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RSS Means Change Your E-Mail Opt-In Model

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The double confirmed opt-in e-mail subscription model has always been the highest industry standard. ClickZ's always been mighty proud to be the only publisher in our niche using it, too.

It's important to stay double-confirmed, but I see a change on the horizon the most ethical e-mails (ourselves included) are going to have to address sooner or later. And sooner is better, right?

After requesting a subscription on the Web site, a subscriber must first reply to an confirmation e-mail from the sender. This ensures the person didn't sign up by mistake, or were subscribed by someone else. In the case of ad-supported publications like ours, it proves our readers really want to receive our newsletters.

Now, thanks to the miracle of RSS, a bunch of early adopters (myself included) are migrating their e-mail subscriptions to their RSS readers.

Example: One of the most popular RSS services is Web-based Bloglines. It enables users to create a unique e-mail address for each subscription (e.g. [email protected]). This helps keep your inbox clear and is a pretty good way to nail mailers who start spamming you or selling their lists to third parties, too.

Yet under this system, I'm unable to subscribe to ClickZ and other publications as my Bloglines address is receive-only. I can't confirm a subscription via e-mail under the subscriber address.

So we're going to look into modifying our double confirmed opt-in model -- without compromising its integrity. Perhaps we should give new subscribers the option of "reply to this e-mail" or "click this link to confirm your subscription."

Any other newsletter publishers out there grappling with this issue yet? My bet is you will be in six months to a year. What changes are your making to your own double opt-in systems?

We'd love to hear input on this issue. I'm moderating a panel on RSS at AdTech SF next month and this is a topic sure to come up.


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