The Ultimate Guide to Buying Opt-In Email Lists by @wittlake — B2B Digital Marketing

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Email List Sellers
Are you looking to grow your B2B marketing database by buying an opt-in list? This is everything you need to know:

If someone offers to sell you an opt-in email list, don’t even respond. Just walk away.

It’s that simple.

You have the only list of people who have opted in to receive email from you. They don’t!

No one opted in with a random list company to receive emails from you. Period.

It doesn’t matter if the email address was collected legally, or even if the privacy policy connected to a form they filled out saying their information would be freely shared with anyone who asked for it. They certainly were not opting in to receive emails from you.

When you send marketing emails to a purchased list, it doesn’t matter how the list was created, you are spamming.

What Are You Really Buying?

When you buy an “opt-in” list, at best you are buying a list of email addresses that opted in to receive emails from some media company, newsletter vendor, event organizer, or similar. At best.

But with no trail back to the original opt-in request, why would a vendor bother to purchase a list of people who ever opted-in for anything? It’s far less expensive to purchase addresses in bulk. Or to scrape them from forums. Or to manufacture them with a dictionary. The list is then tested, bounces are (hopefully) removed, and its sold to you with a nice round deliverability guarantee.

No, not every list provider builds their lists this way. But if they already claimed it is an opt-in list, how much are you going to trust them?

I recently responded to a few of the offers from list providers, below is an excerpt from one of the exchanges:

Vendor’s initial email: “we have built over 40 million+ contacts with permissions” and then “all email lists are fresh and opt in.” The email then listed a number of sources, including websites, public records, corporate & executive registers, and SEC listings.

Me: “how do you get opt ins from all the sources you list here?”

Vendor: “We are business data compilers… all information is derived from proprietary, self-reported data or sources of public record.”

The response didn’t mention an opt-in or permission process, despite the initial claim. None of them did, because they don’t do it.

List sources like public records or SEC listings indicate they are collecting free data from sites or documents, and then selling it to you as an opt-in email list.

You are spamming if you gather email addresses from sites, forums and public documents and start sending marketing emails. Buying the same list from someone else won’t change that.

Just Say No

When you get an email from a company claiming they have millions of opt-in B2B email addresses, your spidey sense should kick in. Where did the data come from? Did you opt in to their mailing list? How did your email address end up on their list anyway?

You can’t buy an opt-in email list. Stop before you get burned.

Photo Credit: Anonymous9000 via Flickr cc

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