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Richard Vohsing

When Is It Okay To Use Single Opt-In?

Nov 12 2013, 06:00 AM by


Let’s face it. If you don’t have a confirmed opt-in list, you are much more likely to hit spam traps, have high bounce rates and low open rates at some point. All around, it’s a risky situation, which is why Benchmark and I are huge advocates of Confirmed Opt-In Lists. You may ask yourself then, why we accept single-opt-in lists, seeing how error prone they can be? Well, while I am not a fan of single-opt-in, it does have a place in the email world, where even single opt-in can be used legitimately.

The most common acceptable use of single-opt in is digital receipts. Many local shops have begun to offer this digital solution to me, and I have embraced it whole-heartedly. Finally, I can drive around town without a small ocean of receipts sloshing around the back seat of my car. Not to mention my smart-inbox which automatically organizes my receipts for me.

Another great use of single-opt-in was one that I recently experienced while attending a convention. One booth I visited had team members walking around answering questions about their new video game. They carried tablets which they would enter email addresses into. After signing up, I received an email giving me more details about the game, as well as links to some resources.

A surprise to me was that the email I received about the game was well setup. It provided some details about the game, and gave links to appropriate resources, but a key feature was that the bottom of the email had a subscription link; a call to action to ask the recipient to confirm their address in order to receive the monthly newsletter about the games development progress. (I signed up for the newsletter in case you were wondering).

Both of these situations have two things in common:

  • When I provided my address, it was in a physical transaction environment, I was physically present at the business/booth, and had to provide my email address verbally to somebody and confirm that the spelling was correct.

  • I was not automatically subscribed to any recurring email blast. Though both emails provided that option, I only chose to subscribe to one as per my interests.


In these cases, there is no need for a double-opt-in process, since the emails are being sent real-time, and only once, there is very little threat of sending emails to a spam-trap, or to a false address. True, you can still have issues such as misspellings, but not so much that there should be major damage to your email reputation. Beyond these types of situations however or whenever you plan on sending more than a single email, it’s better to implement a confirmed opt-in setup. In the end, it will be well worth the extra effort.

Posted in Benchmark Series & Contests, Email Tips

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