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Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

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Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

Hello! We've recently come across an issue where if the email address changes in SFDC, Marketo changed the "EMAIL OPT OUT" field to "FALSE". This is a problem when someone has requested an unsubscribe, but then changes their email address for contact from our support staff.

Is this supposed to happen? Or is something larger at play?

Thanks!
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Level 7

Re: Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

This is actually built in to Marketo, as Jenn described.
Think of the behavior as part of Marketo's durable unsubscribe. In each Marketo instance, whether or not an email address is unsubscribed is recorded separately from individual leads, and actually saved on the back-end. For example, if you delete a lead with an email address which is unsubscribed, and then create a new lead with the same email address, it will be automatically unsubscribed:
https://community.marketo.com/MarketoResource?id=kA650000000GxXxCAK
If you look at the lead's activity log and double-click the change data value activity for Unsubscribed, it gives this as a reason: "System flow action sysActionChangeDataValue resetLeadEmailStatus": the same reason it gives when someone is set to true by the durable unsubscribe I described above.

While I can't speak to the legal side of this, as I'm not an attorney, my understanding is that when someone opts out of receiving emails, they are opting out of receiving emails at a particular email address, not out of receiving emails from you in general. Since this is an "opt out" field, not an "opt in" field, there's no reason to keep the lead unsubscribed when their email address changes. If you're using the Unsubscribed field as an opt-in field (setting everyone to true and then setting the field to false if someone opts in), I recommend using a custom field instead.

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Re: Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

Hi Jenn, have you looked at the activity log of a person to determine if you have a smart campaign running that is changing their EMAIL OPT OUT to FALSE? Or maybe it's a workflow that's set up in SFDC so you would just see the data value change in Marketo (not associated with a campaign).
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Level 7

Re: Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

This is actually built in to Marketo, as Jenn described.
Think of the behavior as part of Marketo's durable unsubscribe. In each Marketo instance, whether or not an email address is unsubscribed is recorded separately from individual leads, and actually saved on the back-end. For example, if you delete a lead with an email address which is unsubscribed, and then create a new lead with the same email address, it will be automatically unsubscribed:
https://community.marketo.com/MarketoResource?id=kA650000000GxXxCAK
If you look at the lead's activity log and double-click the change data value activity for Unsubscribed, it gives this as a reason: "System flow action sysActionChangeDataValue resetLeadEmailStatus": the same reason it gives when someone is set to true by the durable unsubscribe I described above.

While I can't speak to the legal side of this, as I'm not an attorney, my understanding is that when someone opts out of receiving emails, they are opting out of receiving emails at a particular email address, not out of receiving emails from you in general. Since this is an "opt out" field, not an "opt in" field, there's no reason to keep the lead unsubscribed when their email address changes. If you're using the Unsubscribed field as an opt-in field (setting everyone to true and then setting the field to false if someone opts in), I recommend using a custom field instead.

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Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

That is my understand too, Grant.

I usually have a separate field(s) handling the actual list subscriptions. Often I will also have flows that block people who did not explicitly opt in, which might help you if you do not want this automation to subscribe people without their clear permission.
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Re: Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

I completely understand the durable unsubscribe and guess we might use some fields differently because we have all custom mailing lists, but wouldn't EMAIL OPT OUT = FALSE mean that they aren't opted out? I guess I was interpreting this the opposite of how you did, Grant and Josh. 
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Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

I type too fast. In SFDC and Marketo, Unsubscribe=TRUE and Email Opt Out = TRUE mean the lead has opted out.

I think that my issue was this was related to a  problem where Email Opt Out was flipping back the values in Marketo.

Grant is correct and so is Sanford.

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Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

You might find the text of the CAN-SPAM act helpful. In the act, neither opt-in nor opt-out actions carry over to alternate addresses. (To my mind, this is deeply flawed, as it should be the underlying mailbox, and not a single alias/address, that is the subject of consent.)

Section 3(14): RECIPIENT.—The term ‘‘recipient’’, when used with respect to a commercial electronic mail message, means an authorized user of the electronic mail address to which the message was sent or delivered. If a recipient of a commercial electronic mail message has one or more electronic mail addresses in addition to the address to which the message was sent or delivered, the recipient shall be treated as a separate recipient with respect to each such address. If an electronic mail address is reassigned to a new user, the new user shall not be treated as a recipient of any commercial electronic mail message sent or delivered to that address before it was reassigned.

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Re: Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

I suspect the reasoning for this part of the act is the challenge of knowing whether or not two separate email addresses are associated with the same inbox. If it's possible at all, it would be extremely hard to implement. If the recipient doesn't disclose to you what their alternate email addresses are, how are you supposed to know?

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Re: Email Address Change - Automatically Resubscribe?

I doubt any such reasoning was applied, because people with technical expertise weren't really part of the authoring process (not that we didn't try!). Back then I was majorly involved with anti-spam tech and we just had to sit back and watch.

Anyway, I didn't mean that it's super-common for a sender to know whether an address is an alias for the same mailbox or a different mailbox, I agree about that. But because the Act is so sloppily written, you are technically in violation if someone merely changes their address from flastname@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.com. It's a needlessly loose part of the law that just makes it seem more ridiculous... IMO!