Opt-in without opting out


with the new laws on GDPR coming into force in the uk very soon i am hoping someone can answer this...

I have a form for signing up for an event. I want to add a tick box that says 'please also add me to the enews list'. (they don't have to tick this it's only if they want the enews as well)

My colleague is saying that if they don't tick it but they are already signed up for our enews then that is considered an opt out and overrides any previous enews optin so we have to remove them.

I am arguing that they are only being given the option to be added or remain in whatever state they were previously, so by not ticking we don't have to do anything if they are already receiving our enews.

does anyone know which is correct and can you provide a source.

many thanks


Just looking at this from the point of view of a visitor, if I were already signed up to your newsletter, I wouldn't bother ticking a box saying "please also add me to the enews list", as I'm already on it.

Amnesty International have a good system (I think) on their petition pages. There's a question along the lines of "Would you like to receive email updates?" and then Yes/No radio buttons. There is also an explanation that checking "No" will unsubscribe you from their email list. So it's quite clear what action you need to take, and what the results will be.

So maybe saying "Not already a subscriber?" or something similar before the "please also add me to the enews list" would make it clear it's only aimed at new sign-ups and existing recipients can continue to unsubscribe, if they wish, via your usual mechanism.


that's the same system i put in place previously, with yes/no and a warning. It's just a bit clunky as the user has to make more decisions and if they get it wrong we would have to remove them (which we did in the past with some people we know didn't actually want to be removed as we knew them personally).

I like the idea of "Not already a subscriber?" as it is clear it only applies to those people who are not subscribed.

all our emails have an unsubscribe option anyway.

If i could just find a definitive source ICO, DMA or suchlike that say it is ok to word/work like that i'd be set.



I guess it's OK, so long as the option makes it clear what the result will be (rather than anything ambiguous) and you have as you say you have an opt out in every mail.
[disclaimer] Though I'm no expert on this.'[/disclaimer]

Just pleased to know I'm not alone in leaving this stuff to the last minute. :lol:


oh this arguement has been raging for about 2 years so, i've just picked it up again as i want to use it like this on my pages and our Data Manager is of the opposite opinion.

but yeah the rest of our data cleanup for gdpr i think will be happening at 23:59:59 :slight_smile:


We were handed anti-spam legislation here in Canada about 2 years ago, and it was very clearly stated that people had to expressly consent to being signed up for a newsletter, and everybody had to contact all their old 'subscribers' and have them also make an express consent to opt in, to comply with the new laws. A passive 'if I don't opt out, it means I'm in' was not an option.

I don't know if it is the same with the GDPR, but you might want to be careful here. It's better to be safe than sorry.


yeah it's definitely not a case of being opted in if you don't tick the box to opt out. Like the good old days :wink:

This is a bit odd as we already have consent to email people but if they sign up and don't tick the opt in box i don't think we have to take that as an unsubscribe as it can be either no or leave it as it is. This is the confusing bit as no example seem to talk about this scenario. I can understand from a completely new user point of view but when you already have them opted in it seems a bit complicated/unknown area.

We will probably take the safe option but if i can find a definitive answer i can do it my way i'll use it


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