We recently had occasion to write down in great deal the exact definitions of the various levels of opt-in when it comes to building email marketing lists or other types of email lists. Because there is some confusion on this, especially where one method of list-building may have more than one name, we thought that we’d share these descriptions and definitions of Confirmed Opt-In (COI), Double Opt-In, Single Opt-In, Opt-In, Transactional, and One-to-One (1-to-1) email with you.
Confirmed Opt-In or Double Opt-In Confirmed Opt-In is also known as “Double Opt-In”. In other words, Confirmed Opt-In and Double Opt-In are the same thing. It is also sometimes referred to as “COI”. Confirmed Opt-In and Double Opt-In consist of i) receiving the email address to be added to the list; ii) quarantining the email address (not adding it to the mailing list); iii) sending a single email to the quarantined email address, which email requires that the owner of the quarantined email address take some affirmative step (such as clicking on a link, replying to the email, or submitting a payment) to confirm that they want their email address added to the list; and iv) if, and only if, the owner of the email address affirmatively confirms that they want their email address added to the mailing list, then the email address is taken out of quarantine and added to the mailing list. Note: Confirmed Opt-In is considered the best practice, or “gold standard”, if you will, and is the one that we most strongly recommend you use.
Single Opt-In Single Opt-In consists of i) receiving an email address that has been submitted by the owner of the email address for inclusion on a mailing list; and ii) adding the email address to the mailing list.
Opt-Out Opt-Out consists of adding an email address to a mailing list regardless of how the email address was acquired, and does not require that the owner of the email address initiate a request to have the email address added to the mailing list, and does not require that the owner of the email address provide permission before the email address is added to the mailing list. Opt-Out is different from and should not be confused with “opt out”, which is understood in the email industries to mean the act of removing one’s email address from a mailing list, or requesting that one’s email address be so removed. Note: Opt-Out is a very bad way to do things, and will always get you in trouble. Opt-Out is spamming.
Transactional or One-to-One Email Transactional Email, also known as “One-to-One Email”, is any single email that i) is sent by an email sender to one single email address or a small number of related email addresses; and b) is substantially unique so as to distinguish it from any other email sent by the email sender; and c) is relevant only to the user(s) at the single email address or small number of related email addresses to which it is sent.