From time to time, the debate single opt-in vs. double opt-in begins again…
“Single opt-in is the way to go,” say some email marketers. “No way! Double opt-in is better because … this and that,” say other marketers.
The truth is that each opt-in type of subscription has its own advantages and disadvantages…
The major disadvantage of using the double opt-in type of subscription is that for various reasons some people will never confirm their subscription to your mailing list.
That’s a single opt-in advantage… the rate of conversion from prospect into subscriber is higher than in the double opt-in case. Therefore single opt-in mailing lists get more subscribers and consequently the profits may be higher (It’s a numbers game, right?).
But the single opt-in has also disadvantages (they are advantages for the double opt-in):
1. Bots or ill-intentioned persons can add to your mailing list people who actually never asked themselves to be on your list. Therefore your risk to be reported as spammer is higher if you use the single opt-in.
2. Sometimes people make mistakes (typos). If that mistyped email address exists, then you’ll be spamming someone again and again.
3. You don’t know if a subscriber who just opted in actually receives your emails. Why? The spam filters are not email marketers friends. A message in the spam folder + double opt-in usually = a person who doesn’t confirm the subscription. A message in the spam folder + single opt-in = a new subscriber who usually is just a “number” but not a reader. [Supplementary reading: How to Avoid Spam Filters]
These three disadvantages show you that in case of a single opt-in subscription you get also more useless subscribers that are actually “numbers” instead of potential readers.
There are email marketers who consider themselves content writers only, and know nothing or don’t care about tech stuff like email deliverability, email open rates, CTR, etc. Most of them say, “Single opt-in gets more subscribers. Deliverability? It’s Aweber‘s job. Period.”
That’s a very narrow perspective though, isn’t it? You cannot take into consideration only the advantages and say that the disadvantages aren’t your business…
Can someone actually assert, “This form of opt-in is definitely better than the other one”? As a matter of fact, the answer is NO…
The truth is that each marketer may only say, “This form of opt-in is better FOR ME”
Why is that?
Because on a case by case basis, you may see that what is considered an advantage by another person may be a disadvantage for you. And… surprise… each one is right from their own perspective!
For example, if you sell ad space in your newsletters and the prices are based on the number of subscribers, then you may not want to cheat your advertisers by adding to your list also “subscribers” who actually never receive your emails or “subscribers” who never subscribed themselves to your list.
However, if you send only commercial emails that are for your own profit and you don’t sell ad space that’s charged based on the subscribers count, then you may not worry about the fact that some new subscribers never receive your emails. Checking the click stats, you’ll eventually find out who those subscribers are and remove them from your list.
Another example. Some email marketers pay a monthly fee to a third party email marketing company (like Aweber) and that fee is based on the number of subscribers. They may not like to pay also for fake subscribers. Others may not care about this cost or simply may not use such a third party, so they don’t worry about this disadvantage.
My conclusion: the single opt-in vs. double opt-in debate is just an artificial controversy created by an inappropriate approach that’s based on the wrong thinking “What it’s best for me has to be best for you, no matter whether I know your goals or not.”
To Your Email Marketing Success!
P.S. What do you think? Use the comment form below and let me know your view…