Ah, the oft-debated opt-in. Some marketers define this term far more loosely than others. So, we asked ReturnPath chief privacy officer Dennis Dayman to provide a reality check:
Instead of “opt-in,” we use the term “express consent” or “explicit consent”—also known as “direct consent.” Express or explicit consent means that an individual is clearly presented with an option to agree or disagree with the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information. This would be a non-prechecked box that requires the user to click a box to get, say, an email. Express consent is not a prechecked box or an “express” route to obtaining consent; it’s the opposite.
There’s also the misuse of double opt-in. Marketers often think that this is both a checkbox and a link-clicking action that occurs when the email confirmation arrives. In reality, the “double” refers to the action of the email being sent as a way to verify whether an email address is good and whether a subscriber is who he says he is by clicking on an in-message link. A “single opt-in” in reference to email marketing refers to a sign-up process in which a user does not need to confirm that she signed up; once a user enters her email into the sign-up or join box, the email address is instantly added to a company’s email list and the new subscriber starts receiving emails from that business.
A double opt-in email sign-up requires users to confirm that they have actively joined your email list. This is typically done by sending an email to users after they sign up. That email then requires users to click a link in the email to confirm that they’re the owners of the email address and want to receive emails from you. This process eliminates many of the “bad” email addresses that get entered into a system (e.g., typos or incorrect email addresses) and protects against instances where somebody may be taking “revenge” on another person by using their email address to sign up for numerous email marketing lists.