The MailChimp Opt-In Reversal and You

Welp, go figure. Just a few months after we wrote about embracing the double opt-in for email lists after switching to MailChimp, they’ve done an about-face on their opt-in policy and made all of their forms single opt-in by default.

Looking at the reaction from the MailChimp community, it seems to be a controversial move, especially since MailChimp has spent years trying to convince people that double opt-in is the one true way. Personally, I’m for it. While I believe that double opt-in is still a much more secure way of doing things, and leads to higher-quality leads, I also think having a choice to do things the way you want is better. There are certainly instances where a single opt-in, which requires no more input from the user once they enter their information the first time, leads to a much smoother user experience.

However, rather than let you make that choice on your own time, MailChimp has decided to convert all of its forms to the single opt-in unless you go in and tell it not to. They started this process early last week, but it wasn’t live for everyone until last Friday. If you’ve been using double opt-in on any of your Mailchimp forms, and you don’t want them to become single opt-in, you’ll need to take action to make sure they continue to operate as intended. Stick around, and I’ll walk you through it.

Decisions, Decisions

How do you know if you should keep using double opt-in or move to single opt-in? Originally, it looked like single opt-in forms would lose the ability to use thank-you emails and pages, but thankfully (heh) that isn’t true. Single opt-ins can still be redirected to a thank-you page on success, and you can still send a final “Welcome” email, which you could use for product delivery or any other message you were sending with your double opt-in email.

What this means is the decision really comes down to user experience vs list quality. Do you want the customer to have as simple an on-boarding process as possible, or do want to make sure that your list is secure and has as high-quality email addresses on it as possible? If you want better UX, go single. If you want a better list, go double.

Check the Boxes

MailChimp has created a page where you can make this choice for all of your lists at the same time, though strangely they have not added it to their site navigation, so finding it isn’t that easy. You can click the link I included to get there, and once there, you’ll see all of your lists next to a checkbox. Check the ones you want to be double opt-in and uncheck all the ones you want to be single opt-in.

MailChimp did make it relatively easy to change the opt-in status for individual lists, so if you want to do a single one, click the little down arrow next to a list on the main Lists page, and then click settings. Finally, click “List name & defaults” and toggle the Double Opt-In option on.

Check Your Settings

If you are moving from double opt-in to single, but still intending to use an email or thank-you page, you’ll need to go in and make sure your delivery settings are set the way you want. If you weren’t using the final welcome email as your delivery email, you’ll need to update that, and also make sure that the correct page is set for the confirmation thank-you.

If you were using a third-party form solution like Gravity Forms with a MailChimp integration instead of the default code from MailChimp, and it was set to double opt-in, then you’ll also need to switch it to single there are well. If not, then that form will continue to deliver the double opt-in experience, even if you set everything to single on the MailChimp side.

Once you’ve done all of these things you should be set. Even though it’s slightly annoying to have to jump in and do this stuff because of something MailChimp decided to do, it’s worth it to have the choice between single and double opt-ins now, and they’re still my fave email service out there. Want to stay up-to-date on the latest updates and changes? Sign up for our newsletter!

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