When building your email campaign, you should only send your emails to subscribers who consented or opted-in to receive your emails. If you ever come across an offer to purchase a list of email subscribers - don't do it! Purchasing an email list can lead to poor returns on engagement and can damage your mailing reputation for a long time. In addition, it is against the law - buying email lists violates privacy and anti-spam laws in multiple countries.
Why to Avoid Buying Email Lists
1. Email Service Providers Prohibit Purchased Lists
Most email service providers (ESPs) will ask up front if your email list is "opted-in", meaning those on the list opted-in to specifically receive emails from your company, and some ESPs will ask list members to opt-in a second time.
ESPs monitor the emails sent to their system and they will find out if you are sending emails to a questionable list. Since ESPs depend on having a good sender reputation on their end, they abide by their rules very seriously.
2. Purchased Lists Have Higher Bounce Rates
A purchased list is likely to contain poor-quality subscribers. Of the addresses that are still active, most will be old and not actively monitored.
If you send to a purchased list full of unused contacts, you’ll see higher bounce rates and the overall campaign stats will be underwhelming since a majority of the list is likely to be undeliverable. If your deliverability rating gets too low, then fewer of your emails will reach your subscribers' inboxes.
3. Users May Mark Your Emails as Spam
Since the users on a purchased list did not opt-in to your email list, then they may likely not have any idea who you are. If a user sees an email from a sender that they don't recognize, then they are more likely to mark your email as "spam".
The industry standard for these kinds of complaints is .02% of all recipients (about 1 in every 5,000). If your emails receive too many spam complaints from recipients, then you may be in danger of having your Email Marketing services deactivated. Therefore, you will want to avoid spam complaints as much as possible.
4. It is Unlawful
Most countries have laws against sending out unsolicited bulk email, such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States. The CAN-SPAM Act also forbids purchasing email lists, so by doing so, you would be in violation.
In addition, you could also violate the rules set by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which protects internet users in the European Union. The GDPR requires that you must obtain explicit consent from contacts to send them emails. Since subscribers on a purchased list do not consent to receive your emails, then you would be in violation of the law.
How to Correctly Build an Email List
The best way to gather contacts for your email list is to collect them organically and ensure that you have their consent to send them emails. When building your email list and sending your email campaigns, we always recommend following email marketing best practices.
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