Should I email existing customers if they didn't 'opt-in' to receive email?


I have about 2000 users of my first product. When they bought (over the past 3 years), I didn't have any checkbox on my order page asking if they wanted to receive notifications or updates from my business. I now find myself shipping product number 2, and want to tell my users of product 1 about it, and offer them a discount on the sale price.

My question: Is it legal for me to email them about product number 2 in the absence of explicit permission to email them. Or is my customer contact list now worthless to me?

Update: Just thought I'd give an update. I took the advice given and emailed all 2000 users, with the appropriate 'unsubscribe' links and full contact info. Response was great: no one complained about receiving the email, new website's been busy for 2 days, and sales have been coming in as a result. Very positive result.

Marketing Software Legal

asked Aug 14 '11 at 20:09
Carlton D
38 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • I don't think you did the best thing possible, however you should not have any problems. The rule is that you can email asking to visit a link if they want to receive your emails, not if they don't want. In Europe you could actually email anyone asking if they want to find out about your offer. However, such an email cannot contain any description of your offer or links to your websites. You can only state your name, name of the businnes, what kind of business it is and ask, whether the addressee wants to receive your offers. :) – Lukeshek 12 years ago
  • Any links to back that up lukeshek? – Ryan 12 years ago

4 Answers


  • Absolutely
You have a business relation with them. It's possible you will need to send out product updates, security alerts, etc. AS WELL as other marketing, cross-selling, up-selling promotions.

The key is to ensure you have an opt-out of your emails to them. I would just put them on your mailing list and just make sure they have a way to get off. You will be in compliance as long as you follow the other CAN SPAM regulations such as: Including your business name, address, contact information, opt-out option in every email.

answered Aug 14 '11 at 23:02
Ryan Doom
5,472 points
  • That's great. Thanks. – Carlton D 13 years ago


It is ok - especialyl if yuo do it ONCE and ONLY once and with an opt in.

All this opt in / opt out to a LARGE degree is for pure non-solicitated communication, legally. Heck, if you find a critical bug security wise in your product you even have a legal obligation to inform them if you knwo about them.

As they bought something, there obviously is a specific amount of interest and legal busienss you have with them. This takes out most anti spam rules.

I would put in a one time mailing with an opt in link for regular updates.

answered Aug 14 '11 at 22:34
Net Tecture
11 points
  • Perfect - Thanks. – Carlton D 13 years ago


It is a good idea to put on your terms and conditions that any new clients would also be automatically subscribed to ongoing email marketing used by the company.

answered Feb 14 '12 at 05:46
Dj Son99
11 points


This depends where you business is located. If you are in the EU then you risk a €10,000 fine per email sent.

Privacy is everything and costs nothing

answered Aug 16 '11 at 00:40
11 points

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