Dear newsletter creators, this is: How Google is nudging your audience away

Recently I subscribed to a few newsletters from entrepreneurs and small businesses I had the pleasure to know personally.

Voxable, Ten Percent Happier, Comedy Cafe Berlin, it is all businesses that I personally support. Also, I am subscribing to newsletters from some communities I am part of like VoiceLunch, Women in Voice. These are people I asked to reach out with their news directly to me. This is none of this “buy my stuff” — related kind of like Amazon.

I get a lot of Amazon promo trash into the same folder. Sorted by Google. Now guess what — Because I never want to waste my attention with sorting and even reading the irrelevant ads in my “promotion” folder, I did not get to read the relevant ones for some time. Why? Habits.

I did not realize how much the UX of google mail actually framed my behavior. In Google Mail you can see:

Inbox. Social Networks (this is where I get automated notifications from platforms such as LinkedIn) and Promotions.

A promotion is when Amazon retargets me and tries to sell me a book based on a previous purchase, just because its algorithm told them so.

I am not interested in these. So I never bother looking into the promotions folder.

This is a strong pattern of mine. Who would willingly expose themself to just ads?

What I am looking for is another kind of information other than the mere fact that Amazon wants to sell book x to me.

This could be relevant to somebody whose internet activity is just consumption. My internet activity, just like probably yours too, is communication and learning. This is why I subscribed to the newsletters of my favorite people and businesses.

Weirdly, I recently opened out of boredom the Promotions tab and found that the software access I subscribed to as a trial user for 14 days is close to expiration! I had no idea it was already launched. This has skipped my attention.

I admit, there was indeed a light grey tag of some incoming senders in the promotions folder right here underneath the title of the tab.

But it was not triggering me enough to overcome my unwillingness to click on the big inscription of the tab “promotions”.

This is apparently Sundar’s lazy concession to the need of small businesses discoverability of their newsletters.

Also, I realized I missed important announcements from my communities to attend events and get early tickets.

What to do? When I try to label the newsletters as “inbox”, I do not find where. I can forward it to my main mailbox or mark it as unread but then the following ones still will stay in there.

So even if you all community people would want to advise people on what to do so the mail does not land in the promo-folder — there is no way.

There is though one folder saying “Social Networks” and guess who bought themselves into it completely?

LinkedIn. Just to nudge me to react to this automated rubbish about who checked my profile.

It is really hard to use the internet wisely, for newsletter readers who want to get beyond their algorithmic bubble as for those who create valuable content.

Thank you for putting that so clearly into a few seconds, jason!

I am a Linguist and Copywriter with a background in Anthropology & Ethics, working as a Conversation Designer in telecommunications