Why You Shouldn’t Buy an Email Marketing List


Sometimes you might feel a bit tempted to buy an email marketing list. I understand. It’s like taking a shortcut instead of doing the entire marathon.

However, like in almost anything, you shouldn’t take shortcuts to your goal to be really healthy.

What seems easier becomes a source of serious complications around the corner.

We could sum up the entire explanation in just one sentence: you don’t have their direct permission to send them emails.

However, you might need a little more incentive to do the right thing.

Legal Implications if you Buy an Email Marketing List

It depends on the geographies of your business, personal residence or your users’ locations. Nevertheless, some regions are very strict, and even if you live in other areas, if you’re reaching people outside your area, you’ll feel the impact.

In Europe, for instance, you have the new revamped GDPR law that is very specific about how you handle personal data, and the fines are pretty huge. In Canada, you have Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which brought some order to spam-related emails.

In a nutshell, if you send unsolicited emails, you can be charged with fines and even judicial restrictions.

The CAN-SPAM Act in the US is a bit more permissive. You can send emails without prior permission; however, you must obey opt-out demands and be completely transparent about your brand, address, etc.

Don't Buy an Email List

Technical Implications if You Buy an Email List

Even though legal problems can be severe, the technical implications can also be very serious to your business. Imagine that you buy an email list filled with incorrect, obsolete data. Then, you shoot it through your server, IP address or domain name as the sender.

If your Hosting Provider or ESP (Email Service Providers) notice significant bounce-back rates and spam complaints, you’ll be blocked. Even browsers can start flagging your domain name as a malicious site. The impact on your business can be severe. And it has nothing to do with if you’re doing things legally or not. Each platform has its own rules, and we must obey them.

Additionally, even if you’ve got an email list all cleaned up of errors, you can still be caught by SPAM Traps and other flags made by ESPs.

Brand Implications if You Buy an Email List

The short and only answer to this is DON’T.

Put yourself into your recipient’s shoes. Out of nowhere, an email comes into your inbox.

“Wait a minute. I don’t know this brand. How have they got my email in the first place? Who gave them the right to email me? Humm… let’s click this spam button.”

Ok, it might be all that linear, but it’s more probable than not that they won’t be pleased to see your message. It’s a bad start to any relationship.

First, you need to entice them to your brand and communication flow. Only then it’s proper to start talking with them directly.

If you make a wrong first impression, it will make it harder to create a good brand reputation.