Why Buying or Selling Email Lists is Against Email Marketing Best Practices

21 Oct 2008

Ryan Allis

Ryan Allis is the CEO and co-founder of iContact, a leading on-demand email marketing service. As CEO, he's managed iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with more than 90 employees and 25,000 customers worldwide. In 2005, Ryan was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25." Ryan is also the author book Zero to One Million: How I Built a Company To $1 Million in Sales and How You Can Too, published by McGraw-Hill. As an email marketing expert, Ryan will provide guidance in his blog posts on how to enhance and improve your online marketing campaigns.

The market for buying and selling email lists has taken a dramatic downturn. According to the latest in Worldata’s List Price Index, the market has seen the biggest decline in over 20 years for the exchange of business-to-business and business-to-consumer email lists.

 So after all, why is buying or selling email lists against email marketing best practices? For one, it is risky.  Having a list of recipients who have not given you permission to send them emails or opt-in to your lists, have no true affinity or association with your brand. Continually, many email marketers would suggest there has never been a significant return on any bought or sold lists.

When creating your email lists it is best to build them organically through other brand marketing channels. By using permission-based email marketing, you gain the trust of your audience and protect their right against SPAM. iContact does not accept customers who currently use bought or sold lists.

 Thanks for reading and I will be back soon to discuss more tips on email marketing.