Is there a way to Activate a Master Unsubscribe using the SOAP/REST API?

We are using the update method (UpdateAdd) with SOAP API. It works when a user is activated or subscribed to one or more lists, However if a user unsubscribes from all lists in the account (SMC calls this "Master Unsubscribe"- an administrator has to click on the "Activate" button to add the user back- the user is still a subscriber but is "deactivated"), the UpdateAdd fails in this case and it does this quietly - i.e: without sending back a fault exception. The subscriber is still completely unsubscribed from all lists. So the update/updateAdd method does nothing when a user is "Master Unsubscribed".

Here is a sample SOAP request and response (abbreviated):

abbreviated request
<env:Envelope xmlns:env="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"> 
<env:Header><fueloauth xmlns="http://exacttarget.com">{{fuelOath token}} 
<ns2:CreateRequest xmlns:ns2="http://exacttarget.com/wsdl/partnerAPI" 
    <ns2:Objects xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
    <ns2:EmailAddress>{{subscriber email}}</ns2:EmailAddress> 
   <ns2:SubscriberKey>{{subscriber key}}</ns2:SubscriberKey>

abbreviated response
<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/" 

            <wsse:Security><wsu:Timestamp wsu:Id="Timestamp-6f0d74d2-48d6- 
          <CreateResponse xmlns="http://exacttarget.com/wsdl/partnerAPI"> 
            <StatusMessage>Created Subscriber.</StatusMessage> 
        <PartnerKey xsi:nil="true"/><ID>51613212</ID><ObjectID 
        Address>{{subscriber email}}</EmailAddress><SubscriberKey> 
            <Lists><PartnerKey xsi:nil="true"/>
            <ID>7026</ID><ObjectID xsi:nil="true"/><Status>Active</Status> 
       <Lists><PartnerKey xsi:nil="true"/>
            <ID>7027</ID><ObjectID xsi:nil="true"/> 
  • 2
    Is this a marketing cloud question? If so, please tag it as such. If not, that's fine as well. Just clarifying. Sep 22, 2018 at 7:01
  • What is the difference between List ID 7026 and 7027? Is 7026 the All Subs list and 7027 a standard list? Are you at DF18? Happy to sit down and look at this together, if you're here. Sep 25, 2018 at 0:40
  • These are publication lists. The subscriber (who is a member of All Subs list) belongs to all these lists but is not necessarily subscribed to any of them. I won't be at DF18 but thanks for the offer.
    – Glen
    Sep 25, 2018 at 2:49
  • I've also tried this passing the list id of the All Subs list with the "Active" status - the result is the same (No change). Is anyone using a web page for subscribers to unsubscribe or subscribe to lists using SMC's SOAP API ?
    – Glen
    Sep 28, 2018 at 0:29

3 Answers 3


I understand that this post is from 2 years ago, but to anyone who hasnt found an answer, you dont need to specify the ListId if you want to unsubscribe/activate the Subscriber from All Subscriber List. Using Elliot's request body above, this is the only modification you will need:

<UpdateRequest xmlns="http://exacttarget.com/wsdl/partnerAPI">
        <Objects xsi:type="Subscriber">

This worked for me 100%. Hopefully it does for you.


You will have to use the SOAP API as the REST API doesn't currently support this.


You can use an update method to update the status of the subscriber object.

  • We are already using the update method- sorry I should have clarified that in my question.
    – Glen
    Sep 24, 2018 at 15:01

I'm not completely sure what you are trying to achieve from reading your question, but I believe you are trying to re-subscribe a Subscriber on the All Subscribers List. Here's an approach you can use.

You will need to know a couple of attributes in order to use this method (in addition to the OAuth access token):

  1. Your SOAP Endpoint Link
  2. The List ID of your All Subscribers list.

The List ID of the All Subscribers list will never change and the quickest way to obtain this is by hovering over the All Subscribers menu item in the tree interface (using Chrome) and review the JavaScript function that appears in the bottom left corner of the window:

obtaining List ID

In the screenshot above, the List ID of the All Subscribers List is 764. Use whatever value your List ID is as the {{ListID}} value in the SOAP request below.

Here's a working example (which you can try in Postman).

POST {{soapEndpoint}}
Content-Type: text/xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
        <a:Action s:mustUnderstand="1">Update</a:Action>
        <a:To s:mustUnderstand="1">{{soapEndpoint}}</a:To>
        <fueloauth xmlns="http://exacttarget.com">{{accessToken}}</fueloauth>
        <UpdateRequest xmlns="http://exacttarget.com/wsdl/partnerAPI">
            <Objects xsi:type="Subscriber">
  • Hi Eliot, This is essentially what we already do. I've appended to my question a sample SOAP request.
    – Glen
    Sep 24, 2018 at 19:38
  • I also added the soap response. Note that the response statusMessage states that the subscriber was created- this is odd as the subscriber already exists in the All Subscribers list. - the subscriber is just unsubscribed and needs to be "activated" via the SOAP API call. If the subscriber does not get "activated", any SOAP request to update subscriptions is ignored.
    – Glen
    Sep 24, 2018 at 20:17

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