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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2224 - February 16, 2010 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 4

Amazon to Hide Email Addresses in Buyer-Seller Communications

By Ina Steiner
February 16, 2010

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Amazon.com is making a change to its Communication Manager, a system that facilitates email communication between buyers and sellers in the Amazon marketplace. Buyers and sellers may continue to use standard email providers such as Yahoo and Hotmail, but Amazon will hide real buyer and seller email addresses; all sellers and buyers will be assigned an Amazon email alias. According to the announcement, "All communication will be stored and available for review in case of disputes."

Communication Manager is currently enabled for the first email message between buyer and seller. Amazon.com said its objectives with the changes are to:

  • Increase the privacy and security of buyer-to-seller communication.
  • Resolve disputes faster and better by ensuring that reviewers have access to all buyer-seller communications.
  • Reduce the number of A-Z claims filed by encouraging and verifying pre-claim buyer/seller communication.
  • Eliminate unnecessary contacts during claims investigations.

In a FAQ, Amazon.com told sellers, "All messages that are received by Amazon will be delivered to the buyer or you will be notified about the failure (e.g. bounce backs)."

In a discussion-board thread about the announcement, a seller based in the UK said the system had been introduced there last year, and seemed to be working all right: "One advantage would seem to be that in contested A-Z claims Amazon will have access to all the emails which passed between buyer and seller, potentially bad news for scammers. And a "messages" link on the Seller Account page gives sellers access to all the messages they have sent/received."

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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