Double Opt-in is fine, but DOUBLE OPT-OUT?! Geeesh”…

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To keep up to date on the latest techniques and information (and to spy on the conversion and marketing processes of others) I subscribe to a TON of newsletters, ezines and mailing lists.

Well, from time to time (to keep my inbox borderline manageable) I go through and unsubscribe from any lists that are not sending quality information.

I just got this response when I clicked the unsubscribe link in an email from one such list:

Your email address ‘’ has been submitted to be unsubscribed from the ‘webnetlist’ mailing list.

This unsubscribe command requires your confirmation that you want to be unsubscribed.

To confirm that you do want to unsubscribe, reply to this message so that the words “ok 4885157” appear somewhere on the subject line.

Make sure that your reply message is addressed to

You will receive notification that your confirmation has been received, and that you have been unsubscribed.

If you do not want to unsubscribe, do nothing. You will be kept on the mailing list.

This is a fairly new trend in email marketing called “double opt-out”. And it is being increasingly used by overly aggressive email marketers and borderline spammers.

SIDENOTE: Don’t even bother clicking on the unsubscribe links in actual spam messages, because 90% of the time that will actually get you MORE spam.

The dirtiest spammers use these unsubscribe links to verify that they have actually reached a real, active email address. So you are just confirming to them that, if they send more spam to your address somebody will see it!

Unfortunately I have seen this trend towards double opt-out coming for a while now, and it is even being used and promoted by a few companies and consultants who should defiantly know better.

Of course the proponents of this method will tell you that they use it to “protect” subscribers from accidentally opting out.

But in reality, they are just hoping you don’t see the opt-out confirmation email and stay on their list a bit longer. It’s simply a black hat (okay maybe grey hat), lead retention tactic.

The real problem here (other than it being damn annoying…) is that it can only be hurting the marketers that use it.

The first problem is obvious… These guys are just asking for spam complaints from people who think they opt-ed out and then get more email from that marketer.

But the second problem is what really hurts the marketers who use this tactic…

The foundation of effective email marketing is building trust and relationships with your subscribers. So, using double opt-out will actually lower the responsiveness of your list!

Think about it… Why are the double opt-out users trying to keep these subscribers on the list after they ask to leave?

Simple. They hope to get a handful of extra sales from the additional messages they can send to the folks who don’t notice the confirmation email.

The problem is… If these people clicked on your unsubscribe link, they were not going to buy from you anyway! They are simply not a qualified prospect for your products or services.

So what’s the point of keeping them on your list?

All you will get (in addition to spam complaints) is:

  • Lower open rates.
  • Lower click-through rates.
  • Lower conversion rates.
  • Loss of trust and credibility.

Don’t fall for the trap and get on the “double opt-out” bandwagon. In the quest for a short-term retention of subscribers, you will simply destroy your long-term credibility, trust and response rates.

I’ll take a list of 1,000 highly targeted subscribers who I have a great relationship with and who look forward to my emails, over a list of 100,000 angry people who clicked on my unsubscribe link any day of the week!

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About the Author

Eric Graham is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, copywriter and consultant. Enter your name and email address below to get notified when new response boosting tips, tested conversion strategies, updates, articles and videos are posted.

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