By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Feb 22, 2008 at 1:02 PM

I get a lot of e-mail ... hundreds and hundreds of messages each day. Granted, most of it's spam. And because I'm on many of the "reflector" e-mail addresses at, I'm cc'ed on tons, too. But a big portion of the e-mail I get is from newsletters I frankly don't remember subscribing to.

It seems like whether I checked that "please send me future promotional mailings" box or now, they do, anyway. So recently, I took matters into my own hands and started unsubscribing to just about every e-mail newsletter that came my way.

The results were unexpected.

More times then not, these legitimate businesses informed me that my cancellation would go only into effect after several days. As a technology company, we've developed dozens of e-mail newsletters for ourselves and for our clients., alone, has more than 37,000 registered users who subscribe to 10 different e-mail newsletters.

And the moment someone clicks "unsubscribe," they're gone. Do these other companies have some intern manually opting people out of their newsletters? Can they really not automate this process?

Here are a few examples I saved:

My online banking site: "In 5 business days, your choice will go in effect."

A photo reprint site: "Please allow 5 business days for your account to reflect this update." "This e-mail address will be opted out from all marketing e-mail subscriptions within 10 business days. In the interim, you may continue to receive e-mail marketing to which you originally subscribed." " Your preferences will be updated as soon as possible. This usually takes approximately 24 hours, though it may take as long as 10 days. During that time, you may receive email from us according to your previous settings." "Allow up to five days for your name to be removed."

Others, like, don't give a link and make you jump through major hoops to unsubscribe. You need to use their search function to wade through membership info. Then, when you finally find it ...

"We thought you'd like to know: It can take up to 10 days to process new or canceled subscriptions. You will occasionally receive emails that tell you about updates to your account or announce improvements to"

Wow, thanks for nothing, So am I unsubscribed or not?

Can you imagine this going down in the brick and mortar world? Like if you canceled a credit card, and they said, "Thank you for canceling. Your credit card will become inactive in five days. In the meantime, it can still be used."

It just seems to weird and so low-tech. I'd prefer to have my preferences honored now, thank you very much. But if I have to wait a week to shrink my bulging e-mail inbox, I guess I made it this long. If those e-mails keep coming back, though, I plan on reporting them as spam. What else can I do?

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.