Buying or Renting Email Lists

It’s not uncommon for people to want to infuse their email list with a batch of new people.  The stock answer from email marketers (myself included) is to gradually and methodically build a list.  Use your network of contacts and regular business interactions to build up a legitimate opt-in email marketing list.  However, some people are in a hurry or don’t have the patience to build a list.  So if you find you are backed in a corner, the last resort is to buy or sell an email list.

The theory on any bought or rented list is that the people have opted in for marketing communications.  That assumption is only as good as the person you are buying or renting from.  The first thing that email marketers need to understand is that buying or renting a list has become difficult and/or expensive.

Buying a list is very rare.  In fact, if I run into someone that is selling lists, I am suspicious.  Selling lists legally has become very challenging, if not impossible, and is typically not a good route to pursue.  You’re more likely to run into a scam than a legitimate list source.

List brokers will rent a list by sending a communication to people that have opted in but prices can run up to 50 cents a name.  In most cases, that multiplies the overall expense of the send by at least five.  If the price doesn’t scare you off, the good list brokers can also offer some kind of targeting so that the list is sent to people that fit your email offer.  Bad list brokers don’t even share basic demographic data.  I ran into one that couldn’t/wouldn’t verify the email was sent to their list.  In shor