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Mailchimp Goes Against Email Best Practices with Move to Single Opt-in

I was surprised to get an email from Mailchimp today that seemed to go against everything email marketing should be:

Starting October 31, single opt-in will become the default setting for all MailChimp hosted, embedded, and pop-up signup forms. This change will impact all MailChimp users, so here’s everything you need to know:
  • All MailChimp signup forms—including all of your existing forms—will shift from double opt-in to single opt-in. This change will occur automatically; you don’t need to make any manual adjustments within your account.

  • The overall signup process will change: when single opt-in is enabled, the opt-in confirmation emails and the signup thank you page will not be sent or displayed.

  • If you wish to keep your existing forms as double opt-in, you will need to set your preferences here before October 31.

What? Why? When I looked at their Twitter account to see how they were answering that question, they just pointed to this blog post, which explained why they were adding in the single opt-in option, but did not address the real elephant in the room, why make it the default for every single email list out there?

So sure, some people requested that feature. Some people are perfectly OK not actually validating email addresses before they start sending out emails to possibly fake, possibly inaccurate, addresses. Some people are idiots like that. That’s no excuse for making everyone go and turn that option off in order to not have their email list do that. That’s just bad form.

For the record, I’ve already re-enabled double opt-in on my subscriber lists. I’m also very tempted to start spam reporting anyone who doesn’t. After all, you have no proof that I actually signed up for your email list, and based on the number of emails I already get from services I never signed up for who claim that I have an account with them, I think I’d be well within my rights to.

If you use MailChimp, do everyone a favor and go set the option back to double opt-in. Verify that the owner of the email address actually did sign up for your list.

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