Why use confirmed opt-in at all?

23 replies
As I prepare to setup my mailing list, I've been doing research between single and confirmed opt-in.

Aside from managing complaint rates with single opt-in, I really can't seem to find many reasons at all for using confirmed opt-in. Perhaps I just haven't conducted enough research to have a solid list of pro's and con's.

Can anyone share any threads I might have missed, or insights into why one would ever use confirmed opt-in?

As always, thank you in advance.
#confirmed #optin
  • Profile picture of the author Leveragist
    Here are the advantages according to MailChimp:

    "- Friends, foes, co-workers, etc. won't be able to sign up other people (who never gave permission) to your list. This means fewer spam complaints and a cleaner list overall.

    - If a person (or malicious bot) enters an email address with a typo, you won't be sending campaigns to some poor recipient who never opted in or to an email address that will bounce. Here's a real life example of this.

    - Your competitors can't sign up to your list then maliciously report it as spam (yes, people actually do stuff like this). Since we collect IP addresses when using our forms, you'll have proof that someone confirmed their interest in your list.

    - People won't be able to sign up with fake, non-existent, or dead email addresses. They must have a valid email address to opt in.

    - Only people who truly want to hear from you will click to confirm subscription to your list. In turn, your list will be more engaged and responsive, and you'll waste less money sending emails to people who don't care to hear from you. Check out this blog post for even more info."

    In essence, it gives you a much cleaner/reliable/targeted list.
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    • Profile picture of the author Robert M Gouge
      Originally Posted by Leveragist View Post

      Here are the advantages according to MailChimp:

      "- Friends, foes, co-workers, etc. won't be able to sign up other people (who never gave permission) to your list. This means fewer spam complaints and a cleaner list overall.

      - If a person (or malicious bot) enters an email address with a typo, you won't be sending campaigns to some poor recipient who never opted in or to an email address that will bounce. Here's a real life example of this.

      - Your competitors can't sign up to your list then maliciously report it as spam (yes, people actually do stuff like this). Since we collect IP addresses when using our forms, you'll have proof that someone confirmed their interest in your list.

      - People won't be able to sign up with fake, non-existent, or dead email addresses. They must have a valid email address to opt in.

      - Only people who truly want to hear from you will click to confirm subscription to your list. In turn, your list will be more engaged and responsive, and you'll waste less money sending emails to people who don't care to hear from you. Check out this blog post for even more info."

      In essence, it gives you a much cleaner/reliable/targeted list.
      That's a pretty compelling list of reasons. Thanks for sharing that.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        All the leading autoresponder companies prefer their customers, collectively, to have confirmed opt-in lists, and they all give more or less the same reasons (which are broadly very similar to what's above) for this preference.

        From their perspective, it makes sense. They know that the more of their customers who use confirmation, the fewer overall "problems" they'll get.

        What you have to do is consider the nature of your own business and whether or not you think that those reasons are really going to apply to you. Only you can judge this.

        Personally, I agree firmly with AA and Paul above (posts #3 and #6), and for the most part can see no benefit to myself (but plenty of downside) in using confirmations. Most of my lists are single opt-in.

        If I were doing anything in the "make money online" or "internet marketing advice" markets (which I don't) I'd seriously consider using opt-in confirmation for those lists. I'm not sure whether I'd actually use it, but I'd think about it carefully.

        Originally Posted by Leveragist View Post

        In essence, it gives you a much cleaner/reliable/targeted list.
        I understand that the autoresponder companies giving out this "information" have some clients for whom that's true, and I understand their incentive to advise people of that, but as far as my own business is concerned, that simply isn't true enough for it to compensate me for the lost opt-ins almost inevitably incurred by using confirmation.

        Originally Posted by Joel Young View Post

        If I could see how to thank a post, I would, but perhaps I need a higher post count to have that permission?
        You need to have made 5 posts, Joel. After that, a "thanks" button will appear in others' posts, for you to click when you want, up to a maximum of 20 times in any 24-hour period. (Posts in "WSO" and "Off Topic" don't count toward your post-count).
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        • Profile picture of the author Robert M Gouge
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          If I were doing anything in the "make money online" or "internet marketing advice" markets (which I don't) I'd seriously consider using opt-in confirmation for those lists. I'm not sure whether I'd actually use it, but I'd think about it carefully.
          If you don't mind, why does the difference in niche prompt you to consider using it?

          I've also been looking at it in the regards you mentioned in your full post. If the loss of subscribers is worth going the confirmed opt-in route. But, I guess, one could argue that if they do not confirm their subscription that they had no interest in receiving mails from you in the first place.
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          • Profile picture of the author BizOpGuru
            Originally Posted by Robert M Gouge View Post

            If you don't mind, why does the difference in niche prompt you to consider using it?
            These niches ("make money online" or "internet marketing advice") have a particularly bad reputation with a lot of "scam" allegations and generally higher refund and chargeback rates. It's very easy to get an account banned if you do not get your visitors to opt-in.

            I think this may be why Alexa has made the suggestion and i'd definitely vouch for it.
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        • Profile picture of the author Michael Harris
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post


          If I were doing anything in the "make money online" or "internet marketing advice" markets (which I don't) I'd seriously consider using opt-in confirmation for those lists. I'm not sure whether I'd actually use it, but I'd think about it carefully.
          Hi Alexa,

          What is it about those two markets that would,
          make you consider double opt in?

          All the best..
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          • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
            Banned
            Originally Posted by quantumtiger View Post

            Hi Alexa,

            What is it about those two markets that would,
            make you consider double opt in?.
            Mostly my own perception of the fact that some marketers who sign up to lists in those "niches" tend to sign up to huge numbers of them, and to be people who are also quite likely to receive copious amounts of spam as well. My own subscribers don't seem to receive spam, or don't comment about it whenever I chat with them, but I know from reading this forum that internet marketers certainly seem to. I think they're also more likely to forget who you are, not to remember a year later whether they really signed up, not to take quite so much care how they unsubscribe, and so on. I also suspect (but don't don't know, through lack of experience in these "niches") that a very small minority may be "highly competitive" and even maliciously try to get people into trouble with "spam reports" and so on. One might perhaps be better placed, in a subsequent discussion with one's autoresponder company, if such people have confirmed their opt-in at the time, and the autoresponder company has a record of that?
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            • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
              I'm going to give you a different perspective, one that has nothing to do with ESPs (I'm self-hosted) or spam complaints.

              I use the second confirmation step as a way to further filter people signing up, and get them a little more committed to reading my emails.

              IIRC, it was Cialdini's Influence book that had a case study where people were first asked to display a small, somewhat innocuous placard about beutifying their neighborhood. This set, in their minds, an image of themselves as conscientious property owners - people who cared about the neighborhood and upholding property values. Later, these people were asked to display a much larger sign with a much stronger message. Those who displayed the earlier message accepted the larger sign significantly more often than those without that initial, smaller commitment.

              What does that have do with email subscriptions?

              Instead of yammering about "hating spam" or "respecting their inbox", I ask them to do me a small favor...

              I tell them that my email program is set to send out a small test message to make sure I can deliver the incentive I promised them. All I ask is that they click the link to let the program know that the test email went through. Most do.

              Later, when I ask them to take a larger action, like open and read the next email, it seems like more do. Hard to measure, as I send out mostly plain text, but what I can measure (like clicks on links within that email) went up.

              Every time someone does something I ask, they deepen their internal commitment as someone who is interested in the benefits I offer to help them get.

              I detest the standard confirmation messages and 'we hate spam' messages. I've usually worked hard to get someone to the point of opting in to my list, and I don't want to interrupt the good feelings with thoughts of spam or the possibility that I might disrespect their email address. So 'spam' is one of those four-letter s-words I won't use first.
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              • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
                Whether you should use confirmed opt-in or not really
                depends upon the situation and particular list.

                I use single opt-in for some of my lists but I mainly
                use confirmed opt-in.

                Why?

                Firstly, I use a self-hosted autoresponder and need to
                consider the downsides of single opt-in because it has
                a direct influence on my server reputation and e-mail
                deliverability rates.

                I want to keep bad e-mail addresses off my lists (that
                includes mis-spellings, fake and malicious e-mail
                addresses). My goal is to minimize bounces and spam
                complaints.

                I also only want people on my lists who really want to
                be on it. If they can't be arsed to read and click on a
                link to get their freebie, then I'll not lose any sleep.

                Because I use a self-hosted autoresponder I have 100%
                control of the confirmation process. Like John McCabe, I
                don't talk about spam or confirmation at all. Instead, I
                just keep the subscriber focused on clicking on the link
                to get their freebie.

                Oh, and most third-party autoresponder companies use
                different servers to send out e-mails from single opt-in
                and confirmed opt-in lists. The confirmed opt-in servers
                have higher deliverability.

                Dedicated to mutual success,

                Shaun
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        • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post


          From their perspective, it makes sense. They know that the more of their customers who use confirmation, the fewer overall "problems" they'll get.
          Exactly. To continue with that point, whenever I hear "best business practice are yadah yadah yadah" my reflexive next thought is "best for who?"

          Good stuff here Alexa.

          Joe Mobley
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          • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
            Shaun O'Reilly, John McCabe great posts gentlemen. They would only let me give you 1 thanks though.

            Joe Mobley
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    • Profile picture of the author Joel Young
      Originally Posted by Leveragist View Post

      Here are the advantages according to MailChimp:

      "- Friends, foes, co-workers, etc. won't be able to sign up other people (who never gave permission) to your list. This means fewer spam complaints and a cleaner list overall.

      - If a person (or malicious bot) enters an email address with a typo, you won't be sending campaigns to some poor recipient who never opted in or to an email address that will bounce. Here's a real life example of this. (link removed due to low post count)

      - Your competitors can't sign up to your list then maliciously report it as spam (yes, people actually do stuff like this). Since we collect IP addresses when using our forms, you'll have proof that someone confirmed their interest in your list.

      - People won't be able to sign up with fake, non-existent, or dead email addresses. They must have a valid email address to opt in.

      - Only people who truly want to hear from you will click to confirm subscription to your list. In turn, your list will be more engaged and responsive, and you'll waste less money sending emails to people who don't care to hear from you. Check out this blog post for even more info."

      In essence, it gives you a much cleaner/reliable/targeted list.
      Great post! I've always liked confirmed opt-in, and "know" the reasons for it, but when someone asks I can't seem to put it into words, lol. So your post is now bookmarked for easy reference.

      If I could see how to thank a post, I would, but perhaps I need a higher post count to have that permission?
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  • I personally never saw much point in double confirms. Yes, I know the theoretical reasons to go for it, but I dont think they make much sense.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikefrommaine
    I do a single opt in as I don't spam my list. If you offer good content then it shouldn't be a problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author paul nicholls
    there are certain time when you can use double opt in and some people swear by it, but all i use now is single opt in as its much easier with my sales funnels

    paul
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  • Profile picture of the author mosthost
    I agree with Alexa. The info about opt-in is misleading and comes from the ESPs and email marketing companies because it makes their lives easier.
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  • Profile picture of the author BizOpGuru
    Because if you don't, with large enough volumes it can result in a high rate of complaints resulting in your account being banned.

    Opt-ins "safe guard" your account as technically the person is confirming once, sometimes twice that they wish to be on the list rather than say being signed up without their full knowledge.
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  • Profile picture of the author iamatwar
    I remember reading a case where a spammer added emails to a single opt in list and the real person got banned.
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    • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
      Originally Posted by iamatwar View Post

      I remember reading a case where a spammer added emails to a single opt in list and the real person got banned.
      I've seen the same thing happen. But for OP...

      You certainly dont want to use confirmed opt-in for backend customers.

      As far as free leads are considered... just collect the email and sell to them. I personally haven't seen any major benefit to do confirmed opt-in email marketing... except for very low spam complaint.

      Trust me... you will still get sales from single opt-in method.
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  • Profile picture of the author 2bkify
    From what I know, double optin has better open rates. Less people will unsubscribe from your list.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeThomas
    Double optin has better deliver-ability rates. Meaning more opens = meaning more clicks = meaning more money

    Here's a tip: Use Aweber with double optin and then take the ones that did not double optin and load them into Icontact.

    Overall you'll get the most optins this way and highest probability of opens

    Best,

    Mike Thomas
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    • Profile picture of the author seanster
      Anyone want to comment on the MOST lenient company for single-optin spam complaints.

      I know mailchimp is pretty strict. Aweber one of the most lenient?

      THanks
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