The safer choice: Double-Opt-in

Double-Opt-in is the only legally watertight sign-up process

The American newsletter service provider MailChimp converts all their available sign-up forms in the US to Single-Opt-in forms. Emails for new subscribers to confirm their newsletter subscription (Double-Opt-in) are no longer set as standard in MailChimp’s newsletter tool. After European customers have expressed their concerns, the company has decided to keep Double-Opt-in optional in their established European forms – with the possibility to switch to Single-Opt-in.

On the one hand, the decision to go with Single-Opt-in and to get rid of confirmation mails is easily comprehensible. Fewer recipients and potential customers get lost on the immediate transfer to a mailing list. Very often, confirmation mails are simply ignored by users or even end up in recipients’ spam folders. Single-Opt-in is convenient for the advertiser as well as the user. Recipients simply enter their email address to a list and are signed up for the company’s newsletter at once – that’s it. On the other hand, Double-Opt-in has one huge advantage. It prevents the abusive adding of recipient data to mailing lists which makes it more secure for enterprises doing email marketing.

In the US, the Can-Spam-Act allows sending emails to any old number of addressees, without collecting lawful data – as long as unsubscribing is possible, besides some qualitative requirements concerning sender, subject and content. This is the legal situation MailChimp uses as a basis for their changes. MailChimp apparently aims at generating greater recipient pools for their customers by setting all forms to Single-Opt-in. This leads to more expensive price plans and increasing yields. What’s important to know: as opposed to German and European laws, the Can-Spam-Act only regulates content, quality and unsubscribe criteria, but not the ways of collecting recipient data or giving respective evidence.

Double-Opt-in is the only legally watertight sign-up process

So far, email is the only permission-based marketing channel – subscribers have to give their consent to receive emails. Double-Opt-in is not mandatory. At first sight, the software provider acts in concordance with European laws. And yes, people using Single-Opt-in may win the 20 or 30% of recipients who fail to click on the confirmation link in a Double-Opt-in mailing. However, it’s still not advisable.

In the end, email marketing is also about quality instead of quantity. For advertising enterprises, Double-Opt-in holds lots of great benefits, even though it’s not mandatory. Double-Opt-in improves the quality of your recipient lists as subscribers actively decide to get your company newsletters. Besides, a confirmation mailing is the first time you enter into a dialog with your recipients. What’s most convincing: in case of a complaint, the sender is required to give legitimate proof how they acquired their data – they need plausible evidence that their recipients have signed up for their newsletter. This is only possible by using Double-Opt-in.

So, even when Single-Opt-in is more convenient and performance-increasing for advertisers at first sight, it is problematic for legal reasons in the long run. That’s why enterprises should keep on counting on Double-Opt-in. In the end, it’s the senders themselves who are stuck with legal consequences and costly warnings.

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