The Efficacy of Default Opt-in Boxes

By Deane Barker on January 30, 2007

Here’s a statistic for you —

We did a contest entry form for a client. After all the entry information was an infamous “Please contact me with offers and information…” checkbox. It was checked by default.

We just tabulated the results. People unchecked the box exactly 75% of the time. That’s actually less than I thought.



  1. This would actually be illegal in Germany.

    How do you define “in Germany”? The site is located on a server in Germany? It’s viewed on a computer in Germany?

  2. Well, I wish I had a definite answer to this. Consensus seems to be that if the person/entity responsible of the site is governed by German law. In my case I am running two sites: one .de with German and English content – the latter for a worldwide audience, and a .com targeting the US only. The server – as well as the company I work for – are located in Germany. While it is clear that I have to abide to German regulations for the German part of the .de site, I already wonder if this applies for the English part too. And I am completely at a loss regarding the .com site.

    Unfortunately we have an ugly thing in Germany called “dissuasion”, which basically means that almost ANYBODY can send you a cease & desist if you violate any regulations, and that they can charge you heavily for it. As often with bureaucracy this is a well meant tool but heavily abused lately. So I opted for safety and followed German regulations even for the US-centric .com site.

    Drop me an email if you want to know more.

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