I just signed up for a new account on a fairly well known website (which will remain anonymous). A few minutes later: BAM!. My nice, clean inbox gets slammed with the ubiquitous ”Please verify your email address by clicking this link” email. I find that an annoying and archaic practice.
The original motivation of this idea was twofold: (1) the site owner wanted to verify that you were indeed the owner of the email address, and (2) it was a way to keep bots out. The second notion is not relevant in the modern internet. If the only thing keeping a bot from terrorizing your site is a click on an email link, then some hacker will circumvent that with 10 lines of perl script.
It seems that the only purpose these emails serve is to confirm that you are the owner. That’s great, I think we should keep that. But it’s annoying when I get a message that tries to bully me into clicking a link. When I’m checking my email, the last thing I want to do is context switch back to the app.
Here’s my proposed solution (which some sites are already doing):
A better experience is to put the user effort on the edge-cases. Namely, don’t require any action from me if I legitimately signed up. Just send me a nice vanilla welcome email.
In the edge case, where some unauthorized person has signed up using my email, then include some directions at the bottom of the email that instruct me how to deal with the abuse. And an extra benefit: If I have a good experience with your site reporting the abuse, I’ll be more interested to legitimately check out the site.
That’s the end of my rant. Perhaps I’ve missed some obvious reason why the industry still does this.