Archive for 18th November 2011

Phantom Google Apps/Google Groups Subscription

Most modern Listserv software are pretty good about making unsubscriptions relatively painless. For most reputable mailing lists, gone are the days when unsubscribing meant having to email sometimes inattentive administrators and asking to be taken off. Unfortunately, while the automated mailing list managers usually operate without a hitch, when errors do occur, it can sometimes be hard to convince the software to take you off.

This most recently happened to me in the form of Google Groups. I had been signed up to a group under a Google Apps email account (e.g., and wanted to unsubscribe. This is normally easy enough. However, after removing my membership in the handy "Edit my membership" page, I still kept on receiving emails.

Multiple times I tried unsubscribing by sending emails to, but it would always state that because I wasn't subscribed, no action was taken. In trying to trouble-shoot, the only suggestion was that I had signed up under an email forwarder, but not only did I have none set up to that address, but careful examination of the email headers also confirmed that Google Groups was instead still sending emails to This was several months ago, and I resigned myself to failure and just set up a message filter.

This story has a happy ending though: earlier today, I was reminded that when setting up Google Apps for Domains, one is assigned a temporary email address of the form while waiting for the MX records to propagate! I hadn't thought of this, because I had subscribed through the Google Groups web interface, and just assumed that it would use, which it's done every single other time. Lo and behold, after sending an unsubscription request from, I was promptly rewarded with an unsubscription confirmation! 😀

Because I have used Google Groups successfully a number of times before in conjunction with Google Apps, I am fairly certain that this was a one-time fluke in the system, whereby the wrong address was accidentally used. However, because I wasn't able to find relief anywhere else on the Inter-webs, I thought I'd write up my experiences here, in case anyone else suffers from the same problem and cannot get the attention of the list admin to be manually removed. That's it, that's all!