The double opt-in process comes from the field of online marketing or, more precisely, from the field of e-mail marketing. The double opt-in process allows advertising to be sent to a potential customer without going beyond the scope of legality.
In the double opt-in process, the subscriber to a newsletter must confirm his or her entry in the company’s subscriber list (single opt-in). To do this, the subscriber is sent a confirmation message by e-mail in which the customer must give his or her consent to receive the newsletter (double opt-in). As a rule, the subscriber must click on a link to do this. Only after this confirmation is the company entitled to send the subscriber advertising material.
If the subscriber does not confirm the request via the link, the advertising company may not include the subscriber in its address list.
The double opt-in procedure is now the most common procedure in direct marketing and is also used by most companies in this way to generate addresses.
The advantages of double opt-in
The double opt-in procedure serves primarily as a protective measure against unwanted entries in the registration form by third parties. Only when the subscriber authenticates his or her will to receive advertising or newsletters may the advertising be sent to him or her.
But the senders also have advantages from the double opt-in. Since the recipient must first give his consent, the senders can be relatively sure that the address data entered is correct and that the subscriber actually has a potential interest in the advertising measure. The double opt-in process thus represents a high-quality lead generation tool and goes qualitatively beyond mere contact acquisition.
The disadvantages of the double opt-in
The double opt-in process has the disadvantage that the confirmation process by the prospect involves work. It can happen that the recipient forgets to click on the confirmation link or that the effort seems too great to him and he therefore refrains from participating in the newsletter program. It can also happen that a recipient does not understand the subscription process correctly. To prevent this, the procedure should be briefly explained to the subscriber during registration.
Which legal circumstances must be taken into account?
In case law, newsletters are classified as advertising, which is why senders must obtain an unambiguous declaration of consent from the recipient. For a long time, the question of what is permitted and what is not was insufficiently clarified. In 2012, the Munich Higher Regional Court ruled that emails sent for confirmation should be classified as spam. This would have meant the end for the double opt-in. But the court also ruled that the double opt-in process is permissible under certain conditions.
In order for the recipient’s consent to be clearly proven, senders must document the recipient’s specific declaration of consent.
This means nothing other than that the senders of newsletters must precisely log the registration process and store it in their database.
The data that must be stored includes:
– The time of registration
– The IP address of the person subscribing to the newsletter
– The IP address of the person clicking the confirmation link
– The time of the confirmation
– The content of the confirmation e-mail
However, since the courts are always dealing with this issue, it is always worth keeping your eyes open so that you do not fall foul of the law.