Why Buying an Email List is a Horrible Idea

Published: 19-Jan-2022
Last Updated: 09-Jan-2022
Why Buying an Email List is a Horrible Idea

You should NEVER buy an email address list. It might seem like a time and money-saving idea, but it is the opposite. It is a spammy tactic that will displease ESPs (Email Service Providers) and email recipients. 

Here's what other industry leaders are saying about buying email lists:

"It is actually a huge waste of money." - Opt-in Monster

"Email list buying is always a bad idea." - Hubspot 

"Growing your database in this way is actually a terrible idea." - SendinBlue

Now, let's discuss why it's a waste of money and a terrible way to fill your sales pipeline. 

Quality Email Marketing Lists are Built, not Bought 🚮

Quality spelled out in board game pieces.

Purchased, or non opt-in lists, are notoriously known for their poor quality. These lists often contain bad/dead email addresses. Even if these lists contain zero bad email addresses, a lot of these "leads" are not going to be relevant to your business. We don't care what the website says.

Buying a list may seem like a great way to quickly spread the word about your business, but it's not because it provides you with a list of contacts that haven't been qualified. Since the "leads" aren't qualified, your team will need to either spend time qualifying the leads or resort to sending generic emails to the entire list. The latter is the preferred tactic of email marketers who buy lists because they believe they can shortcut their way to email marketing success. '

Additionally, purchased lists often contain spam trap addresses.

Spam trap addresses are used by blacklist companies to identify spammers.

There are two main types: pristine and recycled.

Pristine Spam Trap Addresses: Invalid email addresses embedded in the code of a website. These email addresses are designed to trap spammers using illegal email-harvesting techniques. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and blacklist companies are much less understanding of "marketers" who send emails to pristine trap addresses. 

Recycled Spam Trap Addresses: Abandoned valid emails that linger on email lists. This type of email address is commonly found on legitimate email marketers' lists who don't routinely clean their email list(s). 

Email Marketing Software Won't Allow It 🚫

Person clicks send in email marketing software.

A reputable email service provider will NOT let you use a purchased/non-opt-in mailing list. For example, companies like ActiveCampaign, CampaignMonitor, and Mailchimp have policies published against buying email lists.

ESPs are forced to take strong stances on buying lists/spam tactics because users send email campaigns over their servers. This means that users sending spam via a particular email service provider are potentially damaging their fellow users' deliverability.

Obviously, it is in an ESPs best interest to not be known as a spam factory and keep their servers' deliverability rates high. ESPs may close the account or sue spam policy abusers. 

Email Deliverability & Sender Reputation 📪

Business team analyzes email marketing data.

Sending bulk email to a list of email addresses purchased on the internet is a great way to decrease the likelihood that email subscribers will receive your legitimate future emails. 

Individuals who have the misfortune of their email address landing on a list available for online purchase probably receive a constant stream of unsolicited emails. With this nuisance, they are also likely fed up with their inbox's current state and are very familiar with how to report an email as spam. 

Email recipients reporting an email as spam can be disastrous for future marketing efforts. A large number of spam complaints, especially in a short period of time, can result in the offender's IP Address being blacklisted. Blacklists are one of the many tools that ISPs use to prevent spam from reaching inboxes. If you find yourself blacklisted, the deliverability rates of your email marketing campaigns will tank.

It's Illegal  👮‍♂️

Sending mass email to a purchased list may result in a fine.

Last but not least, sending bulk commercial email messages to non-subscribers, or those who haven't opted-in, is illegal. Consent to Contact/Opting-in is at the heart of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation.

Email marketers who use illegally gathered emails also face the possibility of being fined $16,000 per email address. That would be a fun day at the office! Email marketers should be familiar with email and data privacy regulations, such as GDPR, CAN-SPAM Act, etc. that govern their profession and work within these guidelines.

Wrap Up

It's not worth it! List-selling companies are taking advantage of marketers and business owners looking for shortcuts to business success. Unfortunately, email marketing has very few, if any, shortcuts. All that to say, the best way to build a healthy email list is the hard way! 

Building your email database legitimately and legally takes time, but quality opt-in email lists pay dividends for your business. Everyone wants to have a large list, and although having a large list is great, it's more important to have an engaged list. 

List-purchasing companies sending unsolicited emails will end up wasting their time sending marketing emails that are ultimately diverted to the spam folder. 

Engaged lists are filled with individuals who want to be subscribers and they look forward to hearing from your business. If they aren't already loyal customers, they are much more likely to turn into loyal customers than any "lead" you acquire on buyemailmarketinglists.com. Basically what we're trying to drive home is this: If you click the link, we have failed you.


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We've got plenty of articles that discuss many of the topics that we'll talk about over the phone!

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