How Orbee Manages Email Subscriptions

Orbee is constantly creating new marketing and notification products that utilize email as a source of contact. With the growing number of products, email categorization is becoming more important to us. In this post, we will be covering how Orbee handles subscriptions for our email services.

Using Blacklists

Orbee currently uses SendGrid as our email back end. SendGrid already provides an unsubscribe group functionality, which essentially acts as a blacklist. Initially, we tied certain products (e.g., Shopper Viewed Vehicles, Price Drop Notification, etc.) with their own blacklists, ensuring recipients were able to stop receiving emails.

Now that Orbee sends emails for a variety of clients, we have to set up a similar set of subscription groups for all of our clients using our email marketing products. This ensures that a recipient unsubscribing from Client A wouldn’t accidentally unsubscribe from Client B too.

Since we have to keep track of the subscription groups and their ownership, we opted to create our own subscription functionality. This approach allows us to stop an email before it is sent to SendGrid, but still keeps a log of which emails we tried to send.

Current subscription management page

Current Development

Recently we introduced notifications to our dealership clients. Now that our email service requires targeting both Orbee’s clients and their car shoppers, our original subscription groups no longer meet all of our needs. We are currently developing a combination of multiple whitelists with a single blacklist per account.

Our subscription groups are built with a category to identify what type of emails a recipient is capable of receiving. We started with two categories to support the aforementioned categories of recipients: Orbee’s clients and their car shoppers, represented by Platform and Shopper categories respectively. These categories allow us to filter out the products we list on our subscription management page for each recipient. If a recipient was previously subscribed to a group of a certain category, that category will always be available on their Subscription Management page.

The original blacklist implementation doesn’t change its original functionality, but now we include it alongside the subscription groups to allow for an easy subscription management experience, isolated between accounts.

Concept for new subscription management page