Opt-in Ancedata!

I love anecdotal data, especially when it "proves my point".

Yesterday on the weekly #privchat a few folks were discussing opt-in vs. opt-out and throwing around hypothetical arguments. For example, Berin Szoka (@BerinSzoka) put forward that if you made web analytics opt-in it would kill the statistical validity. Others were saying opt-in is 100% the way to go, all the time. Jim Adler (@jim_adler) provided, what I think, is the best point of the conversation, "Opt-in or opt-out absolutism seems to deny the use-case nuance."

I support an opt-in position for most use-cases; however, I agree with Jim that there are nuances that may make opt-out the better solution. While wandering the wilds of the internet, I found a great piece of anecdotal data supporting my positive view of opt-in:

Yesterday -- probably while #privchat was happening -- comedian Louis CK participated in an "Ask me Anything" event on http://www.reddit.com. In it, a user asks what Louis CK is current learning. As part of his response, Louis CK details how offering something as tiny as an opt-in mailing list has generated a lot of positive feelings. Other reddit users respond in with similar sentiments. The last line in the image below is very telling: "I checked opt-in just because I appreciate it was defaulted opt-out."

I would love for Louis CK to publish the numbers of those who opted-in to the mailing list vs. the total number purchases. Perhaps I will send him an e-mail...

The image below is a capture of the relevant section of the larger AMA, which can be found here: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/n9tef/hi_im_louis_ck_and_this_is_a_thing/.

If your unfamiliar with reddit or Louis CK, I should probably give a warning that the image below contains not safe for work language.