The great debate
While surfing around last night, I discovered that the email experience council is running a poll. “The Great Email Debate Topic #2 – Single Opt-In or Double Opt-In?”
The email blogs have been discussing the question for a few weeks now, since one ClickZ columnist decided to stir controversy by claiming that “it is impossible to grow a list using double opt-in.” The original column inspired many other people to comment on the issue.
This is really a tempest in a teapot. There are situations where no address should be added to a mailing list without some sort of confirmation or verification step. Senders must protect themselves from bad subscription requests and double opt-in is one way to do this. Likewise, there are situations where a single opt-in with good list management will create a very clean list. Double opt-in isn’t necessary to stop spam.
Senders who think that they can’t grow their list with double opt-in are already behind the 8-ball in terms of list management. Yes, lists will grow slower. In the present environment, many users are very used to submitting a registration to a web page and then looking in their mailbox for an email to complete the process. No longer is “double opt-in” a foreign concept. Social networking sites, web forums and mailing lists commonly use double opt-in.
The challenge is for marketers to construct a signup process that is engaging enough to convince users to check their mailbox and click on the link. Senders with good marketing strategy will be able to do this, when it’s necessary.
Not every mailing list has to be double opt-in, but every engaging list could be without decreasing the number of subscribers.