Some Frank Thoughts About Newsletters

“We need to talk.”

Actually, we don’t need to talk, but I would like to share some thoughts about newsletters and managing privacy, especially the privacy of email addresses.

I Encourage You to Unsubscribe

I can hear some of you thinking, “Wait, Andy. You send out newsletters and you’re encouraging your readers to unsubscribe?”


I’m only telling you to do what I started doing earlier this year. I was getting way too many newsletters and spam email messages. If I was not interested, or no longer interested, I started clicking the unsubscribe link in each and every one of them. If there was no option to unsubscribe, I created an inbox rule to automatically delete the messages.

The result? My inbox is more manageable, my blood pressure is lower, and I am more productive. In my humble opinion, that alone is all the reason you need to reduce the number of email messages you receive. Try it. Let me know how it works for you.

Why Some Will Not Unsubscribe

The number one reason some will not unsubscribe is FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). FOMO is legit. If you unsubscribe, you will miss new and important stuff. Will you eventually learn about the stuff you missed? Probably, but you won’t get the news early or first. Depending on why you’re interested in the latest updates, the results of missing out may vary from inconvenient to disastrous.

Inconvenient because you may miss an opportunity to inform others (or yourself) about a new technology or platform that may better serve their (or your) needs.
Disastrous because that missed opportunity may apply to your enterprise or your your clients – especially if these entities rely on your input for tech-related decisions.

FOMO is why I remain subscribed to a number of newsletters – some of which I pay to receive. Part of my job is to remain aware and up-to-date on data engineering technology. My clients pay me to add and assimilate this knowledge so that I may apply it to problems they are trying to solve. My family eats (and attends college, and enjoys vacations, and… you get the picture) because clients pay me. It’s a cycle but it’s not a vicious cycle. It’s more akin to the circle of life.

The Same Applies to Free Software

I develop and maintain free software. The most popular application at Data Integration Lifecycle Management Suite is SSIS Catalog Browser. As the tag line reads, “Use Catalog Browser to view SSIS Catalog contents on a unified surface.” It saves SSIS Catalog users the time and trouble of opening multiple dialogs to view SSIS Catalog configurations. I needed it. That’s why I developed it. I built a for-pay application named SSIS Catalog Compare that does (much!) more than merely surface SSIS Catalog configurations data and metadata, it supports SSIS Catalog Ops; facilitating SSIS Catalog configurations version control, scripting, and code promotion between enterprise application tiers to support DevOps. As the name implies, it also compares catalog contents.

I give away SSIS Catalog Browser and ask for email addresses in return. I add the email addresses to a mailing list, and each communication I send includes an “unsubscribe” link. A minority of users provide bogus email addresses in exchange for the download. I interpret this action as “I don’t mind checking out the result of your labor but I am unwilling to give you anything in return.” I’m not sure how else to interpret it.

Does it bother me? A little.

When I download something that’s free from someone or some company I feel I owe the individual or entity something. My email address isn’t too much to ask. “But don’t you realize they’re going to contact you?” Yes. Yes, I do. Is contacting me going to do me harm? No. No, it’s not. In fact, I may learn something that can help me. Or my enterprise. Or my clients. I mean, I found this download while searching for something. I was interested enough to search for it. Is this a problem I am trying to solve? Is an email address too much to ask? In exchange for eyeballs on (at least) one newsletter edition?

I don’t want to potentially miss out. I provide my email address.

Do bad actors exist? Yep. Am I a bad actor? Nope. I don’t sell email addresses. I don’t give them away, either. Do some people spoof my email address textbox because they’ve been burned in the past by bad actors? I reckon so. Does that bother me? Not as much.

Another Reason to Unsubscribe

I pay for a service that maintains my mailing lists and sends newsletters. Actually, I pay for a collection of services that manage tasks related to newsletter management. This is one reason I encourage you to unsubscribe to newsletters in which you are not – or no longer – interested. I’m charged per email address. I suppose many are similarly charged. Like me, if you are no longer interested in reading my newsletter, you’re probably unlikely to purchase my software, training, or consulting services. If that’s the case, I appreciate you unsubscribing. You are saving me money and saving yourself time. Win-win.


Do I want you to read my newsletters?

Of course I do!

But only if you want to.


Andy Leonard

Christian, husband, dad, grandpa, Data Philosopher, Data Engineer, Azure Data Factory, SSIS guy, and farmer. I was cloud before cloud was cool. :{>


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