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ROI Topic: The Importance of Opt-in Data

Perhaps contrary to your expectation, the explanation of this topic will demonstrate that opt-in data is now a non-essential concern for customers and mainly irrelevant in terms of both the rule of law and the impact of an opt-in list.

There are several variations to opt-in that need to be mentioned: opt-in, double opt-in, opt-out, permission and permissible. Sorry for the confusion but the terms are often misunderstood and erroneously used interchangeably in communications by data providers sometimes.


Opt-in means that the data was sourced by the express permission of the contact name at some point. However, most data providers are several sources away from the original source, making it irrelevant from an actual permission standpoint. The original source may have been from a tradeshow, event, conference, or web site portal, then gathered and sold and resold and resold to numerous data partners, resellers and brokers to the point where it doesn’t matter anymore. The customer will never remember where they opted in, and the data provider is not the original recipient source of the opt-in anyway, and will not have written, verifiable proof of the original opt-in source, so what is the point? Beyond that, opt-in is not a requirement for the US Can Spam law. That’s right. Let me say that again. Opt-in data is not a requirement for the US Can Spam law. It sounds nice but is not required, and as just explained, has little if any value. Many data providers maybe say that they have opt-in data but few if any actually do.

Double opt-in is rarer and means that a vendor claims they have the original source of the data where the recipient opted-in, and then the vendor also ran their own opt-in and collected permission for emailing. You can imagine that this process drastically reduces the filter selections and quantity of any such database. But even so, once you buy the data, the names on the list are not opted in for your company anyway and may still react just as though you sent them an unsolicited email. Of course this data has a higher cost as well; if you can be convinced their process is actually as just described.


Some data providers pull your list from their master database and run an opt-out campaign prior to delivery to you. This is a good practice but it increases the cost of the data due to labor resources, but again, they are not opted in for your company anyway. It does weed out some of the more emotional recipients perhaps, but ultimately may just drive your cost out without any impact in results for you. In essence, this is no different than unsolicited emailing but more costly.


This term typically applies to a customer relationship. If you have permission to use their email, or even if not, customer permission is mainly implied for email use, at least in the United States. The term is often confused with Opt-in but is different because the permission mentioned here is directly between your customer and your company.


This term can be used synonymously with opt-out. If someone does not opt-out when you email them or what a data provider emails them, it is in essence their implied consent, otherwise they would have opted out. Of course many recipients ignore emails in their inbox anyway and will not know their silence yielded consent to email, so this is really no different than opt-out and really no distinguishable difference from unsolicited emailing.

About ROI Outsourcing LLC

ROI is a data services and telemarketing provider with numerous global data sources and offices in the US and India. Collectively ROI has 55 years of experience in marketing, sales, management and business development, 15 years marketing data services, and 12 years previously marketing our own email marketing solution. Please visit our web site at http://www.roioutsourcing.com or call us at +1-678-745-8385.

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