Confirmed Opt-in Myths Exposed

Confirmed opt-in as defined by SpamHaus, who is one of the most respected anti spam organizations in the world:

Known as “COI” in the legitimate bulk email industry, also known as “Confirmed Opt-in”, “Verified Opt-in” or sometimes “Double Opt-in”.

With Closed-Loop Opt-in the Recipient has verifiably confirmed permission for the address to be included on the specific mailing list, by confirming (responding to) the list subscription request verification. This is the standard practice for all responsible Internet mailing lists, it ensures users are properly subscribed, from a working address, and with the address owner’s consent.

In the event of “spam” accusation:

The Bulk Email Sender is fully and legally protected because the reply to the Subscription Confirmation Request received back from the recipient proves that the recipient did in fact opt-in and grant verifiable consent for the mailings.

Source:Spamhaus Website

Numerous myths have circulated regarding confirmed opt-in and its effects. There are many misconceptions out there, and we’d like to help clear those up.

Myth 1: My List Size Will Decrease Because Of Confirmed Opt-In.

Some addresses entered into your form will not confirm — that much is true. The percentage of addresses that don’t confirm depends on many factors, including the quality of your traffic and how effective your thank-you page, confirmation message and incentive for confirming are.

Percentages aside, there are compelling reasons that having fewer addresses on your list is a good thing.

Sometimes Less is Better

I know. You may be asking, “How can a decreased list size be a good thing?” Well, let’s consider:

5-20% of all web form submissions are undeliverable right off the bat.

This means that of your total list size you can cut that by 5-20% because these email addresses are simply dead. Remember these are not temporary undeliverable but permanent dead addresses.

Now, add on the bogus and malicious sign ups that undoubtedly will happen. For example, someone comes to your website and decides to put in bob@aol.com. Well, bob@aol.com was once a real email address and because you were not using confirmed opt-in you are now classified as an unintentional spammer.

A recent study by MarketingSherpa and KnowledgeStorm found that only 68% of users always enter a valid email address.

So, nearly a third of respondents knowingly enter bogus email addresses.

- Source

ISPs do not differentiate between unintentional spammers or actual spammers. The potential for you to be blocked or even worse, blacklisted, remains the same.

Less Can Be More Too

A study done by AWeber shows that using confirmed opt-in also reduces unsubscribes and complaints. This means that you keep more of your subscribers (the ones that actually want your email).

Read more about that here.

Myth 2: My Mailing List Is Different! I Don’t Need Confirmed Opt-In.

Let’s be clear, confirmed opt-in is for all businesses, plain and simple. Anyone collecting subscribers and in turn sending email needs to confirm that those people intended to sign up to your mailing list and want to receive your email.

In this age of email regulations and massive volumes of spam email, deliverability can be an issue. Why increase your chances of not getting delivered by putting yourself at risk.

Myth 3: No One Else Uses Confirmed Opt-In. Why Should I?

This is simply not accurate. Our own campaigns here at AWeber use confirmed opt-in for all email marketing activities. When someone signs up for a Test Drive of AWeber, they must confirm.

After setting up an account, if they want to receive our customer training email course, they must confirm. The same goes for our affiliates and their email training. Even when someone subscribes to our blog, they must confirm.

Ok, but AWeber must practice what they preach, who else?

If you want to sign up for the mailing lists of these organizations you will need to first confirm:
 CNN  Microsoft
 Oprah  bellagio.com
 IRS.gov  weather.com
 ign.com  maxim.com
 tgifridays.com  olivegarden.com
 pbs.org  visitpa.com
 Whitehouse.gov  CNet

The list goes on and on!

Myth 4: Subscribers In My Market Don’t Know How To Confirm.

The simple solution is to tell them. The first page after someone fills in an opt-in form, commonly called a “thank you page” should tell the visitor exactly what to do next. Often this is done most effectively with a picture showing visitors what the confirmation email will look like.

An excellent example is our test drive sign up video on the thank you page showing visitors what to do.

One variation of this myth is:

“Subscribers in my market don’t know how to click an email link.”

Honestly, if they can’t click a link then you probably should be marketing your business offline. If someone can find your website online I guarantee they can click a link.

Myth 5: My Sales Will Decrease Because Of Confirmed Opt-In.

Have you tested this assumption? The answer is always, “No, but I just assume” or “No, my colleague told me it would hurt sales”.

It’s best not to assume anything, but rather to seek out your own answers by testing and observing your own campaigns. We have found from our own testing that while the raw number of email addresses on our list declined when we switched to confirmed opt-in, sales did not.

This means that the people who did confirm were the ones that truly wanted the information that they had to offer and the ones that didn’t were not left to bloat the mailing list.

Grow Your Business Without Risk

Will your results be exactly the same as AWeber or even anyone else? This can only be determined by proper testing and measuring.

Use confirmed opt-in as an opportunity to make sure that your lists are 100% clean and that you know without a doubt that 100% of the people receiving your mail have specifically requested it themselves.

Spend your time and energy building your business with subscribers who want to hear from you rather than dealing with issues created by people who don’t want to hear from you.

Free Video from Our Confirmed Opt-in Seminar

Ready to optimize your Confirmed Opt-In process?

Join our Education Team for a recording of a recent live seminar for a demonstration of what you need to know to maximize the number of responsive subscribers on your list.

Watch the Confirmed Opt-in Seminar Video

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50 Comments

  1. Great post, Sean, thanks!

    I had a discussion a while ago with someone who was arguing against confirmed opt ins, and I pointed out a recent incident that happened to me: About the middle of last month I received 18 opt ins one night, within the space of 3 minutes. When I checked the details they were all made from the same IP address and the same Lat/Long location – someone sitting there typing in email addresses.

    Needless to say none of them confirmed – and I saved myself from 18 accusations of spamming.

    12/20/2007 8:33 pm
  2. Nathan

    Hi Sean!

    Great post, I found it extremely insightful. Quick follow up question regarding SPAM complaints that are generated by subscribers on closed loop confirmed opt-in mailing lists. Assuming that the content of the bulk mailings remains consistent with what subscribers were originally told they’d be receiving upon confirming their subscription, how long before ones Aweber account is jeopardized as a result of SPAM complaints generated by subscribers on ones confirmed bulk mailing list?

    Thanks in advance for the additional insights

    12/20/2007 10:36 pm
  3. well, here is my situation. i already have an opt-in form on my website. not an "aweber" opt-in form, but one that came w/the shopping cart. so, i have approximately 400 people who voluntarily signed up for the e-mail list using this opt-in form on my shopping cart site. only about 1/2 of those "double-confirmed" using the "aweber" verification form. so, i’m down to ~200 double confirmed. in fact, i got a new lead the other day who opted-in via the website and i added that lead manually to the "aweber" list the same day they voluntarily opted-in. that person has not yet verified using the "aweber" verification link. so, either this person falls into the category of "fake e-mail" or that person changed her mind almost immediately. actually, i have another hypothesis: some leads think that b/c they have already signed up voluntarily, they don’t need to confirm through the verification e-mail and they ignore the e-mail. i really think this is a possible explanation, which means that ultimately leads are lost.

    12/21/2007 3:34 am
  4. Shereen,

    Confirmation rates can vary based on a few factors including:

    * The quality of traffic filling out your sign up form
    * How clear the confirmation process is made to subscribers after signing up
    * The effectiveness of the customization to the confirmation message
    * How quickly this message is sent after sign up

    For a comprehensive overview of some of the ways to enhance your confirmation rate, I would recommend reviewing the video referenced in this blog article.

    I’d like to make just a comments on what you wrote to see if I can offer some specific guidance:

    You mention that it seems to you that some subscribers are not understanding the confirmation process, feeling that they are already signed up and need not take any additional action. This may be a cause for some people not to confirm, but only if it isn’t made clear on the thank you page subscribers see after submitting the sign up form.

    The video above provides some guidance on how you might do this with maximum effect.

    You also refer to the fact that you are not using an AWeber form on your site, so it seems that you’re importing these subscribers sometime afterwards, like the one you mention as an example in your comment.

    We strongly suggest using an AWeber form to get people subscribed to your campaign for many reasons. In this case, it may help you to get the confirmation message to them in a more expedient manner — immediately after they submit the form — so they can act on it when their interest and intent in fresh in their minds (we discuss this in the video as well).

    I may be able to offer some additional guidance, perhaps based on a response to the suggestions I’ve made above, but since it would undoubtedly require more information about your account, email would seem more appropriate, so I’ve sent you one.

    Still, I think my advice here and that found in the video should point you in the right direction on how to improve your confirmation rate.

    12/21/2007 9:51 am
  5. Nathan,

    Great question.

    Confirmed opt-in makes the initial permission to get information rock solid and it provides the best foundation to build a relationship with subscribers.

    Things can still go wrong from there for the subscriber, however, if information is sent that they don’t find relevant.

    Justin posted a very helpful article a while back on the importance of relevancy in our email campaigns:

    http://www.aweber.com/blog/email-deliverability/permission-is-a-good-start.htm

    By using confirmed opt-in and staying relevant, you should have little worry about. But how do you know when to be concerned as you receive these complaint reports?

    Take a look at the Knowledge Base article discussing what an acceptable rate is:

    http://www.aweber.com/faq/questions/390/What+Is+An+Acceptable+Complaint+Rate

    12/21/2007 3:44 pm
  6. Is the extra step a concern for some potential subscribers? What do you think?

    12/21/2007 4:01 pm
  7. Hi Julie,

    In our experience that depends on how you present it to them.

    Just like any other action you want your subscribers to take, getting them to confirm requires that you:

    * Explicitly tell them what it is you want them to do
    * Explain why they should do so (what’s in it for them?)

    For a discussion of how to best do that, check out the video link toward the end of this post.

    12/21/2007 4:51 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  8. Hello,

    Is there any way we could include the unsubscribe/change contact
    information link at the top of the emails instead of just at the bottom?

    That could additionally prevent spam complaints and turn them into
    simple unsubscribes.

    12/21/2007 5:15 pm
  9. At the risk of being accused of spamming I recently qestioned some of my non-confirms (via email) and the general problem appeared to be the word SUBSCRIBE they read it as Payment. The Oxford dictionary defines the word subscribe as follows: Pay specified sum regularly for membership of an organisation or receipt of a publication, etc. Agree to pay/contribute (such sum) to a fund.
    Has this factor been overlooked in the wording of the aweber confirmation email?

    12/22/2007 8:48 am
  10. that’s an interesting point, paul. i have not done any research with my own list, but i have had angst about the subject line for the "aweber" opt-in verification e-mail. i’ve changed it around a few times now, and i ended up with a subject line that hopefully tries to explain clearly to the lead that it’s not a spam e-mail and it does require them to read the e-mail and take action.

    –s–

    12/22/2007 8:08 pm
  11. Yes, I think if a person fills out a form and asks to get information and includes their e-mail and it is clear it will be used by that company then this is a legitimate contact, and rock solid. They can have the option to "opt out" at any point in the future….should the remote chance be that someone else entered the e-mail address or they changed their minds (we all do this). I truly believe that "double opt in" looses GOOD leads who really are interested. Point in case: Many times I get actual e-mail inquiries with specific requests and when I take the time to answer the question and it bounces back asking me to "verify" who I am (earthlink is good at this)…..it makes me mad and sometimes I simply ignore the question and trash the e-mail, depending on the quality of the question. People are busy and just because they don’t take the time to confirm does not mean it’s a low quality inquiry.

    12/24/2007 12:48 am
  12. Scott,

    I can certainly see where you’re coming from, but time and time again, "opt-out" email campaigns fail to get their messages delivered. This is because ISPs dictate in a strict manner that a strong foundation of permission be established, and that must include confirmed opt-in for best results.

    In a world without spam, where people send only relevant information to people who’ve given affirmative consent, we could have sign up processes that establish permission solely through the use of a web form, but as we hear from ISPs, we don’t live in that world.

    Although there will be a few instances where people simply don’t complete the opt-in process, with clear instruction and incentive to complete the process, email marketers will consistently find that by using confirmed opt-in, we will have responsive and very profitable lists with lower unsubscribes and complaints than their single opt-in counterparts, which will help us get our messages through at a higher rate and with clearer results.

    In terms of the sustainability of our campaigns, we will have virtually no risk for irreparable damage to email deliverability if messages are also kept relevant.

    Looking at the big picture and the long run both at the quality of our subscriber base and the profitability of our businesses, confirmed opt-in truly is the only way to go.

    12/26/2007 9:39 am
  13. Paul and Shereen,

    The word "subscribe" makes the most sense for the opt-in process because it clues in the recipient that they will be receiving a series of email messages, much as they would subscribe to any periodical (e.g magazine) sent over a period of time.

    Although this is the first time I’ve heard of a subscriber’s concern over that, it would seem that for the limited cases where this may be a problem, clearly stating that a subscription to your newsletter is "free" in the sign up process should eliminate any confusion.

    You could put this assurance anywhere in the sign up process, including on the page containing your form, the thank you page subscribers see once the form has been submitted, as well as in your customized confirmation messages.

    In a larger sense, providing clear incentives and setting expectations for a website visitor to sign up and confirm their subscriptions will help to ensure an optimal conversion rate through the whole opt-in process, and this is one factor we focus on in the video linked from this article.

    12/26/2007 9:49 am
  14. this is what i don’t get. reading this thread, i am reminded by all the spam that i receive. i am spammed ALL THE TIME by major companies: Princess Cruises; amazon.com; FootSmart; Coolibar; BIOLOG; Cole-Parmer; Beckman-Coulter; Lucigen; LD ink products; Aerosoles; some web optimization company; some statistical analysis software company; some candy company.

    i may have been a customer of some of these companies, but i never signed up at all to be on any of their e-mail lists. AND in several cases, including the case of Princess Cruise Lines, i’ve never even visited their website–ever!! so, how did i even get "opted-in" for THOSE lists?!

    i even got spammed last night by an e-mail sent via "iContact"…???!!! i NEVER EVER rec’d an opt-in verification for that list, and yet i got spammed by a "legitimate" avenue.

    but i don’t see anyone pulling the plug on any of the aforementioned businesses above. i get spammed every day, so apparently ISPs are letting those guys get away with NOT sending any verification/double opt-in e-mails–and with the larger companies, you know they are sending out to thousands, if not tens of thousands of e-mail addresses.

    …i don’t know…my first-hand, personal experience seems to contradict the information i’ve read thus far.

    12/27/2007 10:25 pm
  15. Shereen,

    I can understand your frustration. Receiving messages we never requested tends to be very annoying, and often times this leads us (like many others) to click the "Mark as SPAM" button built into our email programs.

    ISPs use this feedback to determine how to move forward accepting and delivering — or denying and putting into the junk folder — email messages.

    The potential to "have the plug pulled" is very real for any party that sends messages without explicit permission, because ISPs use blocklists that often rely on feedback from users.

    Still, this case would be far less common than the more likely scenario where deliverability is damaged to a more varying degree, based on the amount and frequency of negative feedback from users like you and I who haven’t given permission.

    Let’s be clear: the law (CAN-SPAM) doesn’t dictate that explicit permission and confirmed opt-in must be used, and the issue may not *yet* be entirely black and white when it comes to what ISPs do with email.

    But the "gray area" is a very dangerous one to be in when we consider both the short and long term success of our email campaigns and the online presence of our businesses.

    ISPs have dictated confirmed opt-in as the standard for completely establishing permission, and if we want to get our email messages through reliably and without risk of damaging our reputations, we need to use confirmed opt-in.

    12/28/2007 8:34 am
  16. I’ve been reading the posts on spamming and the need for COI with very great interest. I know this may seem far-fetched but I receive, on average, fifteen to twenty times more spam-mail than ‘welcome’ mail.
    Both my ISPs are pretty good at sorting out the genuine stuff from the garbage. But it’s still a massive and unjustifiable intrusion. Do shop-keepers normally come to my door, claiming knowledge of me and my interests and trying to sell me stuff on my doorstep? Well, travelling folk and cold-callers might but major retail outlets would not employ such tactics.Corporates who shy away from "pushiness" in the High Street, seemed to have no sense of decency when it comes to shoving their presence in your face on the Web. For years, my friends and I,who use e-mail a great deal have wondered why a charge is not placed on the posting of mail on the Web as it is for traditional posting. Think about this, a minute. The money generated, less administrative expenses, could be used to fund welfare organisations, charities, social enterprizes etc etc! If the ISPs can’t find their own use for the millions of dollars that would be raised then it could be invested in making the Web a much more secure environment for everyone. What we like so much about this idea is that he or she who spammed the most, would pay the most!! We wrote two years ago to the DTI (department of trade and industry in the UK) on this subject. No reply has ever been received. I totally relate to Shereen’s sense of injustice because I believe that ISPs are simply not acting responsibly. If there are going to be rules, laws, obligations, then let the application of them be even-handed. Whether I’m e-mailing twenty or twenty million people, surely, the same restrictions should apply? As a matter of interest, it is A Weber’s firm policy on COI that had me sign up with it in the first place. We can curse the dark, but also light a candle! I care very much about the company (and Company) I keep. I would not want to be associated with an organisation which either implicity or explicitly encouraged reckless use of lists to make a few quick bucks. I like to talk about qualifying my customers. I think that COI and, even the double-whammy, of a confirmation, does not a whit of harm in the end. You will lose the prospects who would have wasted your time in the first place and you will know that those who are still ‘biting’ are the genuine customer or client you’re looking for. If anyone has bothered to read this far, I wish you a very good Scottish Hogmanay and a very prosperous New Year! Chris

    12/28/2007 10:31 am
  17. Dan

    Another interesting post.

    Now, with regards to single-optins versus double optins,
    I feel that buyers must be treated carefully, and respected.

    I don’t use double-optins so buyers don’t have to jump
    through hoops just to get product.

    Is this good or bad, or a matter of preference?

    Thanks

    12/28/2007 12:06 pm
  18. Following on Shereen’s comments, earlier this year AOL blocked all my mail, which prevented me sending out requested information to new leads on my Aweber list (Confirmed opt-in’s) when I asked AOL why? the answer was they have received a large number of Spam complaints about me. I then checked the Aweber list to see exactly how many leads were with AOL, Guess what? there were only 13 on my list of which 9 of them were the ones bounced because of the block, this meant I had only 4 leads who had received ONE email each from me. I got no satisfactory answers from AOL. So does anyone really know how the ISP’s work, it seems to me they don’t care.

    12/29/2007 7:20 am
  19. Mike Symonds

    Best post I’ve seen here yet.

    Why?

    I followed the advice, and found just how many phony email signups there really were…

    there’s nothing like deceiving yourself in your business, just to find out the truth.

    I haven’t seen the video you guys did yet, but I’ll check it out.

    However, I am on some Internet Marketing Guru’s lists that happen to use confirmed optin…I just followed their model with the confirmation page, thank you page, and follow up emails…

    I have a question for you…

    What accounts for the signups that do not display as "opt-in"?

    Is this due to robots written to spam all types of possible email addresses, e.g. listname@aweber.com?

    Thanks for opening my eyes!

    12/30/2007 12:20 pm
  20. Matt,

    You can put a copy of the unsubscribe/change details link anywhere in your messages using the {!remove_web} variable.

    More on personalization variables.

    Dan,

    I’ve heard others say the same thing, so you’re certainly not alone in that thinking.

    I have 2 thoughts on that:

    1) I’m puzzled at the apparent suggestion that confirmed opt-in is somehow disrespectful to customers. It’s designed to help ensure that they’re only getting email from you that they want, which seems to me to be quite respectful of their time and privacy.

    2) In another discussion on this blog, we talked about the idea of "one subscription, one list" — that people signing up to receive email are asking for a specific set of information.

    As part of that idea, we feel you should treat each set of information you might send to them (for example, what you might send to them as a customer instead of as a prospect) as a totally different subscription, using the same permission standards that you adhere to for your other lists.

    Mike,

    That’s one possible contributing factor. Spam sent to your AWeber email address would generate unconfirmed "subscribers."

    It’s also worth noting that some bots fill out web forms, generating more unconfirmed entries on a list.

    And of course, as Sean points out early on in this post, even some "real people" filling out your signup forms may be doing so with bogus or typo’d email addresses.

    12/31/2007 10:38 am | Follow me on Twitter
  21. I think opt-in is great, but there can be a flaw to the system, too. I just signed up with aweber.com. I subscribed one email addresse to each of my e-zines–my husband likes to receive a copy.

    I waited and waited and no confirmation came. Finally, I found one confirmation in the bulk folder amidst all the junk mail he receives. I am still waiting for the other two confirmations to come through. Either yahoo ate those confirmations, or they were accidentally deleted amongst the 400 spam emails.

    So how do you know when someone really wanted to be a subscriber and just never got the confirmation?

    1/10/2008 3:32 pm
  22. One major question I have with double optin is that of transferring names. Eg If I have a proscpecting list and a customer list I need to have the customer sign up AGAIN . . .First of all I believe this is cumbersome for the customer, may cause confusion or instigate questions as to why this practise is used etc.

    I regularly get asked by my bank to update my data, if not I may not receive access to certain services – this being so even though my data has not changed in 10 years! I resent the fact that they OBLIGE me to fill out the same form every 6 months and wonder what kind of fool sits behind that desk – I do not want my customers to think that of me or my business.

    Is there no way that aWeber will allow transparent transferrals of names to new lists as I have mentioned.

    Eg: creation of a child lists so that the name can only be moved down to populate a new customer lost and not be placed on a different unrelated list which is what the intention of aweber is for those who may be less than scrupulous. I am sure this would not be technically too difficult and would be of use to many marketers.

    1/11/2008 10:24 am
  23. Dabbling Mum,

    Some of the larger ISPs like Yahoo! can occasionally take quite some time to put messages in the inbox. I can think of more than a few times working with customers where a missing message that seemed to have disappeared into thin air appeared minutes — or in some cases — hours later.

    In your case, however, it seems you’ve waited some time already for these messages to appear.

    Now, the appearance of your confirmation message in the spam folder would seem to point to an issue with your campaigns deliverability that may or may not be isolated to only this message.

    This means that its quite possible that other messages would have the same fate more than likely, even if confirmation messages were not sent.

    If I were in your position, I would try:

    * Tweaking/modifying the customization of my confirmation message to see if there’s something specific in there triggering a filter

    * Checking the reply address and name associated with my email

    I think this issue could use some attention from someone here (assuming that you are an AWeber customer), so I’ve sent you an email to get some more specifics from you about your account.

    I’m sorry to see you’ve had this issue, but I’m willing to bet we can get to the bottom of this pretty quickly.

    1/11/2008 10:48 am
  24. Harpy,

    As I noted in my above response to Dan, we feel that to preserve the highest level of permission, it’s important to treat customer and prospect lists as distinct requests for information, adhering to the idea of "one subscription, one list."

    It’s not that you "have the customer sign up again" to the same list; rather, when someone makes a purchase from you, your relationship with them changes (as opposed to in the example you give where your relationship with your bank did not change), as does the information you’re sending them. That in our view constitutes a separate list requiring a separate permission.

    1/11/2008 11:00 am | Follow me on Twitter
  25. Dan

    I’ve expereince the same issue.

    I’ve even gone so far as to discourage Yahoo users from subscribing and to use different email address, like a hotmnail or gmail account.

    I’m amazed and hom many non-verified subscribers I have on my list, especially since I mainly give out free reports to get people to join my mailing list.

    So, the traffic is targeted and I use default welcome messages for verification purposes.

    Personally, I think the issue is with Yahoo, hotmail, gmail etc, and their filters. Aweber has a great tool for checking SPAM scores, so the only thing that can be the issue is the email providers, and not Aweber.

    And I doubt there’s anything Aweber can do to make things better, but
    we can always hope.

    Congrats on 30k customers!!!

    1/11/2008 11:05 am
  26. I’m considering Aweber as our vendor. I’m reading this blog out of concern for the DOI requirement.

    I have two questions:

    1. If a DOI subscriber forwards a newsletter to several friends, and one or more report it as "spam," will you or the ISPs call us "guilty"? Or will we be legitimately excused because we only sent it to DOIs?

    2. If we went with you and tried to DOI our existing list, we would want to send them DOI reminders every other day for like, two weeks, until they pay attention and take action. Would you allow us the freedom to work harder than average to remind people to subscribe? We’re working with busy, distracted Californians primarily, and when we tested an opt-in system a few years ago, we abandoned it because of the extremely low response rate. Even donors of our organization, who obviously support us and want our emails, didn’t opt-in again because they were too busy.

    Thank you.

    1/26/2008 1:39 am
  27. Hi Randy,

    1) If you’re using Confirmed Opt-In, you have verifiable proof that your subscriber requested to receive your email. Additiaonlly, if someone else forwards an email to their friends, you’re not the sender of that forward, your subscriber is, and the complaint would be against them.

    2) The confirmation message can only be sent once. Sending it repeatedly goes against the intent of using Confirmed Opt-In in the first place.

    One key to maximizing your confirm rate is to provide a compelling incentive to subscribers when migrating. Reminding them why they signed up in the first place helps, but you don’t have to stop there – give people something extra (free bonus, report, coupon… whatever you have that you feel is appropriate and they would respond to) for making the move with you.

    For more on migrating your list and Confirmed Opt-In, check out these pages:

    Knowledge Base: What Should I Consider When Importing?

    Recorded Video of Our Confirmed Opt-In Seminar

    1/30/2008 3:54 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  28. I have no problem with the COI for primarily web based collection of emails. I have a different issue however.

    I collect my emails primarly via giving live in-person lectures. People sign up for my lists at the lectures and therefore I have to "import" them one talk at a time to add to my list.

    I’ve experimented with Constant Contact and with Aweber. With the CC trials, no one unsubscribed after I began sending them info after my seminar. With the Aweber, about 40% of indivuduals who GAVE ME THEIR EMAIL address in person did not confirm.

    How can I reinvite them? My guess is that they did not recognize the confirmation tag line. I have an old list of about 100 subscribers and I’m trying to decde between aweber and constant contact.

    1/29/2010 2:21 am
  29. Mary Josette Redillas

    Jason,

    I was in your webinar March 9, and i pick up so much information from that. AWeber have had the great tools that put a little twist and fill up. I like the web form pop up. Its working well.

    In summary:
    1. many are willing to fill up my web form because it design like they are not force at all to sign.(creative fill up survey or just merly and questions about anybody’s likes.
    for example: What is your flavor?
    every body has their own taste and opinion and that people made them sign up the web form for fun.

    2. I can make a fan page out of the web form to my web page in elegant way.

    3.It looks fit my facebook profile that they just fill it up like crazy.

    that makes my campaign easier.

    3/10/2010 10:19 am
  30. Justin

    Is there anyway to send a Confirmation link in a follow up email…

    Say I wanted to send the first video to a series then send the first email (not confirmation) but the next days send them a confirmation email somewhere in my follow up.

    This possible?

    6/12/2010 4:47 am
  31. Justin,

    No, the confirm link goes out immediately, and before any other messages in your campaign.

    6/14/2010 8:29 am | Follow me on Twitter
  32. Confirmed opt-ins is cost-effective in the long run. By having only confirmed subscribers can eliminate unresponsive people on your list.

    Especially if you are just starting out, an additional person in excess of 500 will cost you more or less 10USD a month. It is just right that you just have your visitors confirm your subscription.

    9/14/2010 7:35 pm
  33. Roe

    Question: I know you used to but currently, can you even create a form on AWeber that allows you to eliminate confirmed opt in??

    4/6/2011 4:51 pm
  34. Roe ~ You do have the option to turn confirmation off for a list, but as you can see, we recommend leaving it on.

    4/8/2011 3:56 pm
  35. Ben

    I tested confirmed optin, and it did hurt my sales.

    6/7/2011 9:41 am
  36. I disagree with much that is written in this blog. I was shocked to hear you say
    “Honestly, if they can’t click a link then you probably should be marketing your business offline. If someone can find your website online I guarantee they can click a link.”

    What if you are marketing you biz offline as well as online, what if people have asked to join a list offline, they have already build up rapport through social contacts, they have already given permission and they don’t see why they should go to the chore of giving permission yet again. I actually lost a very good contact and client who was deeply offended when she got the double opt in email. She had spent several hours with me and we had built up strong level of trust – and she was offended by the email that she assumed had come from me, asking for her permission yet again.

    People are already overwhelmed with the amount of email they have to deal with.

    I have no problem with double opt in for visitors to a website but when contacts have asked to join a list offline, then it is very irritating to them.

    People just don’t behave the way you think they should. You are just justifying the system you have created to us who are trying to use the system – and are actually making it hard for us to acquire or retain clients. This means that you system is actually damaging our business.

    What if the reason these people are seeking our help is because their lives are chaotic – and therefore clicking a link really is too much (for all sorts of reasons) and not something they will do – even if they want to be on the list they have asked to join.

    6/7/2012 6:01 pm
  37. Claire – I can understand your concerns. However, double opt-in is considered best practice by the email marketing industry and not just us.

    You do have the ability to customize the confirmation message. Feel free to explain that in order to be compliant with best practices, you are required to have them click the link to confirm. The click is needed to create a proper audit trail. You can even explain this to them when you’re talking to them offline.

    By not sending out a confirmation message you open yourself up to other problems. Your deliverability can suffer and it will be harder to find people willing to pay to advertise in your emails (if you decide to do that). The confirmation process is meant to protect you, not hurt you.

    Also, you have to wonder if people really don’t have time to click the confirmation link, will they have the time actually read your emails and click your links in them?

    6/8/2012 8:21 am
  38. Crystal, as I explained in my email, I have no problem with the confirmation system when people sign on through a web form. That is not an issue for me. It is the issue of people who I have a relationship with offline and who ask to be added to my newsletter etc. They get irritated by being asked to confirm something they have already confirmed – and this bear no relationship with their interest in my service. I moved from aweber to icontact because icontact allows me to add subscribers without them needing to click a link. There are lots of frustrations of using icontact which doesn’t integrate well with wordpress. This is how I ended up on this blog looking to see if aweber had changed – and I found myself simply appalled by some of the things written on this blog about subscribers behaviour and in this you are insulting my clients.

    I have found it simply not true that subscribers that can’t get their heads round the link clicking business do not open my emails. In fact I make a point of helping people who struggle with this and I have found that those who I help don’t seem to have any problem opening my emails. In fact they often go on to become my best clients.

    I will continue with icontact as frustrating as it is because of this.

    6/16/2012 8:39 am
  39. Claire, I’m sorry you feel that way. We wish you the best!

    6/18/2012 8:04 am
  40. I completely understand the argument for double opt-in in the context of marketing and public relations campaigns. What about mailing lists that are internal to organizations, especially non-profit and social action organizations, whose only subscribers are members of the organization. In my situation, I can’t accept the percentage (my guess is about 20%) who inevitably don’t click the link to complete the opt-in process. For internal discussion lists, yes, because participation on these lists is always optional. I’m fine with double opt-in for internal discussion lists. But for an announcements list for use when the officers need to reach every member, it simply won’t work. Should we be using postal mail or phone trees instead? At what cost? Paid for by whom?

    7/25/2012 3:52 pm
  41. Hi there it’s me, I am also visiting this web site daily, this website is genuinely nice and the users are really sharing good thoughts.

    3/4/2014 12:30 am
  42. Hi,
    I get regular emails from people who signed up for my newsletter telling me they didn’t receive their COI email – email address is correct and spam folder checked.

    Each time I contact Aweber about this, I get fobbed off with “Our email deliverability is great – your customer could try again after a few days.”

    It doesn’t seem to improve, if I change the content of the COI email.

    This is costing me credibility and customers.

    What can Aweber do to improve the ability of the COI emails to actually reach our customers?

    I completely agree with the need for COIs, but not at the cost of my reputation.
    Clare

    4/11/2014 3:05 am
  43. Double opt-in is a nightmare if clients don’t confirm and a large number does not click the confirmation link due to many reasons:
    1-Mail has not reached them at all,
    2-May be it landed in their promotion tab in the case of gmail,
    3-May be they did not find the time or postpone it for some other time,
    4-They don’t have the skills to trace the older emails,
    5-They may not be knowing which part of the mail is a confirmation link to be clicked.

    Answer is given if they don’t click the link we should go offline doing our business, Question is if a customer is in written agreement with me and pays me regularly against the service i am offering then what point in asking his/her request to confirm the mail. Believe it many of clients see such mails not less than a stupidity.

    5/20/2014 9:55 am