Six Emails You Should Never Send
by Jonathan Tombes, on June 8, 2014
At FeedbackFive, prospective customers often ask us if they are allowed to solicit feedback. Many sellers are rightly concerned to make sure they stay within Amazon’s seller policies, lest they receive a policy warning or worse.
The answer, of course, is yes, and we’ll explain more about that in our next post.
But our topic here is what type of emails you should not send. Some of these rules are obvious, but others are less so. All of these rules have been around for some time. Just because Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) may not notice or aggressively enforce these rules all of the time does not mean they will always fail to do so.
Six Types of Forbidden Emails
So what are these main rules? Here is our list:
- Any email with a link or logo that links to a merchant website. This rule against diverting shoppers from Amazon.com applies even if the reference is not a link – such as an image with address of the merchant site displayed in the image.
- Any email with marketing or promotional messages for additional products. The obvious rule here is that you cannot promote products that are not on the Amazon marketplace. But what about suggesting an accessory or other product that links back to the Amazon site or the merchant’s store on the Amazon marketplace?
Here are some considerations: a) In practice, Amazon has been lenient in enforcing this rule. For example, suppose a customer is asking for help finding a particular product, and you include a link to an appropriate Amazon listing in your response. If this is fundamentally a customer-service email, you are probably in the right. b) A simple link to a seller page (storefront, policy page, etc.) on the Amazon marketplace in the context of a feedback or customer-service email seems to be permitted. c) Automated messaging that promotes a seller’s products on the Amazon marketplace is a likely violation. Even though we’ve seen some seller messaging along these lines, we would urge caution. This is especially true for links that are provided in a heavily promotional context.
- Payment emails. Any email requesting extra payment for a product or service, or any other payment request above and beyond what the customer already agreed to.
- Manipulative emails. Amazon normally uses this in the context of feedback-related emails. Simply asking for feedback is not considered manipulative; however, offering a special discount or reward for leaving the feedback is viewed as manipulative.
- Order confirmation emails. Back in the old days (late 1990s), it was common for sellers to send out an email confirming that you’ve received the order. Amazon takes care of that email now, and sellers are prohibited from sending one.
- Shipping emails. Along these same lines, Amazon prohibits the sending of seller shipment emails because Amazon is already sending these. You should not send an email saying your order is shipping, has shipped or was delivered today – if shipment status is the main point of the email. However, there is no prohibition against including delivery information as part of a feedback request email.