Can I use this list?

There are a lot of ways to collect subscribers, and we encourage you to be creative in building your list.

However, not every email address that comes across your desk represents someone asking to be subscribed to your list.

To help guide you, we've put together this list of situations where you may end up with an email address, and whether or not addresses that you get that way should be added to your AWeber account.

If you have a situation that you feel isn't covered by any of these, contact our Support Team with details and we'll be happy to advise you.

Situation OK?   Why?

People are coming to your website and entering their email addresses to get the specific information that you are going to be sending via AWeber.


Check mark yes

Perfect! This is the most typical use of an AWeber account and exactly what we like to see. Permission is directly given, and clear expectations are being set and followed.

You bought a list of "business opportunity seekers," "fresh optin leads" or any other type of list.


No dash

Lists purchased from anywhere would not be allowed within AWeber. As we are a consent-based service, any subscriber that you are bringing into the system would have had to agree to receive specific, relevant information from you directly.

With a purchased list, no matter where they are found, they do not have any of those permissions and have no audit trail that we can follow to see how they were collected. Such lists will never be allowed within AWeber and importing them could get your account terminated as these lists violate our terms of service.

You meet Joe at a business lunch, conference, etc. After talking, you realize that you may be a good fit to do business together in the future. So you exchange business cards.


No dash

While you're perfectly free to contact someone like this through your personal email, adding them to an AWeber list assumes they wanted to subscribe to an organized mailing list. When this permission isn't given, sending them anything from a bulk mailer would be considered spam.

You can always invite them to subscribe your list at any time, at which point if they agree, you would be able to add them.

You connect with Joe on LinkedIn, Facebook or another social network.


No dash

Being connected through a social media service like LinkedIn, Facebook or any social network is not the same as having permission to send them emails. Just like the previous scenario, if you invite them directly to join your list, that's perfectly fine, but you can't assume permission just because of social network connections.

You run a contest to win a free lunch. You set up a fishbowl and people drop their business cards in it to enter.


No dash

Since there isn't any notice given to people that they would be emailed by you by entering this contest, you wouldn't want to add such subscribers to AWeber. Remember that people would always have to know what they are signing up for beforehand.

You set up a fishbowl for people to subscribe to your newsletter. You state that each month one new subscriber will win a free lunch.


Check mark yes

This is the correct way to collect the subscribers from the situation above. They'll be expecting emails from you and that is what you will be providing. Such subscriber lists are fine to import.

You've been using an online opt-in form or in-store signup sheet to collect addresses for some time now, but you've never done anything with those addresses. Now you're ready to.


Caution triangle

This is going to depend on how long you have had them, as someone who signed up last week and someone who gave their email address two years ago are not equal.

Permission is specific: subscribers are asking a specific person - you - for a specific piece of information, at a specific time. As time passes, so does their interest and the likelihood that email is still being used.

If it's been more than a couple months since someone has been contacted, that permission is stale. If it's less than that, you would be fine.

Keeping addresses separated or organized by date can help make this process easier. If you have a list where older and newer addresses are intermingled together, it is often safer to toss the entire list than import. The longer it has been since the initial contact, the less likely the person will remember what they signed up for, and more likely that they may mark your email as spam, or their address may bounce messages from being outdated, which can all damage your deliverability.

You go to a trade show. Prior to the trade show or after, the organizer provides you a list of the attendees and their contact information.


No dash

As these lists are handed out to multiple people, they are not specifically agreeing to subscribe to your list. So you will not want to import them into AWeber.

You go to a trade show. At your booth, you provide a signup sheet, or a box/bowl for people to drop their card in specifically to get on your list.


Check mark yes

Unlike the situation above, these subscribers are agreeing to receive information from you directly so they are perfectly acceptable to import.

You're a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, and you're provided a list of the other members and their contact information.


No dash

If people haven't requested information from you, don't add them to your list, regardless of whether or not they're a fellow business owner in your area. Having an available email address does not mean you have permission to send to them.

You export your Contact List from Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.


Caution triangle

Permission isn't taken, it is given. Don't just add people to your list because you have their email address. Add them if they gave it to you in order to get on your list and want to receive information from you.

You own a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, etc. On each table, you leave a pencil and a card offering your newsletter.


Check mark yes

Just like the fishbowl signup - as long as people are leaving their email address specifically to get on your list, that's perfect.

You offer email support on your website, have a comment box or have a comment section for your blog or page.


No dash

They may have had a question about your product, but they didn't ask to be subscribed to your list. Adding them to one isn't a good way to build trust and credibility.

When you reply to support emails, use your signature line to include a link to your opt-in form.

You're in charge of a group of coworkers who are working on a project. You want to use AWeber to send them notices about meetings, changes in schedule, and other related information.


Caution triangle

Coworkers or not, anyone who you email with AWeber must ask you for that information specifically. Spam complaints from coworkers are just as serious to ISPs and to us as complaints from any other subscribers.

Make sure that you personally check with each member of your team and get their permission prior to importing them into your AWeber account.

You have a list of email addresses you collected from Facebook fans and Twitter followers, who you think would want to receive your email newsletter too.


Caution triangle

You would still want to ask your viewers if they'd like to get your newsletter, directing them to a form on your site to sign up. But don't add them without specific permission since being a fan or follower does not itself mean they agreed to be emailed by you.

You were provided some subscribers with a program you're working with in order to help get you started.


No dash

Much the same with purchased lists, ones provided to you as part of package or otherwise would not be allowed within our system as we would have no idea where those subscribers came from. Even if they have shown interest in the program overall, they would need to sign up to receive information from you in particular.

You participated in a giveaway with others and were provided with a list of emails that had entered this contest.


Caution triangle

This will depend on the nature of the giveaway. If your content is all that was sponsored in the giveaway and subscribers were informed they would be added to your list, that's fine.

If you took part along with others in that giveaway and the list was shared among the group, you would not want to import those into AWeber. Subscribers need to sign up to receive information from you directly, and in these cases the lists are being shared with multiple people. Since they aren't signing up to hear from you directly, you would not want to import them.


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