In a form, if users had to check a checkbox to receive further marketing emails but couldn't continue the transaction unless they checked it, what do you think the drop out rate would be? Does anyone have any data on this? This kind of behaviour is effectively forcing opt-in to continue a transaction.

p.s. I completely disagree with this, but I want some data to back up my argument that it's not a good route to go.

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    "Forcing opt-in" is an oxymoron, isn't it? Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 13:32
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    Aside from drop out rate, I would question if people who do continue would use fake emails or emails specifically for collecting marketing spam that they don't want in their main inbox.
    – Chromarush
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 13:58
  • @KenMohnkern Yeah, I've been thinking that! Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 14:03
  • @Chromarush I suspected that would be the case as well. Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 14:03
  • Just been trying to find any examples of data on this. Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 14:04

3 Answers 3


Today, under GDPR this would be problematic to say the least. Under the new regulation, freely given consent must be guaranteed, and that's not the case when there's an element of compulsion.

From their guidelines:

Freely given consent implies real choice and is especially difficult or impossible when there is an imbalance between controller and data subject, when consent is conditional, when several purposes for processing are bundled, need to be separated and require consent for each purpose, and in case of detriment.


Empirically, think of this as a wall. People hate walls. Here is Norman Nielsen's tiresome attempt to explain how bad walls are (in the case of an analogous world of log-in screen). https://www.nngroup.com/articles/login-walls/

But I do just want to take a moment ask, why do you have to get consent to send emails? What business are you in that marketing mails are deemed more valuable than a site transaction? That just seems crazy to me! A site needs to be all about conversion and removing roadblocks like the one you're mentioning. So...if they give you their email address, can't you just send them emails? You don't need a checkbox in addition to that. The email input field is the consent.

Unless you're doing this in a country where it is illegal to send email marketing to users or something, you could just send them email. Honestly, I expect that when I sign up for something that I will start being opted in to emails...and I could always opt out/unsubscribe if I want. The added checkbox that "forces" them to check it, is just silly at that point.

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    Legally, (at least where I am writing from in the UK) what you are talking about is "implied consent" versus "explicit consent". You may have added your email address to make sure you're notified when something changes on your account but that doesn't mean you're happy to receive a barrage of marketing junk that makes you inbox impossible to manage. Even just from a CX point of view, forgetting the legallities, users should be able to make an informed decision about how their data will be used. Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 9:38
  • Yes - it is tedious to have to go and unsubscribe from an email you've been added into. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 10:02

If someone gives you their email address for registration purposes, that is not consent to be spammed with an unwanted mailing list.

They only want to be on a mailing list if they explicitly say they want to be on it.

As this article, 6 Ways To Improve Your Customers’ Email Opt-in Experience, says:

…if you don’t know what makes your company awesome and worthy of being given access to the sacred space of inbox, then it’s highly likely your customers won’t either.

So if you have a registration page for some other purpose than registering for a mailing list, make sure they can opt-in to the mailing list, and explain the benefits of doing so, but don't be sneaky. People hate sneaky marketing tactics.

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