RecChat: Email Updates- 08/17/2023
Introducing Confirmed Opt-In (COI) for RecTrac Email Processing
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Table of Contents
Vermont Systems constantly strives to improve our products and services, recently it has been brought to our attention that clients are struggling with RecTrac emails landing in patron spam folders or worse, going undelivered. Parks & Recreation Departments across the country rely heavily on email communications to provide programming information and updates, critical alerts, confirmations, receipts, and marketing materials. Any disruption to these communication channels can be very costly.
In an effort to align with industry best practice and ensure reliable email deliverability for hosted and on-premise customers alike, RecTrac version 220.127.116.11.00 will implement changes in how email addresses are verified, and how your clients opt-in to receive communications from you. Join us for a special edition RecChat to learn more about the coming changes.
Confirmed Opt-In (COI)
Confirmed Opt-In, or “Double Opt-In” is considered to be the industry gold standard. It is a simple and powerful method of building and maintaining a clean, high-quality email contact list.
How it works:
- A patron provides their email address on your WebTrac site or in person when creating or updating a household account.
- Each email address provided by the patron will receive an immediate verification email with a call-to-action button asking them to verify their email address. The act of clicking the “Verify” button or link in this email will update the patron email address in RecTrac to "Verified".
- The patron will be redirected to a WebTrac page where they can choose to “Subscribe” to receive future communications from you. This is the “Opt-In” part of the confirmed opt-in process.
- Confirmed Opt-In is specific to an email address and not tied directly to a household or member account. The RecTrac system will maintain a single verification and opt-in setting by email address. This means the same email address can be used for multiple households or members and only one verification is required.
- At no point during the Confirmed Opt-In process is a patron required to log into their WebTrac account. This ensures a frictionless verification and opt-in process.
Transactional vs Marketing Email
Transactional Email includes receipts, confirmation emails, installment billing receipts, statements, and other email content necessary to facilitate the completion of a transaction. Transactional emails are sent regardless of email verification and opt-in status.
Marketing Email includes any content that is promotional in nature and is unsolicited by the patron. When it comes to RecTrac this means emails sent directly from the RecConnect program for the purpose of marketing offerings or services.
Some emails sent from the RecConnect program may be classified as transactional so long as the communication is strictly related to a purchase and can reasonably be deemed necessary for successful completion of a transaction or service. An example of this type of communication would be a bulk email specifically to enrolled patrons in a program notifying them of program cancellation. An example that would not qualify as a transactional is a bulk email to All Households in your database stating that all programs at a given location are cancelled due to weather. Because the latter example does not explicitly target individuals enrolled in programs at this location it would be considered spam for recipients that wouldn't be expecting to receive this alert.
How RecConnect works with COI
To conform with industry best practices; the RecConnect program will not send email to unverified email addresses. By default, RecConnect emails will also exclude email addresses that have not opted-in to receive communications from you. The RecConnect Results data grid includes columns displaying the verification and opt-in status of each email address.
For RecConnect emails you deem to be transactional in nature, RecConnect includes a toggle to “Include email addresses that have opted out of marketing emails.” With this setting enabled, Email Addresses that have not opted-in to receive communications will be included in your distribution list. An override warning must be acknowledged when enabling this setting. It is extremely important that senders be cautious and ensure the recipient list and nature of the content meets the criteria of a transactional email before enabling this setting on a RecConnect.
Many clients have adopted a common practice of entering invalid email addresses for patrons who decline to provide an email address. Vermont Systems has created a hard-coded email blacklist to account for this within the application. Emails of a transactional or marketing nature sent to an address matching any of the following syntax checks will automatically be skipped regardless of the .com, .net, etc domain suffix.
Should your organization have a need to enter an invalid email address, it is strongly recommended that you utilize one of the syntaxes referenced above.
- Vermont Systems recommends collecting valid email addresses whenever possible.
- Many automated features of the RecTrac application require a valid patron email address.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the earliest Version of RecTrac that implements Confirmed Opt-In
Confirmed Opt-In is enabled automatically when updating to RecTrac 18.104.22.168.00 or any subsequent version.
What happens to all of the accounts and email addresses we already have on file, do they need to be verified and opt-in for us to continue communicating with them via email?
As part of the RecTrac 22.214.171.124.00 update, household accounts with activity in the past 180 days will have the Primary Email Address linked to the Household, Teams, and Family Members verified and opted-in by default.
What about households that haven't had any activity in the past 180 days, we have patrons that only do business with Parks and Recreation once a year?
The WebTrac Login process now performs an automated check to see if the primary email address on the account has been verified in the past 365 days. If the email address has not been verified, an automated verification email will be sent for the patron to verify and update their opt-in preference.
Will a customer have to go through the verification process before they can perform a transaction on WebTrac?
No, transactional emails such as receipts, tickets, and other confirmation emails will be sent regardless of email verification and opt-in status. This includes guest sales where an email address is collected as part of the purchase process. A future enhancement will address capturing email verification and opt-in status for guest sales to enable marketing to guests based on historical purchase activity.
Can the Verification Email sent by RecTrac also go to a patrons Spam Folder?
Yes, if your emails are currently landing in a patrons Spam Folder then it is possible your verification emails could go to Spam as well. This is not something that is within Vermont Systems control as this is based on your sender reputation with the patrons email provider and any spam filter services they use. The Verification Email is structured in a hard-coded manner using industry best practice to help ensure successful delivery but Vermont Systems cannot guarantee these emails will not be flagged as spam. The best way a client can ensure their emails are received is to follow industry best practices within their control.
Will a patron's email need to be verified and opted-in to receive installment billing receipts and statements?
No, installment billing receipts and statements are deemed transactional in nature and will be sent regardless of the patrons verification and opt-in status.
Can I choose not to implement COI, will this be a setting I can enable/disable?
No, when the 126.96.36.199.00 update is applied to your application COI will be enabled automatically and cannot be turned off.
What happens to scheduled RecConnects, will I need to reschedule these events to ensure the opt-in setting is correct?
Vermont Systems recommends reviewing all scheduled RecConnects following the 188.8.131.52.00 update to ensure you have an accurate recipient list and to ensure the setting for “Include email addresses that have opted out of marketing emails” is correct for the intent of the scheduled RecConnect.
Is there a way to automatically verify and opt-in a group of patrons with no activity in the past 180 days?
No, currently there is no way to proactively opt-in or verify a patron email address if they have not had activity with you in the past 180 days. Vermont Systems is considering enhancements for targeted RecConnects for the explicit purpose of sending a verification email however this will not be available in the 184.108.40.206.00 release.
We require an email address in RecTrac household management; however, not all customers are willing to provide an email address. We currently instruct our staff to use a standard invalid email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Can we continue to do this with the new changes? Will these invalid email addresses impact our email reputation?
Vermont Systems recommends collecting valid email addresses whenever possible. Many automated features of the RecTrac application require a valid patron email address. When this is not possible, Vermont Systems recommends using an email syntax in the Email Blacklist referenced on this page.
Is there a way to see which email addresses have been verified and/or opted-in from RecTrac Household Management?
Not yet, the Vermont Systems Team is working on UI/UX updates that will be delivered in a future release to allow for viewing the verification and opt-in status of email addresses in other areas of the application.
Can staff verify a patron email address and/or update the opt-in status on a patron email address?
No, A key component in the Confirmed Opt-In model is that only the patron can confirm their email address from an email received in their inbox. This is the only method to ensure an email address is truly verified. Staff cannot opt-in a patron to receive future communications; this process must be performed by the patron to maintain proof of the Certified Opt-In process which includes the Opt-In Date, Time, and IP Address from which the Opt-In occurred.
Does RecTrac have a way to inform us when our emails are not being received because a patron changed email addresses or inactivated an old account?
Not yet, Vermont Systems is currently investigating integration opportunities that would allow for providing Email Delivery, Bounce, Open, and Interaction details for RecConnect email traffic for Vermont Systems Hosted Clients. More information will be provided as potential integrations become available.
Can we report on those that have opted-in/out of email? What about those that have opted-in/out of SMS Texts?
Not yet, standard reporting filters for email verification and opt-in settings will be coming in a future release along with reporting for those phone numbers that have opted-in to receive SMS Messages.
Do these changes affect email addresses added to the CC line in RecTrac programs?
No. Email addresses supplied in the CC field of a RecConnect, Report, and other processes are exempt from the COI process. In addition, RecTrac User email addresses, email addresses supplied in RecTrac Profile settings, and email addresses entered in Email Features are also exempt from the COI process.
Do we need to do anything to include an unsubscribe link in our emails?
Yes, follow the instructions in the linked article to include an unsubscribe link in your RecTrac email communications.
Can the unsubscribe link in email be turned off for transactional emails since they don't apply to the subscription setting?
No. All email from your system originates from your sender IP Address whether marketing or transactional. It is industry best practice to include an unsubscribe link in all email communications regardless of their transactional nature. Spam Filter services commonly check for an unsubscribe link and if not found it can have a negative impact on your sender rating even if the email is not marketing material.
Are there other enhancements related to email deliverability and marketing planned for the future?
Yes, The Vermont Systems Product Team is working to develop a focus group around additional email and marketing features that would benefit our clients.
Are there any plans to add a way to opt Households and Members in for SMS Messages in bulk instead of requiring members to opt-in on their own.
Not at this time. However, the Vermont Systems Product Team is currently working on alternative methods for allowing patrons to be opted-in to receive text messages that will allow for improved adoption. The mobile carrier industry has very strict regulations for sending SMS communications that prevent systems from opting patrons into receiving SMS messages without their consent.
Zach Malloch 0:08
And welcome to RecChat. I'm your host, Zach Malloch joined as almost always by Bret Alarcon. And of course, we have two special guests today, Mr. Seth Warren and Mr. Bryan Gillilan. And let's see, what is this Brett usually say, oh, use the bottom of the q&a section. If you have any questions. We've also got chat, you have general comments. But q&a helps us keep track of who was asked questions, which ones have been asked which ones have been answered? And I think that's good. To waste no time. Bryan, why are we here today?
Bryan Gillilan 0:40
We are here today Zach to talk about something new coming to RecTrac Very soon for how we verify and opt patrons in to receive emails from our clients. And in a word, it's called confirmed opt in.
Zach Malloch 0:54
So opt in is something that I'm starting to hear more and more and more parts of the industry seems like everything's going in that direction. Can you tell us a little bit about why that's a good thing and what the whole situation surrounding it is?
Bryan Gillilan 1:09
Yeah, so email reliability, and email reputation is a big thing for any sender who sends a lot of email content. So all of our municipalities, all of our customers tend to send a lot of email through their RecTrac system, whether it's from registration events, and sending email receipts or whether it's from those rec connects, you might run to reach out to folks when they have a program cancellation, or a kind of, you know, emergency weather issue, or just to remind them that they've got a program upcoming or a tee time tomorrow, etc. Um, so a lot of email content comes from the RecTrac system. And confirmed opt in is something that a lot of spam filters and spam service providers look at as a best practice for major email senders to adopt to ensure that they are keeping their email lists clean and not continuing to send to invalid old email addresses or folks that just simply don't want to receive their email. So confirmed opt in or double opt in, as it's called, and sometimes is really about making sure we verify a client's email address is valid, and then offer that client the opportunity to opt in to receive future communications from us.
Zach Malloch 2:22
So basically, it's a way to make it more likely that more people will get the emails they're supposed to get from from our patrons.
Bryan Gillilan 2:28
Yes, and maybe more importantly, more likely that folks will not run into situations where they're trying to send emails to a large number of invalid email addresses, or folks that don't want to receive their communications. Because that can really damage your sender reputation, which can land you in all kinds of hot water with spam service providers, and then you up in people's spam folders or worse, and you're end up having your email content blocked altogether by the spam filters.
Zach Malloch 2:57
All right, well, that sets the stage for what it is now. How about we can we see what it looks like?
Bryan Gillilan 3:03
Yeah, so we'll have Seth gonna jump in and kind of walk us through what the confirmed opt in process looks like in RecTrac, and WebTrac. And while Seth is doing that, and getting his screenshare up, I'll just talk real briefly that there's kind of, at present, there's kind of three ways in which a household might be presented with an opt in email or an email verification. One is through RecTrac household management, which Seth is going to show here in just a moment. Another is through WebTrac household management, which which we may or may not show in the Demo here, for time sake. And a third we'll talk about here momentarily. That's a little more process driven. Go ahead Seth.
Seth Warren 3:43
Can everybody see my Screen?
Bryan Gillilan 3:45
Seth Warren 3:47
Perfect. So just to set this up, I've I've gone into one of my households here and which did not have an email address and I've just put in an email address in here triggering the verify. So I've put in my email address here and if I hop over to my Gmail tab, I have a Verify Email address email that's come across. So you know it's just being very polite saying hello, you know email address, we need just a little bit more information to complete your account including your email preferences, please Click below to confirm your email address. And I've got this nice Verify Email Button right here. You'll also notice before we Click Verify Email that there is a link down here so if you have trouble hitting the Verify Email, you can copy and paste this link to bring you to the subscribe page as well.
Bryan Gillilan 4:37
Real quick Seth, before you jump on. I think it's important to note that this email that gets sent out from the system does honor any HTML email templates that you might have configured in your email profiles in the system. So this email will look and feel like an email from your municipality provided you have done some branding with an HTML email template, etc. So it won't just look like a junk email or spam email coming through the line?
Seth Warren 5:04
That's true, mine does kind of look a little junky I'm sorry about that. But all right, let's see here, I'm gonna Click Verify Email. And
Zach Malloch 5:15
looks like this is opening up page in your WebTrac here Seth?
Seth Warren 5:18
it is or does and so. So once it finishes loading here, yep, you'll see my WebTrac kind of header and footer at the bottom. But most importantly, here, you'll see, thank you for verifying your email address. So now, you know, now RecTrac has logged that your email addresses verified. And then this part down here asking, basically, to ensure that you continue receiving promotional and other content from us via email, please Click the subscribe Button below. And then there is a note here that you can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in our communications. And so the email address here is hard, hard coded in because it's the one that was verified initially. And I do have to answer a ReCAPTCHA. And then all I have to do here is hit subscribe to be officially subscribed, or opted in as it were, for your marketing emails or promotional content. So I'll just Click that here. And then I get a little confirmation up at the top just saying that my emails, you know, successfully opted in, and then I can now close the page or leave the page. Now, of course, if I want to do something in WebTrac, I could but you know, I would just normally close the page to move on.
Zach Malloch 6:30
Okay, so adding an email in house will update will prompt the email to send a confirmation message effectively to the customer, what happens to all the customers that already have email addresses in the system here?
Bryan Gillilan 6:43
That's a very good question, Seth, I'll jump in and take this one. So we understand that our clients have a very large customer base, right. So we can't obviously go into day one of introducing this new feature and expect every municipality out there to go get confirmed verified email addresses from every one of their constituents, that wouldn't be very realistic, it would be a very large business impact. But in working with kind of the spam filter service providers for kind of a best practice here, what we've done is with this update, any household or family member with any activity in your application within the last 180 days, will have their primary email address both at the household level and member level, automatically verified and opted in if they were subscribed through our old subscribe method. So opted in if they were subscribed through the old subscribe method, verified and opted out if they were not subscribed through the old subscribe method. So so their settings essentially won't change if they were already opted in. But essentially, any household with activity in the last 180 days will automatically be verified, and opted in a key there is probably the next thing. And we may not show this directly in the Demo. But when a patron logs into WebTrac, if they do not have a verified email address on their account, that very next login to WebTrac, we will automatically send a verification email to them because we know they're active and still doing business with you as a as a customer. So we are going to automatically send them that verification email at that time when they log into WebTrac.
Zach Malloch 8:30
All right, so a couple of questions coming in here. And we will try to get to those. But we want to cover some of our initial bases first. And a lot of these I think will be answered in line with all of this. But I guess one of the first ones here, let me grab my cheat sheet. So we're obviously talking about offering people in how to do it with this new email address for all of the existing people that have been active within the past 180 days. What happens if somebody opts out? Do they just not get any emails or whatever the details there?
Bryan Gillilan 9:02
That's a very good question. And that kind of aligns with does somebody have to verify an opt in before they can make a purchase, right? So there's kind of two types of email that you can send from the RecTrac system. And I'll actually break it down into three. There are transactional emails. So these are things that are triggered by an actual transaction event. So I purchased something on the web, those emails will get sent regardless of whether or not a patrons email address has been verified or whether or not they have opted in. They are conducting a transaction with you. There is no expectation from a spam standpoint that they would have to have previously verified an email address for us to attempt to send that email on their behalf because they conducted a transaction. So any transactional email from a purchase directly will automatically go through we won't hold any of that. Those emails back. The other two types of emails are marketing emails and what I will call alert or notification emails. And those are typically run through the RecConnect program. So Seth is actually going to Joe jump in and show us the setting in the RecConnect program that controls how your emails go out, as well as some new fields in the report output, or sorry, the RecConnect results DataGrid that will show you those individuals that are verified or not verified, or have opted in or have not opted in.
Zach Malloch 10:29
Alright, it looks like Seth is running RecConnect Right. Now, while he's doing that, I just have a quick clarification for you, Bryan. So when we say that, it just disappeared. When you say like people who have currently subscribed or have subscribed using the previous method, what exactly do you mean, they're just that they have their email address in the system, or John is asking you if like somebody created their account when WebTrac and they approved the account, because they use the batch WebTrac met WebTrac household approval method would that count as being subscribed as the old method?
Bryan Gillilan 11:05
Yeah, so well Seths pulling this up. So the old subscribe method was actually a setting in WebTrac. And it was also available when a household added their account, there was actually a Toggle to receive promotional materials or authorized contact via email, I believe is the way the Toggle was actually labeled in the prior version. So if somebody Toggle that on in the prior version, when they created their account on WebTrac, or went to their household web details on WebTrac, than they will automatically be opted in. If they have activity in the last 180 days, if they did not enable that Toggle previously, which was essentially our opt in capability prior, then they will not be opted in, but their email address will be verified if they had activity in the last 180 days. And Seths going to kind of show here in a second. What the difference between opted in and verified is when it gets to to running your actual RecConnect.
Seth Warren 12:04
So I've got kind of a just just a couple of email addresses here that I know I'm going to be able to hit and then very basic email body. Now when I come down in my email options here, you'll see this Toggle that says include email addresses that have opted out of marketing emails. So essentially, if I leave this turned off, the RecConnect should go to verified emails, but not to anybody that's opted out of your marketing or promotional content. However, if I want to reach out to those individuals, I can Toggle this on. And when I do, I'm going to be presented with a prompt here, the prompt is just saying please note, you're including individuals that have opted out of marketing emails. And so I have to Click and confirm that I understand that and would like to continue in order to leave this checked on. So if I Click, I understand, then that Toggle is turned on. And I would be emailing anybody if they had opted in or opted out of those promotional of that promotional content. If I Click on it here, and I say cancel, like no, I was actually meaning to send a marketing email of some kind, I hit cancel here. And it's just gonna uncheck the box. And it's really I mean, I think just another step to make sure that the content that you're sending is going to the people that have opted in for that content, you know, for that named content there.
Bryan Gillilan 13:32
So So I think a good way to think about this is, if your material you're sending through RecConnect is promotional in any nature, or would be considered marketing in any nature, then you really want to make sure you're not turning that Toggle on. If your email you're sending from RecConnect is informative for a customer that would want to receive that, whether they opted in for promotional content or not. So things such as, you know, hey, we're canceling this entire program, we need to run a RecConnect to tell everybody, it's canceled, or we've got major thunderstorms in the area, all events at this facility are going to be cancelled. Those kinds of things are more of an emergency alert or a cancellation that is related to a transaction the person performed. Those are not really promotional or marketing content, they are informative pieces of information related to a purchase and can be considered transactional in nature. So in those cases, you would be okay to go ahead and turn that Toggle on to inform all those individuals of the coming change now while Seths here so that we can get you to just scroll that results data grid a little bit. One of the things that we've done is in your RecConnect results data grid itself. We now will have a Toggle for whether or not the patrons email has been verified, and whether or not the patron has opted in to receive communicate Russians from you. So you can add a quick glance when you get your RecConnect results, you could filter down to just those that have verified. And those are going to be the only folks that you reach with your RecConnect. Because RecConnect By its nature will no longer send emails to anyone whose email address has not been verified. And this is really key for email reputation, that we don't send emails to unverified accounts, those emails will almost always result in a spam catch on the customer's email side, and can really damage your sender reputation, which again can can result in your emails falling into spam folders across the board for many, many customers.
Zach Malloch 15:47
Well, you would be surprised there's a lot of questions coming in here right now. Seth, you were gonna say something?
Seth Warren 15:55
Oh, I was just gonna say I'm gonna process this RecConnect here, just so after we're done answering the questions, we can show the unsubscribe method in case somebody is opted in and then opts to not want to opt in here after
Zach Malloch 16:06
somebody opts to opt out.
Seth Warren 16:08
Zach Malloch 16:10
All right. Well, yeah, I think that that's a really great next one to hit. But a couple of RecConnect specific questions are coming in. So Kristen is asking, what would happen to RecConnects that have already been set up and scheduled? Do we need to go into those and turn the Toggle on for each of those RecConnects to make sure they continue to send to everyone. And I wonder if like, maybe reviewing why the RecConnects or beings and to absolutely everyone might be an initial first step, but I'll let you take the rest of that, Bryan?
Bryan Gillilan 16:41
Yeah, we certainly recommend folks use this as an opportunity to double check their settings on any existing scheduled recurring RecConnects to ensure they are targeting the folks they intend to target. And not everyone. There was a a similar setting in this RecConnect program previously to only send to those or to it was kind of a double negative label there, that was a bit confusing. But it essentially did the same thing that this Toggle is doing now only without the override warning and the prompt. So there was a prior Toggle to only I can't again, remember what the label was exactly off the top of my head here. But there was a same Toggle existed previously with a slightly different label that could be a bit confusing to customers, we kind of cleaned up the label a little bit. And that label now explicitly ties to the opt in setting and before it tied to the authorized communication via email setting that a customer could set. So if you did your due diligence before and you were only targeting those individuals that authorized you to communicate via email, then no changes should be necessary. But we definitely kind of think folks should use this as an opportunity to do a quick review of their scheduled rec connects they have out there, make sure they're all still valid, as one of the other things that does have an impact on your sender reputation is the frequency and Type of of emails you send. So it's always a good idea to just go back and do a quick review of those every once in a while to say, is this one still valid? And are all my settings still accurate for it? Would I potentially be targeting folks that I don't really want to target anymore?
Zach Malloch 18:23
All right. Well, we have some other questions coming in? Do we want to show the opt out or the unsubscribe piece first? Or do you want to keep going to some questions Bryan?
Bryan Gillilan 18:35
Seth, why don't we jumped out and just show folks how patrons would be able to opt out of receiving promotional content in the future, just so everybody has an idea of how that works?
Seth Warren 18:47
Sure. Okay, so this email here that I just received this, for the RecChat, the email example, I have, I've got this unsubscribe link here at the as part of my signature through my email Profile, I can Click on this unsubscribe link. And similar to the opting in, it brings me back to WebTrac on an unsubscribe page here, you know, just with some instructions to Click the unsubscribe Button below to opt out of receiving promotional content via email. And so the address, you know, again, is hard coded into the address that we were referencing originally, I hit unsubscribe. And then I just got a note saying that my accounts been successfully updated future emails will not be sent I guess we could probably clean that up because it's not all future emails, just marketing content of emails. And then you can now close the page or you may leave the page now so and then I can just x out of it that like so.
Bryan Gillilan 19:44
So really big key with both the opt in and the unsubscribe is neither of those actions requires a patron to actually log into WebTrac in any form or fashion. We are passing the email address with the link in both scenarios. So it is a frictionless action to actually opt in opt out of email folks can do it on their mobile phone really easily, etc. So it should be a pretty quick and easy process to opt in for email for those that received those.
Zach Malloch 20:17
Already for a couple more questions,
Bryan Gillilan 20:18
yes, go ahead and hit us.
Zach Malloch 20:20
Alright, so these two are related, I think, Sony just curious if we can see the email verified and opted in options in RecTrac, household management, and then Sandy was curious if can you report on those who have opted out.
Bryan Gillilan 20:33
So you will not be able to in this first 24 release, but those are both things that are coming very shortly here following this change. So the ability to both report on who has been verified and who has been opted in versus opted out, as well as the ability to see that information in household member update, etc. So those will be coming and Seths jumping in here, maybe Seth knows something I don't?
Seth Warren 20:59
Well, I was just gonna say if I, if I ran my essay person RecConnect, kind of wide open. Now I don't have many person records. But certainly the results that come up, I could filter this data grid by those that are those that were verified, or those that were opted in, and then export that out through options, comma delimited, is kind of like a rough way to guess to get that data,
Bryan Gillilan 21:24
we will definitely come up with a or have in the pipeline, a more streamlined standard reporting mechanism for seeing those households patrons that have opted in or opted out of email. And really, again, I think the key to note here with opting in and opting out is it's really not at the household, or even at the family member level, it is explicitly at the email address level. So the email address itself is what is now being opted in, or opted out and verified, it is not the household or the essay person. So what that means is that every email address that gets added to a customer's account, if it's a new email address that we don't already have a verification for, or an opt in for, they will immediately receive that email verification email. So if I go to add a third email to my household, I'm gonna get an email verification when I do that, so that I can verify I do want to receive email from you at that address. So that's a really key point of this change is that it is specific to the email address and no longer kind of a household wide setting. It is very much specific to the email address itself.
Zach Malloch 22:30
Alright, so I think that that probably answers John's question here. We'll go ahead and state it. So he's saying even when people Verify Email addresses, people change email addresses, or delete them, will there be a process that alerts us to these are hosted and don't get the bounced emails?
Bryan Gillilan 22:46
Yes. So I think there's two answers to that question. When somebody changes their email address online, they're going to automatically get a new email verification email that comes into them. So anytime that happens, they will get a new email verification. In terms of the question regarding bounced emails, that's something that is on our kind of near to mid term roadmap to start actually, for our hosted customers, specifically, integrating with some services that that are going to allow us to pull some of that bounce back information back into the RecTrac application, and provide some alerting capabilities for customers in terms of when they send a wreck connect, how many of those emails were actually received, how many were actually interacted with, how many were bounced, how many were opened, etc. So that's something we're certainly looking at and have some partners we're going to be looking to integrate with to make that a reality in the future here.
Zach Malloch 23:43
And just I think this would be a really good point to bring up that you're intending on sending an email by the end of the day today with more information about all of this stuff, correct? Brian?
Bryan Gillilan 23:54
Yes, we will have a more detailed information that is going to outline the full scope of everything discussed here. And then some, which will likely answer some of the additional questions that are probably coming in related to other processes like installment billing and things of that nature that send emails.
Zach Malloch 24:10
Yeah, so we will try to get to the questions that are in in line in the queue here. But anything that we don't get to we will still address just so everybody's aware. I think John's question is a good one here. So he's asking, Is this new process going to be delivered turned on? Or is it something that you need to kind of decide when you want to turn on and he wants to make sure that marketing people are aware before this affects
Bryan Gillilan 24:34
them? Yep, this is something that's going to be delivered turned on. So the there's a post update step that's going to run when you go to version 24. That is going to on a somewhat random timeframe, schedule the auto verification and opt in of your existing accounts. So that process will run behind the scenes after you run the 24 update to automatically run verify and opt in all your accounts. Again, typically, these automated runs are scheduled for sometime early in the morning to not impact your daily processing. But that will be scheduled automatically behind the scenes and will happen instantly. And there's no Toggle or feature flag to enable this logic, it will be enabled for all when they go to 24.
Zach Malloch 25:23
All right, and I think that this may be slightly dovetail into a question that Rhonda has. So they're saying that they reserved the billings a year in advance the customers that only use WebTrac RecTrac, that one time, so they might be beyond the 365 days, and she's concerned about them not getting emails or wondering if there's a way to extend it to be 365 days would be the auto opt in. But I guess the extension of that question would be if you have a customer that hasn't been active within 180 days, and they're not auto opted in, and then they become an active customer, again, what happens to their email at that point.
Bryan Gillilan 26:00
So anytime a customer logs into WebTrac, first and foremost, they will automatically receive a verification email if they haven't already been verified. So I think that's an important takeaway, just the act of going to your WebTrac site and logging in will resend a verification email to them. We are currently in the process of working on a utility that ideally will be able to be run to target households to automatically pop them in and verify them. There's a little bit of nuance to that program. Outside of that just default 180 days. But I think for folks that have those longer range concerns of customers that only deal with them once a year for pavilion rentals, campsite, reservations, that kind of thing. We're aware of that we're working on a solution there for those folks to be able to go get those emails verified and opted in, which may not result in an automatic opt in verify, but may result in an ability from RecConnect to send verification emails to households that are not verified. So you'd be able to target those individuals with reservations for your pavilion specifically, or your campsite specifically over the past year. And if they have not already been verified or opted in, send them that verification email so they can continue receiving the alerts from you
Zach Malloch 27:19
got another two that are somewhat related. So Colin is, I think, keying off of what you said, Seth, that you had something in your email signature with the unsubscribe option is anything you have to manually set up. And then the second part of that question, Kristen is asking, is there a way to turn off the unsubscribe options from traditional transactional receipts since unsubscribing? wouldn't affect whether or not they received those emails anyway?
Seth Warren 27:48
Good question. And for the unsubscribe for me on the unsubscribe side, I did have to manually put something in. So I just did that within my email Profile here. If I hop over real quick, I can show you what I did.
Zach Malloch 28:11
I guess the next question would come up, is this going to be a post upgrade step? or would this be something that happens during the upgrade Bryan.
Bryan Gillilan 28:20
So the actual auto opt in piece happens, it's a post update step that is automated. So it doesn't actually happen when you run the upgrade script for on premise customers. It is essentially a scheduled event that the upgrade script schedules in your system for a randomize time on that date to run. If you don't want to wait for that randomize time, you can absolutely go into your scheduled event management and hit Run now on the event that gets created during the update process. But that randomization event is really put in place specifically for our many hosted customers out there. So we're not all kind of running that process the exact same time, which could take cause updates to take longer. And for customers with really large databases. We don't want the actual 24 update to necessarily bring your system down for a longer period of time. We want it to be able to run do its thing and schedule that to follow on.
Zach Malloch 29:17
I guess I was a little bit more specifically asking about the the inclusion of the unsubscribe link in the signature here.
Bryan Gillilan 29:24
Gotcha. I will follow up an email on this I believe we recently introduced or plan to introduce with this a change that automatically adds the unsubscribe link to emails. And that again, is to align with industry best practices for emailing and that's again, something that spam filters and spam services really look for. If you're sending out large volumes of email and you don't include an unsubscribe link in those emails that can really tarnish your email reputation with those spam service filters. And for those that aren't aware there's there's a handful of really high volume spam filter services that are used by major email providers like Outlook, et cetera, that really determine in a big way what your sender reputation is for their services. So if you're trying to send to an Outlook email inbox, for example, they use a service called spam house. And spam house is actually kind of inspecting all those, all that email traffic coming through, and helping to determine whether it looks like spam or not, and what the reputation of that particular sender is with spam house. So having an unsubscribe link in your emails is really crucial to maintain a really good sender rating.
Zach Malloch 30:41
Yeah, I think all of this is really good information, just looking through the questions. And I think most of these are going to end up being answered in the email, they're kind of variations on similar things. One thing that did come up a couple of times is, how do we keep the verification email from going to spam, if that's already an issue, because obviously, if we're trying to prevent things from going to spam, the thing that says, hey, these should not go to spam. If that goes to spam, that would be an issue.
Bryan Gillilan 31:13
One of the reasons the subject line of the verification email that's being sent cannot be customized is very much for that exact reason. Those spam filter services, if they see an email with a subject of verification in it, they know the intent of that email is to verify someone's email address, it's not marketing content, etc. So it's one of the reasons that subject line is very much hard coded and cannot be modified at this point in time. That being said, there's no magic bullet to prevent one magic bullet to prevent your email from landing in the spam folder. So if your emails are already landing in a patron spam folder, the only way to get them to stop landing in the patron spam folder is to improve your email reputation. And this confirmed opt in is a big way to do that. And the only other way to do it is to have a new email IP address that you're sending from so one of the reasons we kind of fast track to these changes to try to get them out there as soon as possible is we did have some customers with some of these challenges have a lot of their email, ending and spam. And the longer that happens, the more likely you are to have your emails get blocked outright by some of these spam filters. So putting this confirmed opt in in place, really should help go a long way towards preventing that from happening going forward and improving center reputations.
Zach Malloch 32:34
And I think maybe the last one here to answer live who has kind of a unique situation, although I think that we have a lot of customers that do this. So Marcia saying that they require an email address and RecTrac household management. But not all customers want to give us the email address for those customers staff are instructed to enter a fake email firstname.lastname@example.org. Obviously, those email addresses will not be verified. But is there any thing that this will do to change that is that still a valid process to do it, those emails will just be excluded by default.
Bryan Gillilan 33:05
It is a valid process, although I will say it is becoming less and less of an accepted practice in industries across the board to enter invalid email addresses. That being said, we do have behind the scenes a blacklist email address setup that we've started to introduce with this change where if we see emails that fit a particular pattern, they will automatically be ignored, because we know they're invalid email addresses. And we will not send to them whether they've been verified or not. which in reality, they could not possibly be verified, because we know they're invalid accounts. So the system will just skip any one of those email accounts outright at this point. So if folks have specific email addresses, they're doing that with currently, you could continue to do that. That being said, we would certainly not advise that practice, because any transactional emails that would normally go out would try to be sent to those again, we're blacklisting a certain subset of those. And if folks are interested, we could probably provide a list of those blacklisted email addresses in the email we send out later today. So that if customers are currently adopting a practice, have a specific email address to use in that scenario, maybe the changes to start adopting a new email address that's part of our blacklist, so that those transactional emails would not be sent. And again, that blacklist is a 100% blacklist transactional emails will not try to be sent to those nor will RecConnect emails.
Zach Malloch 34:42
Okay, well, I we're a little bit beyond time, so I'm going to start wrapping things up. But I guess just to summarize, any questions that are still outstanding, those will be addressed in the email that Brian is going to send out a little bit later today. There's a lot of things about you know, future options and other components of the system. Questions about installment billing. To summarize, this is going to be part of the RecTrac 220.127.116.11 am I right on that one.
Bryan Gillilan 35:12
Correct. And that will be getting delivered to our hosted customers on Wednesday, August 23. And it will be available for on premise customers to deploy on that same date.
Zach Malloch 35:25
And then the rest of everybody that's been active within the past 180 days will be automatically opted in anybody else from this point forward, the next time they log into WebTrac, they will then receive the verification or if they change their email address and their household, they'll receive the verification request. This will primarily affect mass emails, like RecConnects, does not affect transactional stuff, there are a couple of questions about does this affect ticket sales? Is this effect in person transactions, those will not be affected by this? And then yeah, we've got some other really great questions that I think just will fit a little bit better in being addressed in the email. And, Brian, I did send one real quick message to you in chat. Just let me know if that's something that you want to talk about on the video or potentially in the follow up email or at a later date.
Bryan Gillilan 36:19
Yeah, I think we can touch on it a little bit. In the follow up email, John asked the question or kind of made a comment to make sure your IT team in it. And this goes for those on premise customers out there. To make sure your IT team has set up SPF, DMIK and demark records for your domains. This is a we won't get into the technical details here. But one of the other ways you really improve your sender reputation is by having proper email authentication. And what that means is email, email recipients know the email actually came from you, it can be verified that that email came from you as a sender through the those authentication tools. So that may be something that we kind of respond back with in our email content, it will certainly be something that will be part of future communications everyone hears from us related to email deliverability, and some of the future enhancements that are that are gonna be coming down the pipeline there.
Zach Malloch 37:17
Awesome. Well, this is a very informative session. Thank you very much for that. I realize there are a lot of outstanding questions, but we will be responding to those. Once again, we have recorded this entire session and the link to this recording will be included in that email that Brian is going to be sending out. So you can share this with anybody in your organization that you think should see it that maybe wasn't able to attend for this live session. And I think we're going to start wrapping it up. I'm going to ask Seth, Brian, any closing remarks or statements before wego?
Bryan Gillilan 37:51
Not on my end
Seth Warren 37:51
No, I'm good to.
Zach Malloch 37:54
Okay. Well, then I will thank everybody for joining. Thank you all for your questions. Expect more information coming. This is the first time we're talking about it. You're probably not going to be the last one when even RecChat. And we will we will respond to you. That's why we're doing all this stuff. So thank you all very much. And Brett I think we're ready to take it in for landing.
Bret Alarcon 38:16
Zach Malloch 38:17