.

I delete them.

The senders are nuts, uninformed lemmings jumping off unnecessary cliffs.

There is just so much misinformation about author mailing lists and GDPR, that it’s rage-inducing. The flood of misinformed emails is rage-inducing, too.


The EU is introducing laws about personal data and how it can be used online. Good on them. Know those emails where you have no idea how you ended up on a list, much less how to remove yourself? It’s directed at those people. Big companies, who might sell your data to data warehouses. They’re not allowed to do that. Awesome.

For small-time users of email lists, Mailerlite made this really helpful post (and variations of this information exist elsewhere). The beef is in the little paragraph under “Revalidate Your Subscribers”:

If you are not sure that the people on your current lists gave consent or you don’t have a record of it, the onus is on you to revalidate all of your EU subscribers now.

OK, let’s unpack that from an author perspective:

“IF you are unsure…”

As author, you’re not unsure, because you’ve used double optin and/or tickboxes in your signup process, like ALL THE FRIKKEN TIME.

“The onus is on you…”

Cool, but only if you are unsure. YOU ARE NOT. Please don’t fall to the “better safe than sorry” ruse. In this case, it’s really not safe to be safe and send it out “just in case” unless you want to commit mailing list harakiri.

“Don’t have a record of it”

Yes, you do have a record. Mailerlite or whatever company you use records it. If your subscribers are from a joint giveaway, the King Sumo app that almost every organiser uses, records it. Furthermore, for each individual subscriber, they have a record of what they clicked and what groups they’re in. The subscriber can download that if they like. The subscriber can unsubscribe whenever they like.

“revalidate your EU subscribers”

OK, if you really want to do this (and I really don’t think it’s necessary, but say you really want to reduce your perfectly legal mailing list by 80%), please only send it to EU subscribers. NOT THE WHOLE FRIKKEN WORLD. I am in Australia. Why am I getting this garbage? Learn how to separate out your subscribers according to locality, and don’t even touch this subject before you can do it.

What am I going to do?

I’ve used double optin or checkboxes for my entire list (and my guess is, so have you). What am I going to do about GDPR? Well, at this stage… NOTHING. I’m already compliant. I might put up a privacy policy on my website, but I incorporate a statement in my signup process already.

The comments on this blog are closed, but this post is syndicated to my Facebook page, where you can comment and ask further questions.

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