Permission Email Is Going Strong at 30 Years, Launched by Double Opt-In Invention in LISTSERV®

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L-Soft marks the 30th anniversary of the world's first email subscription confirmation technology, called double opt-in or confirmed opt-in. Permission email began with this revolutionary innovation, which debuted in LISTSERV email list management software in 1993. Both double opt-in and LISTSERV itself are inventions of L-Soft Founder and CEO Eric Thomas. Double opt-in requires people to actively sign up to an email list and then to explicitly confirm their subscription, on their terms.

Permission Email Going Strong at 30, Launched by Double Opt-In Invention in LISTSERV(R)

“Respect your subscribers and build trust by giving them full control and only sending email messages that they have explicitly requested via double opt-in. This benefits your sender reputation, subscriber relationships, communications and results.” - Outi Tuomaala, L-Soft Executive VP

Every day, people actively subscribe to email groups, newsletters and marketing campaigns on their own terms thanks to the world's first subscription confirmation feature, called double opt-in or confirmed opt-in, originally implemented in LISTSERV software. With this groundbreaking innovation, which turns 30 today, people sign up themselves and then also explicitly confirm their subscription to receive messages from their selected email group, newsletter or email marketing campaign, on the subscriber's terms. Double opt-in, which was released in the March 1993 version of LISTSERV email list management software, and LISTSERV itself were invented by Eric Thomas, L-Soft Founder and CEO. The double opt-in function continues to bolster consent and safeguard email list subscribers worldwide.

How Double Opt-In Works:
1. Person subscribes to sender's email communications
2. Sender sends confirmation link
3. Person confirms subscription by clicking link

Why Double Opt-In is Important:
1. Builds trust with subscribers, improves engagement, reduces complaints and unsubscribes
2. Verifies explicit consent as required by GDPR and other data and privacy regulations
3. Improves deliverability and sender reputation by ensuring valid and active email addresses

Did You Know? Although spam continues to decline, unwanted messages still arise, and even familiar senders may get false spam alerts if not using subscriber best practices.

“Respect your subscribers and build trust by giving them full control and only sending email messages that they have explicitly requested via double opt-in,” said Outi Tuomaala, L-Soft Executive VP. “This ultimately benefits your sender reputation, subscriber relationships and, in turn, your communications and results.”

Ensure subscribers’ consent, even if not legally required:

  • Ask for explicit consent, don't assume it
  • State the purpose of your email list and deliver what you promise
  • Use confirmed opt-in/double opt-in to ensure subscribers actively confirm subscription requests

Tip: While it’s not mandatory for all email communications, for example, a transactional email or a message in the context of an existing business relationship, it’s a safer and better practice to ensure that recipients have confirmed they want to receive your communications. It doesn’t cost you anything and helps you establish a positive relationship with customers and minimize the risk of complaints or unsubscribes.

The path to permission email:
2023: Double opt-in subscription confirmation remains the industry best practice for email groups, newsletters and email marketing communications

2018: The EU GDPR requires explicit and verifiable consent before sending email communications, ushering in new global data privacy laws and practices

1999: Seth Godin coins the term "Permission Marketing"1993: Email subscription confirmation/double opt-in is added to LISTSERV software, a first

1986: Eric Thomas invents LISTSERV, the first software to automate email list management, starting email group communication as we know it today

About L-Soft
L-Soft is the exclusive provider of LISTSERV® email list technology and the LISTSERV® Maestro email marketing platform for global digital communications. Organizations across all sectors rely on L-Soft's permission email solutions to manage email newsletters, announcement lists, discussion groups and email communities. Invented by L-Soft Founder and CEO Eric Thomas in 1986, LISTSERV pioneered automated email list management and remains the de facto industry standard.

L-Soft Press Contact
Susan Brown Faghani
1-301-731-0440, Ext 4

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Susan Brown Faghani
1 3017310440 Ext: 4
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