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Double Your Pleasure?

Remember those “old Doublemint commercials”: where cute twins parade about hawking chewing-gum and talking about ‘doubling your pleasure’? These days this could apply to email opt-in choices.
There are two ways to get a person to subscribe to your email list. (Negative opt-in does not count as it’s not ethical):
# Single opt-in – A customer subscribes to your list by entering their e-mail address and/or ticking a box.
# Double opt-in – A customer subscribes to your list by ticking a sign-up box, is sent a confirmation email and they have to confirm they want to receive messages from you.
One pro of double opt-in is it prevents email addresses from being mistakenly placed on a list. It also ensures your list has more integrity. Subscribers really want to hear from you and metrics such as open-rates, click-through rates and sales are higher.

The down side is it could confuse recipients. The last time you were at the check-out counter at Sears did the sales associate say ‘Do you really want this stuff?’ Why make folks jump through hoops when they’ve given you permission to email them?
Most websites also make email unsubscribing quick and painless. (I say ‘most sites’ as a well known hotel chain still sends me email in German and the only Deutsch I know is what I learned watching ‘The Great Escape’ as a kid, but I digress.)
The other concern about double opt-in is that some companies have lost up to 50% of their database using the double opt-in. How? Many subscribers fail to respond to the confirmation email thinking they already know what’s in it and not realizing they have to reconfirm. They then get cheesed off for not hearing from you despite signing-up. (Trust me it’s not pleasant.)
So e-marketers have to weight the pros and cons and decide whether to ‘double their pleasure’ or not…


  1. Jeff Ginsberg
    Jeff Ginsberg May 16, 2006

    Let’s get serious, when was the last time you had a moment in your busy day to subscribe one of your friends to an email list? (Please don’t prove me wrong, I classify my own email address as a valuable asset that does not receive a lot of spam)
    We just heard a speaker who said Double Opt-in was imperative for all sites. It decreased the amount of false addresses and assures you your subscribers are really engaged.
    The only time we think it’s important is when your dealing highly controversial topics such as porn or religion.
    It just so happens he did not run a porn site, he ran
    I wonder how many pro-choicers go around subscribing the email addresses of anti-abortionists to some of the mailing lists out there (or vis versa). Or how many PETA board members get subscribed to

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