To overcome email being classified as spam by Gmail, Google recommends a number of steps, which we have implemented (namely SPF, DKIM, and Precedence: bulk).

One additional measure they recommend at https://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=81126#authentication reads as follows:

Because Gmail can help users automatically unsubscribe from your email, we strongly recommend the following:

Provide a 'List-Unsubscribe' header which points to an email address where the user can unsubscribe easily from future mailings (Note: This is not a substitute method for unsubscribing).

Documentation for List-Unsubscribe is found at http://www.list-unsubscribe.com/. From this documentation I expect a button to be provided by a supported mail client.

I have tested the 'List-Unsubscribe' header and it does not appear to provide the button. I have tested in both Gmail and OS X Mail. I tested with an http address and with both an email address and an http address. The format of the header is as follows:

List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:[email protected]>,  
<http://domain.com/member/unsubscribe/[email protected]?id=12345N>

No button appears in any test.

My questions:

  1. How widely is List-Unsubscribe supported?

  2. Should a button be appearing somewhere, or does something else have to be present?

  3. I have seen a comment that even if the button is not present, services like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail/Windows Live would give higher regard to email having the header. Thus it might be worthwhile for this aspect alone.

Please note that our standard email footer already contacts instructions and a link to allow unsubscribing from our email.

Finally, is it worth while to implement this header? (That is, any downsides?)

  • I have found that in fact Gmail supports list-unsubscribe. The documentation at www.list-unsubscribe.com says that both mailto and http mechanisms are supported. In my testing I used it with both, and with http only. Gmail does not work in these cases. However, if you use the mailto only, it does provide an "unsubscribe" link in the header info. Oct 31, 2012 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


Try the header in a different order: List-Unsubscribe: URL, mailto

It is a bug that has been reported. I don't know if it has been fixed yet

  • When we tested it appeared that just using the URL alone was not supported by Gmail. So we eliminated that part entirely, and are just using the mailto. Jan 15, 2013 at 13:32

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