Email Marketing Tip: Best Practice is Not to Purchase Email Lists

I must have gotten 4 or 5 emails in the past 7 days from various Email List Providers asking me if I would be interested in purchasing email lists for our client’s email marketing campaigns. Each one claimed that the lists contained targeted email addresses of people that are 100% opted-in. I politely emailed each one of them and told them that it is not in our best interest or our client’s to purchase email lists nor is it a best practice to do so. Some of them even replied back. One in particular had an interesting response:

“Nice to hear that… Best of Luck with your research and direct mailing”

Either the response was a sarcastic one or they truly do believe what I am saying is right and do wish me luck in my campaigns. For the first part, we at MarketNet have a successful track record of helping companies launch email marketing campaigns that includes distribution to targeted and opted-in lists that were built from scratch. It does not require research, just a solid set of goals and objectives and a strong strategy to back it up.

Here are a few valid arguments for not purchasing email lists:

Valid Argument #1

Think About:  How old is the email list you are considering to buy? How often is the list filtered for bad addresses? 

Argument:   I got an email from a company on April 23rd and person was trying to sell me an email list that was last updated on April 4, 2011. From the time it was last updated until now, a lot of things could have changed such as email address changing or account deactivation. Buying this list could possibly mean having email addresses that bounce back undelivered.

Valid Argument #2

Think About:: Email List provider claims that the list you can purchase contains email addresses that are 100% targeted and specific to your needs and are people who have opted-in to receive information from third party vendors. They also claim that each list complies with CAN-SPAM Policy. What does 100% targeted and opted-in mean in general terms? Can it really be?

Argument: How many of these people will actually remember signing up for third-party information? If they remember great. But, if they don’t remember, the end result is that the individual would either delete the email, spam filter it and/or unsubscribe. You just lost some money.

Argument: CAN-SPAM Policy states that you must opt-in each individual on your email list. So, in order to comply with the policy, you will have to opt-in each individual all over again, wasting valuable time. 


Don’t waste your money or valuable time in trying to make purchased lists work for your email marketing campaign. It is definitely not an Email Marketing Best Practice. 

If a unique value proposition can be created that will catch the attention of potential email subscribers, you will have no problem in getting your email subscriber list to grow. In addition, there are numerous other tips that can help you increase the number of email subscribers without having to resort to buying purchased lists. Read our past article, “10 Tips for Growing Your Email Subscribers“.

About Ankush Agarwal

Ankush Agarwal is a Senior Search Marketing Analyst for MarketNet, Inc. a Dallas-based Interactive Marketing, Web Design & Development Company. He has experience working with clients in a wide range of Industries that include: Travel, Pharmaceutical, Luxury Retail, Food, Trucking, Legal, Real Estate, Health Care, Senior Living and many others. In addition to his expertise in Search Marketing, he has other areas of expertise that include: Strategic Development, Paid Search Marketing & Management, Email Marketing, Social Media and Affiliate Programs. Ankush holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications from the University of Texas at Arlington and an MBA degree in Global Business from the University of Dallas in Irving and has been in the Interactive Marketing field since 1997. View all posts by Ankush Agarwal
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