Double opt-in, it's not what you think it is
Bill McCloskey has a post over on ClickZ about single opt-in vs. double opt-in. The post itself is generating a lot of buzz in the industry and has pages and pages of comments. I’m not going to really comment on the post, as I think much of what I would say has been covered in the comments, in posts here and in every email marketing discussion that has happened in the last 5 years.
I do want to comment on one of the comment’s however. This comment makes the assertion that “double opt-in was a term designed by spammers to make confirmed opt-in look too troublesome and problematic to use.” This is a bit of lore that is deeply, deeply established in the minds of many anti-spammers. There is a core group of activists that are completely convinced that anyone who ever uses the term double opt-in to refer to a confirmation practice is not only a spammer, but a lying scammer. They cannot imagine a world where someone might use this term while actually supporting the practice.
The problem with this belief is that it’s not true. Double opt-in was mostly used by PostmasterDirect (now part of ReturnPath) as a way to market their email addresses. PostmasterDirect actually patented a process for confirming addresses and used double opt-in as a way to distinguish themselves in the market place. It wasn’t that double opt-in was twice as hard as opt-in, it’s that their email address lists were twice as good as those other lists that you might be thinking of buying.
So, no, double opt-in is not spammer speak. It is, in fact, often the speech of a sender who is attempting to do the right thing. The fact that the sender does not know a made up history of a term does not turn them into a lying spammer. Asserting that it does says a lot more about the person making the assertion.