When I receive spam email, I do what most people to; I press delete and move on.
However, there is another type of email, which most people also call spam. It is the poorly targeted message from a legitimate and viable company. When I receive these, I respond as a responsible Netizen (a “citizen” of the ‘Net) and attempt to remove myself from their mailing list. Usually this is by following their unsubscribe link or possibly by replying to their message and asking to be removed. Most are happy to comply.
Today, when unsubscribing from an unwanted message, I encountered something new. I would call it a “double opt-out.”
I unsubscribed as normal, but I wasn’t finished. I then received a follow-up email message confirming my request to opt-out. I needed to reply to the message in order to complete my request. Failing to do so would allow my name to remain in their mailing list.
Some companies use a double opt-in process. In this case, when a person signs up for an email list, they are sent a confirmation message, to which they must reply in order to complete the sign up process. Most people, myself included, don’t like the double opt-in process, as it is time consuming and cumbersome. With double opt-in, there is also a high percentage of people who complete step one, but fail to respond to step two and therefore are not subscribed.
Double opt-out, is even more annoying, as I never wanted the message in the first place.
I suspect that companies that employ double opt-out, do so to comply with the legal requirement for letting people remove their names, but want to make it hard enough that many will be unsuccessful.
Although annoying, double opt-in is viewed by many as the most ethical way of gathering email address. Conversely, I classify double opt-out as unethical and unacceptable.