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I'm not a fan of double opt-in when it comes to growing your email list.

Here's why.

What do you think?
Sarah Pinnix's profile photoDJ Waldow's profile photoScott Ayres's profile photoBrian McNett's profile photo
+DJ Waldow But aren't alot of autoresonders requiring this double opt-in quite a bit lately? I hate it too.
Some email marketing companies do require it. Others strongly encourage it. I'm not a fan...
+DJ Waldow Me either as you will lose alot if they have to go confirm. Attention spans are short...
I tend to agree it is too redundant. It guards against others being able to sign you up for a list, but in reality, how much does that happen? As long as they make unsubscribe easy, I don't see a problem with single opt-in.
+Sarah Pinnix "As long as they make unsubscribe easy, I don't see a problem with single opt-in." AGREE!
I've been telling myself most of the day I wasn't going to respond to this. I'm not going to wade into this discussion and argue a side. Well, I'm here, darn it, so I've failed. As a network security analyst at a largish network services provider, I'm exposed mostly to the more... er... pathological end of email marketing. All things being equal, if you're not engaging in other abusive behaviors, single opt-in shouldn't be a problem, and in fact, my employer doesn't even mention double opt-in in our Acceptable Use Policy. We only require that your mailing list be "opt-in".

In a perfect world, single opt-in would be fine for everyone, but it's not a perfect world. Frankly I agree with every point in your article except one, which you fail to consider. Your mailing list doesn't exist in isolation. Your list exists in a sea of abusive and pathological business models, which you both compete with, and may in some instances have to interact with. The people who would abuse the network out of malice don't abuse just your list, but lists in general... in aggregate, such that any one list may not be subject to abuse, but the same abusers are abusing the same groups of lists. Mailing lists being just one vector among many.

If you're surrounded only by healthy people, there are disadvantages to vaccination, and individually you may not be as well off insuring your vaccinations are up to date. But introduce one person into your environment with an infectious illness, and every un-vaccinated person is soon sick. You treat infectious diseases not individual by individual, but community by community, isolating the infected and inoculating around them.

So, you see, it's not an either-or. In an inherently toxic environment, you're going to need double opt-in in your tool kit. I'm not even saying you need to use it everywhere all the time. Now, I know my point of view is biased. I rarely get to see a well-managed, healthy email list. I only get to see the worst cases. Minor problems get fixed long before they rise to the level where anyone brings them to my attention. In my biased world-view, every single opt-in list I've ever encountered has multiple serious issues, and all I can do is insist on double opt-in as part of a broader strategy for fixing those problems. But like I said, I don't get to see healthy lists. I know that the pathological cases aren't the norm, but I never get to see them.

Most of my colleagues are the same way, and it's at my level that the impetus to make all of your lists double opt-in originates. That's where the conflict comes from. You look around and see plenty of examples of well-maintained, functioning, active, healthy single opt-in lists. I look around and see none. It's easy to mistake what we see for all that there is, and wonder why those crazy people "over there" are advocating complete nonsense.

So to take this back to where I started, I've been struggling all day not to say "There goes that nutty +DJ Waldow again, advocating for single opt-in! What a maroon!". Honestly, attitudes like that are unhelpful. What is helpful is understanding that your own view of the world is always biased. What I tell myself when I see articles like yours is that you're living in the very world of sunlight and rainbows I'm trying to protect by wading full-on into the darkness.
Thanks for that detailed reply +Brian McNett . I need to read it again to fully digest! If necessary, are you cool with me quoting you on some of this stuff?
Sure, I'm cool with you quoting from it. I'm kinda amazed it went over so well.
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