Does anyone have a policy for deleting old and inactive accounts?


(Alice Mac) #1

Our community has changed a lot since inception (over five years ago) and has thousands of ‘members’, but only a handful of active members (this isn’t a surprise given it hasn’t been an organisational focus until recently). Recent UX research has told us that a lot of people aren’t sure if they are a member, or that they associate membership with getting the newsletter, rather than being part of an online community (again, not a surprise - our member benefits haven’t been clear, or very strong). We’re about to implement a new strategy of engagement and implement new features to improve our member experience and build in some solid and clear member benefits and value.

We’re hopeful that this will re-engage a number of older inactive members, but we’re wondering what our policy should be for those who don’t re-engage, and who may not be aware they have a member account, given they signed up 4-5 years ago, perhaps only to get the newsletter, and may never posted or commented on the site. We’re not sure if it’s reasonable to hold onto these people as ‘members’ and retain their data (or if we want to, especially in this post-GDPR world) and so we’re considering implementing a policy to remove inactive accounts.

This might look something like:
For accounts that have never meaningfully engaged with the site (e.g. commented on a discussion or contributed content) and who have not logged in for over 2* years (*exact period to be decided):
a) attempt to re-engage
b) if no result, advise account will be deleted in line with new policy
c) if no response, delete account (letting them know they can rejoin at any time).

I was wondering if anyone else has a similar policy, or has any ideas on the pros and cons of a policy like this.

Thanks for your help!

  • Alice

(Jessica Malnik) #2

If someone hasn’t logged into a community for more than 2 years, the chances of them logging in again and posting is highly unlikely.

They stopped going to the community awhile ago for a reason (no longer found it valuable, got bored, found something else, etc.)

I personally wouldn’t recommend trying to re-engage them unless you have recently launched a big new feature or have completed a full re-design. Even in these cases, I’d expect the number of people to log back in and start contributing again to be very low (less than 5%).

You’ll likely see much better results by focusing on the already active members plus any new members who are joining your community.

(Joel Rangelle) #3

This is a personal preference, but I would rather err on the side of the aggressive and retain their member contact for a big relaunch if the website. They’ve already taken the step to register, so they may be unaware of their prior registration or simply forgot.

But this is a valuable treasure trove of old accounts and members. At the very least, you should give them to opportunity to declare their engagement when you do a big relaunch. Want to become inactive? Update your notification preferences. Want to be a part of the relaunch? Great, you’re already one step ahead.

(Sandra Brückner) #4

I agree with you Joel. You should give them the opp to decide by themself AND should ask them directly why they drop-off. Then you can take these information and work with it.

Maybe finding an incentive for undecided would also be beneficial.

(rhogroupee) #5

It’s also good to acknowledge (if you do reach out after a long period) that it’s been a while. Otherwise you can come off as clueless, contacting them after such a long inactive period.

(Joel Rangelle) #6

Something else to think about is whether or not they have a valid email address. I don’t care if they’re inactive or not. But don’t have a valid email? Then your account is really truly useless, since I can’t even reach out to you.

For the most part, I think all of your energies should be focused on the relaunch. It’s exciting, its new, it’s under better management and leadership, and all this inactice accounts are a target audience to win back. Good luck!

(Richard Millington) #7

I generally don’t think you need to delete old / inactive accounts unless they request that you do so.

(Alice Mac) #8

Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I think a strategy of re-engagement where possible but with a stronger focus on engaging new members may be the way to go.