Why You Should Choose Confirmed Opt-In



Confirmed Opt-in improves campaign results! We analyzed over 700M messages sent from GetResponse Pro accounts between August 1st and November 1st 2009, and compared certain “success” factors for confirmed opt-in and unconfirmed opt-in users. Check out the newest stats now!

The battle between “confirmed opt-in” and unconfirmed opt-in supporters has been raging for almost as long as email marketing has existed.  Much has been said, yet the endless stream of articles and shouting matches on blogs and forums continues. We’d like to help sort it all out, starting with the basics:


Unconfirmed Opt-in (also “unverified opt-in” or “single opt-in”) takes place when a new subscriber is automatically added to a mailing list, without any “extra steps” to verify his/her intention to join.


Confirmed Opt-in (“verified opt-in” or “double opt-in”) means that before a  new subscriber is added to a list, a confirmation email is sent asking the subscriber to confirm his/her intention to sign-up by clicking on the link in the email message. If the link isn’t clicked, the address won’t be added.

Now some marketers have objected:

‘Why annoy my new subscribers with unnecessary verification emails? What’s the point, anyway?’


Well, there are several very important reasons to verify:


1)    Keeping your lists clean – Typos are a common problem with web sign-up forms. Who hasn’t made them? However, this is a huge headache for mailing list managers.  One wrong letter and your emails could be sent to a totally different person, or the mailbox may not even exist, so you’ve wasted your time and money, and possibly annoyed some prospects. No matter how innocent the “offense”, both situations can cause serious deliverability problems with Internet Solution Providers (ISPs), like redirecting all your messages to junk folders or even blocking future emails.


2)    Dodging malicious subscriptions – Imagine the effect of someone subscribing email addresses to your list as a prank or, even worse, using a malicious script to fill out all sign-up forms on the Internet (including yours) with bogus information! Or spammers using forged email addresses to send millions of emails, including the one used to sign up to your list. Or how about a competitor or an old high school enemy setting you up for a “joe-job” by adding anti-spammers and/or authorities to your mailing list? This stuff CAN happen to you, and HAS happened to many others! Using confirmed opt-in takes care of these problems for you, now and forever, AUTOMATICALLY!


3)    Avoiding the “spammer” label – What happens when subscribers complain about your emails and send spam complaints to your email marketing provider (like GetResponse) or to your ISP? Many providers, like Yahoo, Gmail, AOL or Hotmail, will sometimes ask you to prove that your list consists only of email addresses from subscribers who willingly signed up to receive your messages. In most cases, the only undeniable proof is confirmed opt-in subscriptions. If you can’t provide that, you might be labeled a spammer! We all know that could cause major problems for your business, so better protect your list (and your reputation) beforehand, than pay for it later.


4)    Increasing your email deliverability – A list consisting of verified addresses, and subscribers who are 100% certain they wish to receive your emails, dramatically increases email deliverability. But that’s not all – you get much better open and click ratios and fewer complaints and removals. All these factors improve your reputation as a sender − and your email marketing results.

Clean list -> less complaints and better deliverability -> more sales!

5)    Paying less for your list – When you host your list with GetResponse, you are charged according to your mailing list size (GR pricing). With unconfirmed opt-ins, you’ll always have a fair amount of subscribers that don’t want to stay on your list or cannot receive your emails for some of the reasons we discussed. With the confirmed opt-in model, you won’t be paying for contacts that don’t return revenue, so you save!

Now, what do the unconfirmed opt-in supporters say in their defense?

‘Confirmed opt-in lists lead to reduced revenues.’

It’s a MYTH!

Let’s look at the facts. The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP), GetResponse partners, call it an “illusion”: ‘Any perceived short-term ‘loss’ is more than compensated for by: higher advertising rates, higher acceptance of email, higher response rates and higher conversion rates’ .  In other words, the confirmed opt-in process improves Return on Investment (ROI). By sending to a confirmed list, you have a much higher probability of success. Period!

‘Confirmed opt-in reduces your list.’

Really, what’s the point of keeping a larger mailing list if a significant number of subscribers have no intention of remaining on your list, or the email addresses never existed in the first place? What if they were replaced by high-quality contacts that might actually purchase from you? Now do the math and decide if you can afford to waste time and money on unconfirmed subscribers.

If verification is so important, you might ask –

‘Why is GetResponse making it optional to choose between confirmed and unconfirmed opt-in?’

Email Marketing is always evolving. At the moment, confirmed opt-in is becoming the standard, as more and more experienced and responsible marketers switch from unconfirmed opt-in to confirmed.  But, as with every evolution – individuals need time to experiment and decide for themselves which is the better option.  As we mentioned earlier, there are two sides to this argument and we want to give you the freedom to choose. Let me ask though, after reading this article, which side will you be on?

  • bartek

    Very useful post!

  • David King

    Great post

    Thanks getresponse 🙂


  • Andy

    I would prefer the two options be open so that Marketers can make calculated decision.

    In this age people have short temperate in going through process and all that especially online I think I would like to go with un confirnmed optin

  • Delton

    I have tried both, double optin and single optin. With single optin I built a list of junk email addresses. I also received a lot of Spam through my responder.

    If someone is in such a hurry they can’t take time to click on a link they are too busy to read your mail so it’s best not to have them on your list. Sure it’s great to have thousands on your list but it isn’t worth 2 cents if they don’t open your mail or if the addresses are bogus.

  • Data Quality

    Great points here in this article. Having the person verify their interest makes you know that you are getting a quality reader/customer. I think its worth the extra step to make sure that you are getting quality potential clients.

  • Khondoker Aminul Islam

    Thanks for the tips. It was needed. I can build my email campaign more effectively now.

  • Pingback: Email Marketing Tips - Blog GetResponse» Blog Archive » Get rid of bounces and complaints!()

  • I have watched this debate for over 12 years as this is how long I have been full time online marketing.

    My view on this, is controversial, I prefer SINGLE opt ins every time.

    The reason being is that I have many times over the years wanted to subscribe to more info at a web site or sending a blank email, then all of a sudden I get distracted, my phone goes, or I have to go out, or more often I am multi tasking looking at many web sites with many browsers open as I have TWO big Screens, so if I have to CONFIRM the optin I often forget what it is for or it goes in my spam & I miss, it, or more often that not I miss it all together. As I get over 1000 emails everyday (most are spam)

    Now there will be lots of other people like me missing out on my content if they missed my double opt in. I pay a lot of money for my advertising & the last thing that I want is to loose valuable leads.

    So these are the reasons why I prefer SINGLE optins

    Thank you for letting me share my viewpoint

  • Piotr Krupa

    Dear Simon,
    We really appreciate your comment. In some respects, we agree, and we were also somewhat surprised at the published stats from last week. But the results are clear.

    We analyzed over 700M mails sent from GetResponse Pro accounts and, according to the results, messages sent from accounts using confirmed opt-in returned 71% higher Open Rates and 66% higher Click Rates than unconfirmed opt-in account messages. And it got better! The number of “undeliverable” messages in accounts where users applied confirmed opt-in had 75% fewer bounces* than accounts where users chose the unconfirmed opt-in option. Moreover, in confirmed opt-in accounts, spam complaints were almost 40% lower! ( http://blog.getresponse.com/double-opt-in-improves-campaign-results-check-out-these-stats-now.html)

    So, we have to conclude from this large sampling that if customers use confirmed opt-in, they should expect improved deliverability, and higher open and click rates, so their email marketing campaigns should be more effective and more successful.

    That’s why we decided to encourage our customers to use confirmed opt-in option in their campaigns.

    GetResponse Team

  • What you are not telling your list owners here is that 50% of the time people do not circle back to their email and click on the confirmation link. This happens because the person really does not understand about the double opt-in process and thinks that by signing up that they have already been added to your list. Or it happens because they get busy and your confirmation list email gets buried under a bunch of spam, they forget about it, and do not confirm even though they were interested. Immediate double opt-in with graphical anti-bot protection works better because the person signs up and confirms all at the same time.

  • I would like to thank all those who have posted their comments here. Your individual experience has helped and encouraged me in ways to market my own amazing network marketing product. I wish you a great business building day.

  • Jeremy

    I would agree double optin is great for lists with ongoing content however there are times when single optin fits the bill. For example, let’s say you offer a free report and in that email you promote another double optin list. Your goal is to use the free report list as a single autoresponder.

    In a case like that there is no point to double optin as your goal isn’t to keep contacting that list. Your main list(s) where you will be send ongoing information is where someone would need to perform double optin.

    So I hope GR doesn’t remove single optins as they have their place along side double optins.

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  • Hi! I’m writing from Italy.

    We are using both, single and double opt-in, depending of the purpose of our marketing campaigns. Single when we offer a free e-book: if we promise our potential client that he/she will get instant access to our knowledge (e-book of any kind, as in Google PPC advertising generated leads), why disturb them with lots of e-mails and clickthroughs? Instead, when the purpose is registration for an event, or registration for the newsletter list (where nothing is offered for free) our potential client/lead is not expecting an immediat reward, therefore double opt-in reinforces affiliation.

  • Timothy

    Thanks for this insightful article. I was worried about all the subscribers that get “lost” (and in fact they do, according to my stats – many who did not confirm, even though they signed up). But I figure if they don’t go through the trouble of confirming, then they’re not interested enough in the first place to qualify as a real prospect.

  • Surely I am not the only one who spots the flaw here?

    Your delivery % might be better but that doesn’t meaning your email is delivered to more people.

    For example 2,000 people signup to your list.

    If Single Opt In you get 2,000 people
    Double Opt In you get 1,000 people

    The Double Opt In list enjoys a 80% delivery rate = 800 people.
    The Single Opt in list enjoys a 50% delivery rate = 1000 people.

  • Anna Rafferty

    What is one to do when a sponsor tells one to uncheck all boxes on the Opt-in form? Because, it will congest the processes they already have in place for all the necessary set up on their end. They pay the commissions for the orders which I market through my campaigns?

  • This isn’t true for all lists. My list is 12-24 and 80% of the time they do not go back and check their emails. After a year of double opt-ins I have gone back and switched to single opt-in, which is better for this low attention span list I have. Thanks

  • Ken Cotter

    Hi, Ken Cotter here and I must admit I did not realize that GetResponse offered the option to use either Unconfirmed or Confirmed Opt-In email lists until I read the above article. I feel that if I am sending out a free offer single optin should be sufficient. With any luck I should gain quite a few honest subscribers if what I have to offer is worthwhile.

  • max bellasys

    Most people who run websites (or the developers) have an agenda and fit the terms to match. Some people decide they want single, or some decide they want double. This is really important to have the choice.

    Having said that, I always implement double-opt in and it becomes a function of the level of the client’s commitment or intent. Yet I am sending the confirmation mail from my server and so GR is out of the loop when it comes to that step. To GR it looks like all the clients are unconfirmed 🙁 I may have to review that process going forward, but I can’t integrate GR with my site the way it needs to be to achieve the results I want.

    I would like to see some means of indicating “proof” of double-opt-in from 3rd party since all my client’s GR subscribers ARE double-opts but they have confirmed using the native mailhost. The least thing the client or end user will do is confirm their opt-in, and it is something we require for most of the reasons listed above- on the bottom line our list is a qualified list, and tends to separate buyers and action-takers from useless hangers-on. This model doesn’t serve everyone however…

    The debate itself between two potential methods is pointless – it’s only important that the choice is possible.

  • Dan ewah

    Nice thinking Darren; i’m with you on this

  • Steve O’Connor

    You should never make assumptions in Internet marketing – there is no diffinitive answer. Test both single and double opt-in and see which works best for your business model. Be thankful that GR give us the ability to do both.

  • Eze John

    i dont agree with this though

  • KatarzynaPietka

    Of course, everyone has their own point of view on single and double op-tin. However, would you care to tell us what exactly is that you don’t agree with in the post?

  • The conclusion is single opt-in give you more money because there are more people on your list. But double opt-in give you quality list which isn’t important if you care about money the most.