MailChimp has clarified its policy regarding opt-in to email lists.
The email service firm said last week that it is rolling out a single opt-in for new lists and some old ones, as it says many of its competitors have done, making it the default setting,
But it backtracked this week — in part — following a reaction in Europe.
MailChimp received “a lot of feedback from EU customers who told us that single opt-in does not align with their business needs in light of the upcoming GDPR and other local requirements,” it says in a blog post posted earlier this week.
So the company decided that “if your primary contact address is in the EU, your existing forms will remain opt-in.”
It adds: “We heard you, and we’re sorry that we caused confusion.”
Why would MailChimp switch to single opt-in when double opt-in has been hailed as the best practice?
Because double no longer works, it says. Double opt-in rates within MailChimp have “slipped to 39%,” the blog post says. “This means 61% of people do not finish the double opt-in process.”
That’s why ecommerce clients are asking for a single opt-in.
MailChimp notes that consumers no longer expect a double-opt in — they have become “re-educated on how email marketing confirmation works. Today, most people don’t expect or look for a double opt-in confirmation message when they subscribe to a newsletter.”
That is surely true, although privacy advocates will no doubt deplore this industry trend. As MailChimp describes it, the double opt-in consists of these steps, which ensure that the email address is valid:
In contrast, single opt-in is almost like a negative option. Sign up, place an order and by doing so you have agreed to receive emails from the firm.
As MailChimp explains it: "a contact fills out your signup form, clicks submit, and their information is saved to a list. Behind the scenes, the form saves important information like the contact's IP address and the date and time they signed up."
Granted, some of those email addresses may be “misspellings, misdirected forum spam bots, or other problematic subscriptions,” it says.
But it adds that “after analysis by our own data scientists, we discovered that the overwhelming majority of those who don’t complete the double opt-in process are legitimate subscribers who no longer anticipate the confirmation message.”
The firm will continue to support double opt-in, but "we’re shifting the behavior of native forms in MailChimp to default to single opt-in."
All this makes business sense. But if double opt-in is feeding the abandoned cart syndrome, aren’t European companies going to suffer under GDPR? We’ll find out next May.