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It's fairly common for websites to send an activation email to new users, with a link or code for them to use to confirm that they do in fact own the email address they used to sign up.

This has issues, however. Most commonly, spam filters. And then there's some email providers that don't even have a spam folder, and just silently delete things...

But what if instead, the website requested for you to send an email to them? A handy mailto:activate@example.com?subject=CODE_HERE link can be provided so all a user has to do is hit Send.

This bypasses all the issues of spam filters "eating" the activation email, and the only downside I can really see is that people are used to activation emails so flipping the whole process around could be confusing.

Has anyone done this, or considered this, before? Am I on to something, or should I just stick with what everyone else does, despite its flaws?

  • the association between "mailto" and an e-mail account is becoming increasingly rare as people typically use a web mail client – Swisstone Jul 14 at 11:32
  • That's a fair point. Of course there'd be "manual" instructions provided, the mailto: would be a convenience for anyone who still uses desktop clients. – Niet the Dark Absol Jul 14 at 11:53
  • If some Email servers consider Emails from your web site as spam, why do you expect that will stop consider it as spam after user is registered? – mentallurg Jul 14 at 12:24
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This would be a bad approach.

Do you know why web sites send a confirmation Email to the user? Because everyone can send an Email and specify any Email address in the fields "From" and "Reply-To". For instance, you can set the Email addresses of your boss or of your colleagues to these fields and would be able to sign up your boss or your colleagues to Anonymous Alcoholics or some other sites without these people even knowing about that.

That's why web sites send a link to the specified Email. They are sure that only the owner of this Email address can click on the link and thus they are sure that this user really desired this registration.

Using "mailto" does not change anything. It is only a shortcut for launching Email client manually and creating new message. It does not prevent users from setting fields "From" and "Reply-To" to any values they want. That's why your approach is bad.

  • Ah, see, I knew there was a reason nobody did this. I just couldn't put my finger on it. Thank you. – Niet the Dark Absol Jul 14 at 12:43
  • OK :) Then please mark this answer as useful (arrow up). – mentallurg Jul 14 at 12:46

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