Thinking of Buying an Email List?

Thinking of Buying an Email List?
Dear Email Marketers,

You do know this is a bad idea, right? What? You don’t?

Maybe you’re new to the email marketing community. Or maybe you’ve been chatting with the Wrong Sort of Marketers.

And maybe you believe the promise that these leads specifically requested information just like yours.

News flash: they didn’t.

It’s time to set the story straight. Here’s what’s really going on.

Think about it – have you ever requested that your email address be spread far and wide so you could get a slammed with a ton of new, random email offers?

Yeah. Neither has anyone else. And yet list vendors have huge databases of names and email addresses. So the question is…

Where Do Those Addresses Come From?

Basically, any address left lying around the web can end up in those databases.

Vendors scrape them off old lists. They pick them off web sites. They collect contact lists from conferences. They advertise free products, then stockpile the information that respondents provide.

Which means the people you’re emailing may not be remotely interested in your topic. And even if the vendor did use legitimate subscription tactics, none of these people expect to hear from you.

Some of you are nodding – you see the problem.

Others are rolling their eyes, thinking,”Yes, but I need customers,” your fingers itching to toggle back over to that list supply site.

Well, keep those fingers steady for one more minute. The problem won’t just be your recipients’ – it’ll be yours, too.

If You Buy That List

Sending to a bulk list might not mean a one-way ticket to the spam house – the first time, at least. But it will at a minimum mean a lot of unpleasantness. Here’s why:

  1. The addresses on those lists get sold to all kinds of marketers. So they get all kinds of mail. So, they lodge all kinds of spam complaints. If ISPs like Gmail and Hotmail notice, they might put you on a blacklist, blocking your emails from all their users in the future.
  2. Because of the way these lists are compiled, many of the addresses you receive will be misspelled, abandoned or non-existent. When a big chunk of your emails goes to such addresses, ISPs, again, might notice. Again, they might block all future emails from you. List merchants know this. It’s such a sure thing, they even offer a refund of credit for those addresses up-front.
  3. And if you’re sending through an email service provider and you get blocked, other messages they send from the same IP address could also be blocked. So you’ll actually find that no reputable ESP will let you import a purchased list anyway.
  4. Finally, let’s talk sales. Aren’t they the ultimate purpose of your emails? Unprepared recipients aren’t likely to think, “Oh gosh, I was just hoping for yet another offer from a company I don’t know! Let me click over to their site and buy something!”
    If you were hoping to sell to this list, you might want to adjust your expectations.

So yes, perhaps you’ll have a very large list for a few minutes. But after the bounces, spam complaints and lack of response, you’re likely to find yourself worse off than when you started.

Plus, you’ll be associated with spam. Is that how you want to spend your marketing budget?

A Better Plan

Okay, you’re saying. I get your point. But I still need to make sales, and I need people to sell to.

We get that. So we’ve written up lots of ideas for building your list. They’re simple, they’re above-board, and they work.

In the words of our Import Specialist, Chase Kramer, “What’s really important isn’t sending to a bunch of people that aren’t all that interested and hoping for a few sales. It’s positioning yourself so that a month from now, a year from now, two years from now and beyond, the sales are coming to you.”

And beyond the sales, you’ll find you have something immeasurably valuable: a list of people who are truly interested in what you have to offer – your own village of customers.


Amanda & the AWeber Team