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Andy Brice
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Bingo Card Creator

Email confirmation of new trial accounts

At this point, I've been in business with my web app for about two months.  I now have a user database with ~75 users in it that signed up for trial accounts, and even a few paying customers :|

I require new users to verify their email addresses before being able to access the application (standard automated link/token sent to the email).  Of the 75 trial sign-ups I've noticed that only about 45 or so users that completed the trial sign-up form went on to verify their email address (so they could actually, you know, try out the app).

I'm wondering, does this seem normal?  It could be the verification is working as intended and filtering out a lot of fake email addresses and not-really-interested users, but losing almost a third of my trial users between sign-up and verification seems a little odd to me.

I get the occasional bounce from a mail server (no such user, etc.) but not enough to account for what I'm seeing.  I'm wondering if email verification is costing me potential sales and if it's more trouble than it's worth?
James A. Send private email
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
I can't answer that question but I'm very interested in what the answer is...

Let's try signing up... OK, the first thing, after signing up you need a clearer message that a confirmation email has been sent. I'm seeing:

"The fast, easy way to keep your homeschool organized"

Only because I was looking for it did I spot the text about the email at the top in the blue strip.

Let's look at the email..  Well I gave you my name, yet you address me as my email address?

Also I was, again, looking for it, so opened the email. Would I have opened an email I came across later, with the heading "Confirmation instructions"? Maybe - or maybe I'd just bin it.

Try changing the subject heading to

"Rhino SchoolTracker Confirmation"

(many clients only show the first 25 characters but that's still enough)

In summary, they might not realize they're getting an email and when they do they might not realize it's from you. Those are your 2 main issues. And address them by their name, not their email.

Hope that helps :)

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Thursday, April 04, 2013
I've personally stopped asking new/potential clients to confirm their email address for various reasons:

-some might not receive the email (sent to junk folder for example)
-some might not realize/understand  that they have to do something with the email.
-some might not give their correct email address

but more importantly it’s an extra step for them. Think about it: you want them to confirm their email address to filter out the fake registrations. Why should genuine clients bear the pain? YOU should bear the pain. Not them.

I don't ask potential clients to confirm their email address. Instead I check all the new registrations automatically (it's easy to spot the fake ones: first name=last name, etc).

I've also put an invisible field in the registration form. A human being would not see it and therefore not put anything in it. If that field has been populated then I know it was filled in by a bot.

I also checked  (with javascript) how long it took for the registration form to be completed. If it less than 5 seconds then it's likely to be a fake one.

Note that once they have registered, I send  them an email not for confirmation but to thank them for having registered blah blah. This also allows me to check if the email bounces back. If it does, it's likely to be a fake registration.

Hope this helps.

Anthonyb Send private email
Thursday, April 04, 2013
James, that's likely something wrong with your activation system, as AC said, it's not obvious users should check their e-mail and Subject line is not good.

I've checked stats for one web site I have and there's only 6% accounts which were not activated. Your 40% is pretty high IMO.
Kuzmitskiy Dmitry Send private email
Friday, April 05, 2013
Thanks @AC,

I've taken a lot of your suggestions and I'm working on some improvements now.

I've been testing it thoroughly, but I can't seem to "break" it.  Definitely room for some usability improvements, however.
James A. Send private email
Friday, April 05, 2013
1. Require email
2. Some number, let's call it 50%, of visitors leave.
3. Of remaining, some number, let's call it 20%, give a fake email just to get to the next step, and never receive a confirmation email.
4. Of those, some were real email addresses that went to random people.
5. Of those, some number, let's call it 50%, reported the email as spam.
6. Now your company confirmation email account is blacklisted.
Scott Send private email
Tuesday, April 09, 2013

I have been debating whether or not I should be doing this. 

A possible downside to not confirming emails is if a user enters a sham (or even mistyped) email address and then forgets their password.  How do you send them a new one?

That said, I could just turn off the confirmations for a week or two (or a month) and see what happens with my sign up rate.
James A. Send private email
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
How about letting the user use the app for a day or may be just one log in, after which they can continue the trial only if they verify the email address.
Team@QikTester Send private email
Thursday, April 11, 2013

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