And this is pretty good news for email marketing practitioners. Now, uninterested readers can unsubscribe just as easily as they can mark you as spam or complain about you, which saves a whole lot of valid email marketers from looking like and being treated like spam.
This is especially relevant in the wake of teasers that Gmail will be launching a Feedback Loop, which is basically a means for email marketers to know when a subscriber marks them as spam. This allows the email marketer to remove uninterested subscribers from their email list. (Gmail is one of the few email clients that up until now hasn't had a Feedback Loop.) Combined with the new easy way to opt-out, this is a better way of keeping tabs on gmail.com subscribers' true email preferences.
More importantly to Gmail, this unsubscribe link makes it easier for Gmail's inbox users to keep their Inbox (or Promotions tab) clear of "gray mail" — sometimes called "bacn" by those of us in the email marketing industry with a sense of humor — which refers to unwanted mail.
Like the LA Times reporter, I thought this was a simple "text scrape" looking for any link associated with the text "Unsubscribe" but it's actually a bit of code that your email platform can put in the header for you. Bottom line: you don't have to do anything and you'll already get to take advantage of these two new things!
For more news in the industry, check out the News section of the emfluence blog.