Amazon Now Allows Shoppers to Opt Out of Unsolicited Emails

By Paul Johnson | Amazon

Mar 29

Amazon updated its Buyer-Seller Messaging system on March 28, 2017, to allow shoppers to opt out of unsolicited emails sent from third-party sellers.

Up until the announcement, shoppers were not able to opt out of unsolicited seller emails.

Amazon is still allowing sellers to send critical emails even if a shopper has opted out. Amazon deems a critical email to be:

  • Product customization questions
  • Delivery scheduling
  • Issues with a shipping address

Amazon deems a non-critical email to be:

  • Requests for seller feedback or customer reviews
  • Order, shipment, or delivery confirmations
  • Proactive customer service (i.e. product manuals, product tips, FAQs, suggestions, etc.)
  • Out-of-stock or delay notifications and offers of alternate products

Third-party sellers can send critical messages through Seller Central by going to Manual Orders, then clicking the buyer’s name, which will send them to Buyer-Seller Messaging. From here, they can click on Additional Information Required as the subject. Then they just need to write their email and click Send.

If a shopper has opted out of a seller’s unsolicited emails, Amazon strongly recommends not sending non-critical emails. Violations to this update may result in enforcement actions or the loss of selling privileges.

Our Take on the Update

This Is Good News for Sellers

This is actually great news for Amazon sellers and solution providers like us. For years there has been a small percentage of buyers that have been very vocal to Amazon about letting them opt out of emails from sellers. There have been articles published and forums filled with people who do not care to receive unsolicited messages. The majority of shoppers appreciate a good follow-up email, but some would rather not receive any messages—no matter how helpful they may be. With this update, Amazon has solved a problem for both buyers and sellers. Sellers can still offer great customer service through follow-up emails and encourage feedback/reviews, and shoppers who would rather not be contacted can opt out.

Can you still send messages to buyers asking for Feedback and Reviews?

Yes. You can still send messages to buyers who have not opted out. Jason from Amazon’s MWS team posted this in the Seller Central forum:

I just wanted to give everybody an update on this issue.

No accounts will be suspended for this, as we recognize that there is no way for you to gain access to this information. While the original response was strongly worded, this will be changing in the very near future, and the aspect of suspension will be removed from future messages.

For now, our suggestion is keeping a list of the buyers for whom you receive these notifications, and add them to a blacklist for future communications. We are looking into ways to make this information available so that this workaround doesn’t have to be the primary way of tracking this data.

We thank you all for your patience and bringing this to our attention.

You can read more here.

Additionally, Amazon’s other terms of service pages clearly state sellers can send emails to buyers.

What if I send an email to a shopper who has opted out?

If you email a shopper who has opted out, the message will not go through; Amazon will send you an email telling you it has been blocked. If you have to message a shopper with critical, order-related information, you will need to go through Seller Central and choose Additional Information Required as the subject. Make sure you only do this for critical messages. Sellers who email buyers who have opted out are not at risk unless they go through Seller Central attempting to bypass the block and send non-critical messages to shoppers who have opted out.

If you are using an automated messaging service like Feedback Genius, and you want to make sure you don’t email a buyer who has opted out again, you can add the opted out email address into your blacklist within Feedback Genius. To automate this, you can forward these messages to Feedback Genius’s blacklist and we will automatically add these shoppers to the blacklist. You can set this up at Then click on the question mark icon to grab your personalized blacklist forwarding email.

Now, setup your email to forward from to Make sure you replace the XXXX with the number displayed in the pop-up box.

Currently, Amazon does not give any information to determine if a shopper has opted out of receiving messages. Taking advantage of Feedback Genius’s blacklist is the best way to avoid sending messages to opted out shoppers. Feedback Genius has the largest reach of any messaging system for Amazon third-party sellers. We’re currently working to identify shoppers who have opted out of unsolicited emails to ensure you are not wasting messages on opted out shoppers.

The Big Picture

This change is positive for Amazon sellers and shoppers. Sellers can continue to offer top-notch service and receive important feedback on their products and service while some shoppers can opt out of unsolicited emails. Everyone is happy.

The important thing for sellers to remember is to not over-message shoppers. Every email should be helpful and not pushy. Emails should add value to the buying experience. Remember to focus on excellent customer service before asking for reviews and feedback.

Suggested Reading:

About the Author

Paul is the fearless leader and CEO of Seller Labs. His hard work and business savvy continue to lead Seller Labs to industry leading heights.

  • Josh

    Do you know if Amazon will be treating these warnings as cumulative across all customers or will only be tracking repeat warnings to individual customers? The Blacklist works great if they only track repeat warnings per customer. If individual warnings add up even if they are only 1 warning per customer, then the Blacklist does not guard against that.

    • Paul Johnson

      These are not really warnings they are just letting you know the buyer opted out. If you go around the block and use the additional information required subject through Seller Central you may get into trouble unless you are sending critical messages.

  • Laura Wundrow

    How do you setup your email to forward from to

    • Pete

      depends on which email service you use, but you can find it normally under a “settings” option and create an email “rule” – that’s how you do it in icloud anyhow.

    • Paul Johnson

      We will post detailed instruction soon for Gmail. Those directions should carry over to other email providers pretty easily or you can also add a gmail account to your Amazon account.

      • Matt

        Do you have the detailed instructions ready for Gmail?


        • Paul Johnson
          • Matt

            I did all this, no verification code has been sent to me, has been 13 hours.

          • Paul Johnson

            Please try to send the code again from gmail. Also make sure you are checking the email you have on file with Feedback Genius. If you are still having problems please contact and someone from the team will look into your account.

  • Giannis

    No, this in not positive at all

    • Jane Doe

      I know right such BS always trying to spin to a positive. Why can’t they just be honest and say Amazon fucked us again.

      • MiklaDfar

        Ugh… So what would you do if this was your business (no Amazon) and you were sending emails to your customers and many complained to you they were not happy with all the emails?

    • Paul Johnson

      The alternative is Amazon just shutting off the ability to email customers completely so I think it’s a pretty good compromise. I wish they would have given us a better way to identify opted out buyers and some heads up, but overall we are pretty happy with what they have done so far.

      • Philip Holliday

        Agree – at least they haven’t stopped it altogether!

      • Roger Langille

        Yeah this is like getting hit with a bus, not dying and saying THIS IS ACTUALLY GREAT NEWS I GOT HIT BY A BUS!!. No its not great news!

  • Dziugas Augustinavicius

    Ok, but still dont understand how need to spot out a customer that has optout from emails?

    • Paul Johnson

      You don’t have to black list the emails it’s just a good idea because it will prevent you from wasting future messages on buyers that have opted out.

      • Dziugas Augustinavicius

        So, that means that here is no potential risk to have amazon “punch” by sending follow up emails to such buyers only that you waist your emails resources..isnt?

        • Paul Johnson

          Yes, It’s still ok to message buyers but If you go around the opt-out and try to message them thru buyer seller messaging with the subject additional info required you will get into trouble.

  • Oscar Vela

    If you decide to automate the forward of these messages to your FBG blacklist remember to add some sort of exception in your forwarding rule to include wording such as “buyer has opted out of unsolicited messages” from the body of the message. Because email address is used for notifications for other types of ongoing buyer to seller messaging you could end up adding buyers to your blacklist with whom you may want to communicate with in the future.

    • Paul Johnson

      Good point we will be following up with more detailed instructions soon for gmail. Other email system should work in a similar fashion.

      • Jane Doe

        No Shit! We can’t forward without a verification code and since Gmail is the largest email provider this is an epic fail.

        • Paul Johnson

          Luckily Feedback Genius will actually send you the verification code to the email you have on file. So we have that issue solved!

          • Jane Doe

            No, it doesn’t! It’s been 8 hours and I have not received and email with a verification code

          • Paul Johnson

            Awesome glad you got it working.

  • Brian Money

    While I agree it’s a good idea for Amazon to allow customer to opt-out, the implementation of this new feature was very poorly handled. We’re seeing in excess of 30 “your message to buy was undelivered” emails per day. The only way we know if the message that was “not delivered” was an automated message OR a necessary contact (handled via freshdesk), is to manually lookup every order. This is a huge waste of time. Our options at the moment are: suspend automatic emails (feedback requests, manual supplements, etc.) or manually check every bounce notification. Neither is good.

    I’m trying to get an ETA from Amazon on a method to identify “opt-out” customers, but no luck so far.

  • MyVIP Offers

    Your instructions are not clear to me. It looks like the opted out emails are being automatically blacklisted through FBG. Is this the case or is there something that needs to be done manually?

  • David Vartanian

    It would be great if you could post a video for those who use Gmail how to set up automated function to add customers who opt out to your FBG black list. This would be absolutely the best.

  • Cory Long

    Great article, has been a huge issue of confusion for our business. Can you share you’re source for these claims. In particularly “Sellers who email buyers who have opted out are not at risk unless they go through Seller Central attempting to bypass the block and send non-critical messages to shoppers who have opted out.”. This has been a huge issue with many amazon sellers. Can you provide a source as to why you believe that to be the case?

    • Paul Johnson

      Amazon has not officially given any statement on this, but our position is based on several sources in the industry, the content of the email itself and the shear volume of messages we deal with on Amazon on a daily basis. We work with tens of thousands of Amazon merchants and no one has alerted us to any policy violations from Amazon for anything like this. Also Amazon will typically alert us if there is something wrong with our system or not in compliance with their rules. Amazon did this when they changed the rules for reviews and has contacted us on a few other occasions. Amazon will also typically issue a broadcast in Seller Central when their policy changes. Amazon has not contacted us and has not updated any policy pages. Although things may change in the future we are comfortable with our position on the matter. Our main advice is to encourage Sellers not to attempt to by pass the opt out by going through buyer seller messaging. If we learn more we will of course keep everyone updated.

      • Cory Long

        We’ve received an official statement from an Amazon employee in my linked thread.


        I just wanted to give everybody an update on this issue.

        No accounts will be suspended for this, as we recognize that there is no way for you to gain access to this information. While the original response was strongly worded, this will be changing in the very near future, and the aspect of suspension will be removed from future messages.

        For now, our suggestion is keeping a list of the buyers for whom you receive these notifications, and add them to a blacklist for future communications. We are looking into ways to make this information available so that this workaround doesn’t have to be the primary way of tracking this data.

        We thank you all for your patience, and bringing this to our attention.”


        • Paul Johnson

          Awesome I’m going to add this to the main post. Also this is someone on the MWS team which is great because they can actually change the API to let us know if someone is opted out,

  • kavi antar

    Hello, If the only way to ask reviews is finished (cause more and more people will opt out..Its obvious) then how Amazon expect sellers to get reviews? and of course if no seller can ask reviews then all the reviews system that Amazon is so proud of, will be finished..Im just thinking how difficult it is right now to go out with a new product..

    • Paul Johnson

      Right now it’s a very small percentage of buyers who have opted-out, probably less than 5%. Buyers have been opting out of messages from Amazon for a long time they just added the seller messaging to the opt-out. The number may pick up but probably not too much.

      • Jake Martin

        Any update on that? Saw a 50% bounce rate in the past few days. Seems abnormally high as the opt out option is hidden in the menus. What are you seeing on your end?

        • Paul Johnson

          We have not seen anything near that high. We are currently aggregating the opt-out data we will be able share more information as we gather and analyze more data.

  • Ken from STL

    Good for us? What a crock… I’ve got customers that have asked us questions & amazon is blocking the replies. The stupidity is great with Amazon.
    On my second phone call now because I couldn’t understand “tim from dell customer support” on the first one. Just when I’m sick of eBay, Amazon makes me like them more again.
    Of course, the rep hadn’t heard of the problem before.
    She just came back & said they just received a memo on this subject that they haven’t read yet.

    OK, I just hung up with a great rep.
    She said buyers can opt out of ANY emails from sellers, including replies from questions or problems they are having, we can’t even answer from the seller central website.

    I was told to write an email to with my call ID, order number & my concerns.

    • Paul Johnson

      If a buyer messages you first you can just reply to the email and it should not be blocked. The message will be blocked if they have opted out and you send the first email.

      • Ken from STL

        I’ve already tried in the seller central website, it was also kicked back with the same blocked message” Rejected
        Message not delivered: Due to security reasons, we were not able to deliver this message.” Customer support verified this

        • Paul Johnson

          Not sure about that one? It seems like a different message than the opt-out message.

          • Ken from STL

            I was able to contact one of the customers by phone & he told me he didn’t remember opting out of anything recently. I buy a ton from Amazon & haven seen the ability to do it.
            Gotta love Amazon

          • Paul Johnson

            I think they actually had a place where buyers could opt-out but they just started honoring that opt-out.

          • MiklaDfar

            In my personal account, I can’t find the option anywhere. I fear that Amazon is randomly doing this for the buyers. The roll out of this could have been done a LOT better… IMHO.

      • Konstantyn

        We provide CRM service for Amazon sellers, and some sellers report us that they have received exactly this notification when tried to reply to the message.

        Notification itself states that “If you tried to respond to a buyer and received a message that the buyer has opted out of unsolicited seller messages, please respond to the buyer on the original message thread (instead of starting a new thread) and make sure that his or her original message is included in your reply.” However it is not completely clear how exactly include previous message and what headers should have reply email to be recognized by Amazon as reply.

        It would be very nice If someone can clarify this.

        • Paul Johnson

          If the buyer emails first you should be able to reply to their email thread and it will go through even if they are opted out. It you start a new message you will be blocked. If you are getting blocked trying to reply to a buyer I would contact seller support.

          • Konstantyn

            Thank you for the update Paul. That is clear and we already contacted support. I’ll post their reply once I’ll have it.

  • kavi antar

    what alternative..are u kidding..Its a been receiving every day like 6-10 emails of massages that didnt went through..question : Are you building a database of all the opt out customers? Can you pick them up within the feedback genius system? and is there something that I need or could do about it?

    • Paul Johnson

      We are building the data base. In the mean time you can set up an auto forward to black list customers who are opted-out.

      • Creative Spaces

        It makes sense that we all should not have to be dinged an email credit for this.

  • MiklaDfar

    How about posting the link to the TOS on this?

    • Paul Johnson

      There has been no TOS change but I just updated the post with an official comment from Amazon that Cory Long posted in the comment below.

  • Philip Holliday

    Thanks for this info – very easy to follow the instructions for forwarding to the blacklist.
    I too see this as a positive development for me as a seller – it will lessen my costs as I won’t be emailing as many people who have no intention of ever reading my emails. And people who don’t opt out are likely to be more responsive. And some sellers may stop emailing altogether, which means our customer service will stand out even more.

  • Jacob

    Does anybody know how buyers choose to opt-out/ in to these messages? It seems to me that opting-out is the default. We sent feedback for about 1300 orders and received 1300 messages from Amazon stating that the messages weren’t delivered. I find it hard to believe that everybody changed their messaging preferences in the first 2 days of this being an option. Thoughts?

    • Paul Johnson
      • Jacob

        Thanks, I checked that out this morning any my personal account’s preferences were to opt-out of all emails. I had never seen this menu before and I definitely have never chosen to opt-out of all messages. In fact, I like to receive a feedback request from sellers on Amazon. And now that I think of it, I haven’t received any feedback messages from sellers on my two most recent purchases which I placed late last week and early this week. Maybe my account automatically decided to opt-out of messages sometime this week?

        I had a few people in my office check their settings and 3 of them were opted out and 4 were opted in. None of them had even been in this menu before. Any ideas there?

      • Disqusr

        Hi Paul,
        Can you please let us know how you got to this preferences screen in the Amazon buyer interface?

  • Will


    Which email address does the auto-forwarded email have to come from to work with the Feedback Genius black list?

    The person responsible for Feedback Genius is using their email address to login to Feedback Genius. However, Amazon is sending the “Your email could not be delivered” email to a different email address. Gmail auto-forwarding thus forwards the email from a different email than is registered with Feedback Genius.

    As far as we can tell, at the moment Amazon does not have settings to set which email address receives the “Your email could not be delivered” message. Instead, Amazon sends it to the email address of the primary Seller Central account holder.

    Do we need to change the main Feedback Genius login email? One of the other email settings in Feedback Genius?


    Are we able to forward to our FeedbackGenius blacklist email from any email address? This is what we are currently doing but it does not seem to work. Attached is a screenshot of our settings in Gmail.

    • Paul Johnson

      You just need to forward the messages from to your FBG blacklist email. Then we will send you the gmail code to verify that forwarding address. Make sure you check your email on Feedback Genius for the code from gmail. You should not have to change anything on Amazon. If you need help doing this just contact our support team.

  • Daniel Odulo

    OK, this is wonderful – you have instructions for how to forward these (useless) “unable to deliver” Amazon notifications directly to your system to automatically add the customer to the black list. This is a wonderful service, which will make this (otherwise ridiculous) task relatively painless!

    OK, a stupid question for you – When we forward these notices to you, how would you know who to add to the black list, (considering these stupid notices do not contain any identifiable information on the customer nor the email message that triggered them?)

    • Paul Johnson

      These emails usually contain the order number.

      • Daniel Odulo

        No, they do not 🙁

  • Disqusr

    Paul – thank you for staying on this.
    The update is very significant for us as more than a couple of our standard messages fall into the block-able category.

    Our simple message repertoire is as follows, sequentially:
    1- Order Thank You (first order only)
    2- Order is shipped, here’s how to setup your product (first order only)
    3- Order delivered: Here is the setup you now have to perform (first order only)
    4- How did everything go? (4 days after delivery, first order only)
    5- Thank you for positive feedback, please rate us (1 day after positive feedback)

    So, our customers received 1-4 on their first purchase and 5 only if they leave a positive seller feedback.

    Repeat users only get (5) if they leave another positive seller feedback.

    We received many praises for excellent order follow-through and support thanks to these emails. There were only a couple users dissing the emails but but overall it was clearly working well.

    Out of these messages, we consider (3) to be very important.

    Now, because of excessive pestering of some sellers, Amazon is tightening the vise for all of us.

    We are planning on radical action, removing emails 1, 2, and 4 completely, even for first time buyers. We’ll also forward bounces to
    >>> Email #3 is one we really would love to send for the first order only <<<
    IF you can automate the delivery of that – as it qualifies for "setup instructions" exempt from restrictions. If you can add a facility to help us punch through that – we'll use it very sparingly, at our own risk.

    Looking forward to your thoughts…

    • Paul Johnson

      Currently the only way to send messages to opted out buyers is through Seller Central, so you would have to do that manually. We think Amazon will eventually allow a way to tag what type of email you are sending but currently that is not the case.

  • Sean Berry

    It was my understanding that the buyer email is specially encrypted to each seller. How would forwarding opt-out notifications contribute to a global database if every email is different?

    • Cory Checketts

      Because the encrypted email address is still unique to each buyer. We can match the order IDs to the encrypted addresses to identify buyers who have opted out.

  • US Sales

    What does “Ignore Global Blacklist” actually do? I clicked on the link that said “read about this here” which took me to this article. However I’m not sure what effect leaving this setting on or off actually has on the emails that are sent out.

    • Cory Checketts

      Toggling the Ignore Global Blacklist filter to “Yes” will send the message to all customers regardless of whether they are on the Global Blacklist (one caveat- the message would NOT be sent to customers who opted out of third party emails via Amazon’s settings, as those messages are blocked by Amazon). One reason you may choose this setting is if you send messages with an instruction manual or some other pertinent information pertaining to the order. Contrastingly, if you select “No,” Feedback Genius will not attempt to send that message to any recipients on the Global Blacklist. – LoriAnne FBG

  • Dor

    Paul do you have any update stats regarding the opt out percentage?

    • Dor

      We are seeing a great increase in the number of email we are getting from Amazon with “Your message to a buyer could not be delivered”.

      From what I can see in our case its already about 25% of the buyers who choose to opt out, this is very devastating.
      If this numbers are going to growth tools like Feedback Genius are going to be vanish……

      • Cory Checketts

        Thanks for sharing your experience. We’re monitoring this situation very close and we’ll update our customers when we know more.

    • Cory Checketts

      We don’t have those figures at the moment. From what we’ve seen, it’s not very high.

  • Fellios

    Under what criteria does contacting customer about return reason fall? Critical or non-critical?