Tell A Friend Forms Are Not Opt-In

…and are not in any way permitted for use with AWeber.

We’ve been getting a lot of questions this week about Tell a Friend forms due to several large product launches, including Viral Friend Generator, Viral Friend Dominator and TAFPro.

We have information in our Knowledge Base about Tell a Friend and why we don’t permit it to be used with AWeber accounts.

However, due to the high number of inquiries about this we’re putting it here too, since this is a more prominent part of our site.

What’s a Tell a Friend Form?

A Tell a Friend (TAF) form is one where someone visiting a site enters the email address of one or more other people (in theory, their friends) that they believe would be interested in receiving information from that site.

Those people (the “friends”) are then sent one or more messages from the website owner.

Why Can’t I Use Tell a Friend Forms?

The problem with such Tell-a-Friend forms is that the person whose email address is entered never requested that information, and as a result, any email messages sent to them would be unsolicited.

It doesn’t matter if it’s only one “invitation” message, or if you’re using Confirmed Opt-In. Sending unsolicited email messages to people is spamming. And spam isn’t welcome at AWeber.

So My Subscribers Can’t Refer Others to My List?

They can, and we do recommend that you take advantage of referral/word-of-mouth marketing, but you need to do it in a way that still gets everyone’s permission before you start emailing them.

What we recommend as an alternative is adding a section to your messages that:

  • Encourages Subscribers to Pass the Message to Others
  • Tells People How to Sign Up to Your List

That way, your subscribers can forward your messages themselves to their friends, rather than generating a message sent by you through some sort of form.

Their friends can then easily sign up for your list by following the instructions in your message. If their friends have a problem with being sent that message, they take it up with your subscribers (who forwarded them the message) instead of with you.

For Example…

Here’s a snippet you might include in your messages:

Thanks for reading!If you know someone who could benefit from this, feel free to forward it to them!

Not a subscriber yet? Like what you’ve read? Sign up to get future issues delivered straight to you:

Until next time!

Referrals are a great tool for building your list, provided you get them in an opt-in fashion.Tell a Friend isn’t.

[UPDATE:] While a lot of you have submitted constructive comments, there have been a number of less constructive and, frankly, downright rude comments sent in as well. So we’ve closed the comments on this post.

You don’t have to agree with our position on TAF. But we do expect you to respect it, as we respect your opinion. If you feel that TAF is a necessary element to your marketing, that’s fine, and your decision to make. Just understand that it’s not at all something that can be done with AWeber, so you need to seek out another email solution if you’re going to use TAF.

We hope that you’ll take our post and follow up comments here into consideration when evaluating the use of TAF in your marketing efforts. Thank you! Tom Kulzer, AWeber CEO & Founder]