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Can I Contact My Previous eBay Buyers?

Hi Terry,

I searched in you Q&A but didn’t find an answer to my concern. My apologies if my question is indeed answered somewhere and I have now to trouble you.

I have an eBay store and accumulated all the e-mail addresses of my customers (a few hundred). I only now realize (I’m started now going more active and want to build a real business) that I should have used the ME page to have my customers opt in so I can send them e-mails. Reading through eBay’s terms and conditions, it looks like even sending one e-mail to any customer will put me at risk of spamming. Is there a way how I can get in touch with those customers now and have them opt in so I’ don’t run into trouble?

Thank you for your time answering this.

Have a great day,

* * * * *
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eBay’s definition of spam:

Spam is email that is both unsolicited and commercial in nature.

  • Unsolicited: The email has been sent without the permission of the person who received it
  • Commercial: The email discusses buying, selling or trading of goods or services

EBay’s rules say you cannot send unsolicited COMMERCIAL emails. So if you send an email telling your past customers that you now have a newsletter are you spamming?


Farther down on the page under examples of spam eBay says: “Direct or stand-alone invitations to join a mailing list.”

So you cannot send an email that is a stand alone invitation either.

Before you worry about past buyers, make sure you are doing enough to get future buyers onto your newsletter list. Here’s a few things you should be doing:

First – Include a mention of your newsletter and a link to your subscription page in every email you send to your current buyers. Make sure you explain the benefit of subscribing.

Second – Set up your eBay me page so you can divert people to your website. This will help you get subscribers from people who look at your auction but don’t buy.

Now for your question. . . “What can you do to get these past customers onto your newsletter list?”

eBay’s spam rules (again from the page above) say “Email messages that are not commercial in nature, including offensive or unwelcome email, do not fall under the eBay spam policy.”

You need to tailor your email message to past buyers to fit through this hole. Obviously you don’t want to be offensive, but you can be unwelcome. You can count on some people finding your message unwelcome no matter what you do. The idea is to make the largest number of readers want to follow up with you.

The only thing you cannot do is offer anything for sale or ask them to subscribe to your newsletter without saying something else too.

What else can you say? Here’s some suggestions:

An article explaining how to get more enjoyment out of their purchase.

An article with tips for finding similar items on eBay.

A free gift like a screen saver or free report. You can get free and cheap software to compile your old auction images into screensavers for windows computers. The free report could be something you wrote or even my eBay Buyer’s Guide.

Think of your email as the first step in a short ladder. You want the recipient to take one action at each step.

First step is to read the email so you need an inviting title.

Second step is clicking on a link to get them to a website.

One last tip about this. If you do this, send all the emails out on a Monday or Tuesday night. All of them at once. You’ll get complaints and having them all from one batch of emails will help you avoid an eBay suspension.

For a few hundred subscribers it might not be worth much effort. You’ll have to contact each one separately – you could just go through your email program hitting reply and pasting the message in from your clipboard, but that would still take some effort.

If I wanted to get old buyers into the loop, I’d spend my time doing something on eBay to capture their attention again. Like listing something desirable and expensive as a featured plus auction.

From past experience I could get thousands of people to look at an auction like that.


Did this answer your question? If not, try looking at the questions and answers within the General, Web Pages and Web Sites category, or do a search for other questions.
If you are unable to find an answer to your question, send me an email, and I will answer it.

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