Destroy Unwanted Email Ads By Filtering The Word ‘Unsubscribe’

Destroy Unwanted Email Ads By Filtering The Word ‘Unsubscribe’

Reddit user enthros discovered a very effective and simple way to destroy unwanted advertisements in your inbox: filter on the word “unsubscribe”. This is because pretty much every newsletter and advertisement is required to have some sort of text that provides instructions on how to unsubscribe.

The problem with this method is that you will catch some dolphins with your tuna (which is to say you’ll filter out some things you don’t want to filter). To avoid this, you’ll need to whitelist certain addresses in your filter so they’re not immediately trashed. There may be a few mishaps along the way, but if you’re plagued by email ads it’s probably worth the trouble.

Alternatively, you could also just automatically move the filtered emails out of your inbox so you don’t see them. Once you have a filter that’s functioning as desired, you can start sending it all to the trash. Pretty neat! For more tips and tricks, check out our guide on eliminating spam email from your inbox.

Note: Gmail users, if you don’t yet know how to create a filter read these instructions.

Best kept secret in email [Reddit]


  • Beside catching dolphins with that tuna, this is not applicable in AU.

    Afaik, companies based in AU legally demanded to really un-subscribe an email address once requested. Fail to do so, you can make formal complain (to ACCC?) and possibly receive damages.

    Notes that we here in AU rely heavily on sales and promos (due to no price competition) – and this sort of email is the one that feeding site like OzBargain.

  • I read somewhere that with unwanted and unsolicited advertising, using the unsubscribe function is confirmation that you got the email in the first place, thus making your address saleable information! I’ve noticed myself that having unsubscribed from Adds that I didn’t solicit, that the garbage is now coming in even faster than before, from companies I’ve never heard of, but are basically treated me like a regular customer! #]

    • There are other ways to validate your email address but clicking the link validates that you have at least opened the email. It is better to filter New ” subscriptions” before you unsubscribe.

  • This is a neat idea, but probably needs to be run in conjunction with a whitelist –
    ie if the sender is not, or and the message contains unsubscribe, then mark as read and move to spam folder.

  • All legitimate newsletters have to have a functioning unsubscribe link and if i recall correctly the wording must follow certain guidelines. I develop a CRM app that has inbuilt comms for the newsletters etc for which the organisations members opt in to, and making sure people add to the whitelist is almost impossible, they never do (hell i never do).

    And it’s not just AU its US as well (CAN-SPAM act, big fines for non compliance), this blanket approach is in no way appropriate as you will catch MUCH more dolphins than tuna, the best way is to use a separate account for those kinds of mailings and one time accounts for dodgy sites (though i’m too lazy to do it myself, do as i say not as i do). However I hardly get any spam in my inbox these days, gmail/iinet/company spam filter catches almost all of them.

  • What steps can you take when ‘unsubscribing’ fails to stop the emails?

    I bought something from Staples, and now they send me monthly emails, to which I can’t unsubscribe..

    My immediate thought was the ACCC, and I’ve already tried emailing them directly.

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