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Pity the Poor Souls Who Buy Compiled Lists of Email Addresses
#1
To begin with, compilers of email lists don't actually sell their lists, they merely "rent" them to you, typically for a one-time use. Don't get me wrong, not every rented email address list is a waste of money. There are legitimate organizations that occasionally buy email list rent the email addresses of their members - usually only after reviewing the content of the email a would-be renter intends to send. Publishers often rent their subscribers' list the same way. Renting such targeted lists is an effective marketing tool for those who want to reach a specific audience. It's the "compilers" of email address lists you should be wary of.
A compiler typically makes use of clever software to search the Internet and "harvest" any and all email addresses that software runs into. Simply put, that software indiscriminately snatches up every email address it comes across and unceremoniously dumps it into a single massive electronic file which the compiling firm then promotes as "people who have indicated a willingness to receive emails." Well, they've each got an email address, right?
Rarely if ever will a compiler describe their list as targeting a particular group. Even when they do, you should question the accuracy of that purported targeting because for the most part their email addresses are dumped into one giant-size file which is sold not on its quality or targeting accuracy, but based on the numbers, the huge volume of emails the renter can distribute... and, obviously, the tremendous results that are sure to follow. Sure, indeed!
That process reminds me of a game a friend of mine told me he played when he was a kid growing up on a farm in Iowa. The object of the game was to see how much manure he and his brothers could get to stick to the side of their father's barn. What they discovered was that the more manure they threw against that barn wall, the more that would stick there. That's kind of the compilers' theory: The more emails you can send, the more sales you're likely to make. Seems to me that manure is manure, whatever you choose to call it.
As someone with a number of email addresses - business as well as personal - I'm obviously on a number of those compiled lists because I get emails promoting diets, meds, marine insurance - for which I have absolutely no use - investment advice and attempts to convert me to a number of seemingly strange religions.
The two things emails sent to compiled lists have in common is that they can all be classified as "SPAM" - I'm not talking canned lunch meat here, but something far less appealing - and those emails almost always end up in my Outlook Junk Mail box - automatically - thanks to the spam filters built into the email systems of most individuals and companies.
There are Federal Communications Commission regulations (FCC) regarding the sending of unsolicited emails. The most recent regs are contained in the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act (aka CAN-SPAM Act) of 2003. Ya gotta love those government acronyms, right?
In addition, one of the "Best Practices" of the email marketing industry is that each email sent to an individual or firm with which the sender does not have an active relationship during the past 18 months should include an easy way for the recipient to opt out of receiving any further emails from that sender.
Perhaps the best of the industry's Best Practices would be to avoid renting email address lists from compilers. It's a gross misuse of money that can be better invested in more productive marketing efforts.
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