There’s a great post over on the AOL Postmaster blog talking about sending wanted mail versus sending mail to people who have grudgingly given permission to receive it.
Engagement comes when users REQUEST mail, not just concede to receive it. [...] Bottom line… Permission isn’t enough. Our best practices document says “Ensure that you are only sending mail to users who specifically requested it.” Look at your opt-in process. Are people really requesting your mail? If not, I’d bet you aren’t seeing the inbox delivery you’d like to see.
Requiring folks to give addresses in order to see content and get into restricted places on a website does not make for an engaged group of recipients. Many senders started doing this to force folks who didn’t want mail from the sender to give them an address. It was “permission” after a fashion. This kind of permission does come with low complaint rates, but low complaints are no longer sufficient for good, inbox delivery.
Engaged recipients come from sending mail recipients actually want to receive. If recipients feel coerced into submitting their email address, they are not actually asking for that mail and they don’t really want it. They are unengaged. Lack of engagement hurts reputation and delivery.