Should you buy marketing email lists or not?

Buying marketing email lists to get an instant list of leads without all the work of getting anyone to come to your website and elect to subscribe to your emails might sound great, especially when you are an affiliate marketer who just start out.

You need traffic to convert into buyers, preferably fast.

But you are a "small fish in the pond", so taking a shortcut on this process by buying marketing email lists might be the solution.

So, is buying marketing email lists a good idea?

No, it is not.

Usually those lists are outdated and irrelevant. There is little engagement, and zero sales to expect.

You will waste time and money.

Many companies who sell or rent out email lists have termed themselves “list brokers” and make promises to expertly curate a list of targeted, opted-in contacts to meet your business’s specific needs and goals.

The data that these “brokers” are providing may have opted-in to receive emails from a company, but not your company.

Or worse, it was illegally taken from a website, and you have no way to verify any of it.

Email marketing service providers doesn't like it.

Well-known email marketing service providers (also called autoresponders) are strict with purchased lists.

Here is what HubSpot says :

"You work with a list provider to find and purchase a list of names and email addresses based on demographic and/or psychographic information. For example, you might purchase a list of 50,000 names and email addresses of people who live in Minnesota and don't have children. There are several sustainable ways to use email marketing to grow your business. This isn't one of them."

MailChimp has to say this :

"As a permission-based service, purchased lists violate our Terms of Use and don't generally result in opens and clicks for your campaigns. These addresses could also result in higher bounce and abuse rates, which can damage your sending reputation."

Finally, let's look what GetResponse has to say:

"Believe it or not, people still ask me the following question: where can I buy a good quality email list? The short answer is very simple: please don’t! You shouldn’t ever purchase an email list."

Is this even legal?

While FTC (Federal Trade Commission USA) is not saying explicitly that it is illegal they warn us that buying email lists can be risky.

"The CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t require initiators of commercial email to get recipients’ consent before sending them commercial email. In other words, there is no opt-in requirement. So in general, as long as you follow the “initiator” requirements of the Act, you can send email until the recipient asks to opt out. But buying lists like that can be risky. There is the possibility that addresses on the list belong to people who have already opted out of receiving email from your company. And there’s a risk that the list was put together using illegal means like address harvesting or dictionary attacks. Therefore, some companies choose to send marketing email only to people who have affirmatively asked to receive them or with whom the company already has a business relationship." (Source :FTC)

Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $43,280, so non-compliance can be costly.

In May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in Europe.

In the instance of email marketing, if you are a US business or based outside of Europe but you have customers who live in the EU, you must be GDPR-compliant.

For email marketers, consent is the number one key to GDPR compliance.

A customer must actively consent to opt in to your email marketing

In Canada, sending commercial electronic messages without consent, including email, social media and text messages are forbidden according to their Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL)

In conclusion

They should build your relationship with buyers on trust.

With buying email lists, you build a relationship with an user that is missing this foundation.

Does buying an email list still sound good?

All the best,


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