Ben Settle

  • Book & Tabloid Newsletter Publisher
  • Email Supremacist
  • Alt-Copywriter
  • Software Investor
  • Pulp Novelist

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File under: Business Building, inner game, List Building

I recently saw an amusing meme that said:

“Sometimes I visit my blocked list just to see how my prisoners are doing.”

And for whatever reason, it reminded me of the legions of people I’ve blocked, banned, and black balled from Email Players over the years. Some of them have gotten quite sneaky with trying to fraudulently slink back in. Many have gotten just as creative in dreaming up conspiracy-like theories about why my “no coming back after leaving” policy exists in the first place. And a few of the really creepy ones have literally argued with my auto-respondered email they get upon leaving that tells them about the policy, so I don’t have to waste time responding to them if they can’t figure out why I just cancelled their subscription right after subscribing.

Strange seeing someone argue with an auto-respondered email.

But such are the times we live in & the unhinged who roam.

Anyway, I originally wrote about the policy publicly back in 2018.

Then a couple years later I wrote about it again in my elBenbo Press book which is about my high-ticket book & newsletter business model, of which my policy is the “lynchpin” that makes it all ultimately work long term.

Since I was asked about it the other day, I might as well republish it again.

Here it is:

(Edited to reflect more recent thoughts I’ve had since)

1. People who go are reliably & consistently – and often immediately – replaced by better business, higher quality customers, longer term subscribers, etc. So there’s no real reason to let them back.

2. With very rare exceptions, if someone cites money as having left, they are almost certainly not telling the truth (to me or themselves), and I don’t like to do business with liars. Even a bum tweeking out while taking a dump on the streets of Portland while rattling a dirty styrofoam cup of change at pedestrians “makes” more than the $3.23 per day Email Players costs. Price got nothin’ to do with it.

3. It makes the newsletter legitimately more exclusive.

4. I don’t cater to quitters.

5. I don’t like encouraging new product junkie-ism.

6. I prefer a 4 quarters to 100 pennies kinda customer base.

7. I want to build a professional league team of stars, not a peewee league team of amateurs who can’t get their shyt figured out.

8. I prefer dealing with long term customers vs one time or off-and-on-again buyers.

9. Those who take the troll route when sent away after trying to return and then get nasty or combative with me make great “orc heads” to put on display for my audience, which usually leads to more business, content, sales, etc, as well as good sport for those watching.

10. Makes for better, less flaky, more serious customers.

11. Makes people far more likely to consume, implement, and succeed with what I teach, and not just let them pile up, or skim, nod, file away.

12. Cleanly & clearly separates the players from the spectators.

13. Rattles trolls (which makes for great content to sell and/or sell with)

14. I can’t realistically help anyone with a “I gotta go, but I will be back!” mentality, since they miss the entire point of the newsletter to begin with, including how each issue compounds on the prior issues, and sets things up for future issues.

15. Wards off the non-forward thinking types who I also cannot help.

Just to be clear:

I am talking specifically about those who try to sneak back later. I have zero respect for such types, and consider them functionally children, and in some cases even functionally illiterate. But if someone simply wants to go, with no desire to return, they absolutely should go, and do so with my blessings.

I have never tried to “convince” anyone to stay.

Nor do I care to or even have the time to.

And yet, more often than not people on the way out think they need to pend time to write something like, “I understand I cannot come back”, which always comes off like they are trying to save face or something.

But that is simply not necessary.

The way I see it:

They are adults and know what’s best for their business. And, at the end of the day, the newsletter is obviously not for everyone, nor should everyone be subscribed, nor do I let just everyone subscribe anyway.

(i.e., the block list).

If anything, I sell people as hard on NOT subscribing as I do to subscribe.

And strange as it sounds to the normie, newbie, & needy types…

I sometimes even test certain people (as those who read the August 2021 – 10-year anniversary – Email Players issue know all about, so I will not explain more here) to try to get them to leave or not subscribe in the first place.

But here’s the irony of it all:

The exiled who are displeased with the policy need only look in the mirror to see the main reason why the policy exists. They truly are their own worst enemies and don’t even realize it.

And I’m afraid I got more bad news for them:

My policy is slowly but surely becoming more “mainstream” amongst those who understand the peace of mind and high quality customer base it can grant businesses with the foresight to eagerly adopt & aggressively enforce it.


I am not sure who this person below is exactly.

(I heard about him second hand.)

But I have been told there is a director of a gigantic direct marketing company that has helped that company bring in well over a billion in sales, who absolutely loves my policy, and wants to use it in a newsletter of his own, when he decides to go solo and launch his own venture.

Again, I heard that second hand.

But it certainly pleased me to hear it.

All right, one last thing about this:

My “no coming back” policy has always been rather fringe as far as the typical direct marketer thinks. Most can’t wrap their heads around why it’s good and more profitable to turn business away at times. And maybe I will write about this in more depth in an upcoming email or newsletter issue.

But for now?

I predict with the rise of subscription offers… and with businesses realizing how profitable creating & enforcing standards on those they sell to can be… and when they experience the time & frustration saved by not catering to the dishonest and/or uncommitted in their markets… my policy will eventually become the rule rather than the exception.

We shall see.

In the meantime:

To learn more about Email Players read the letter very carefully – so you have all the facts and know what to expect and what is expected of you – at this link: 

Ben Settle

  • Book & Tabloid Newsletter Publisher
  • Email Supremacist
  • Alt-Copywriter
  • Software Investor
  • Pulp Novelist

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