Buying Email List: Do's and Don't

Do’s and Don’t Before Buying An Email List

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Your email list is like a pen to a writer. Without it, running any email marketing campaigns is counter-productive. Here I’ll show you do’s and don’t when you are buying an email list?

Since you cannot steer clear of how pertinent data is to an email marketing campaign, it’s highly recommended to build a list that comprises people who know about you and your business.

However, if you’re struggling to reach your target audience and run a successful campaign, buying an email list might not be as bent as people make it sound.

One pay-off of acquiring the right email list is an increase in sales and customers. But the packed email marketplace has served to muddy the waters.

To solve that, here are the do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when buying an email list.

Pro Tip: If you are thinking to buy an email list make sure your email list is verified by Email Verifier.

Do’s of Buying an Email Lists:

1. Do find a reputable data vendor

Looking for a reliable, reputable data vendor for your email list needs is a top priority. When researching, however, remember not to go for the lowest price or the most contacts. Going by either, instead of the reputation, could land you a crappy list.

2. Do get a custom list

Being specific about your targets is highly recommended as it helps acquire a more streamlined email list. Besides, you should refrain from purchasing a pre-bundled list that’s been assembled and kept for some time. Thus, settle with a provider that actively builds custom lists.

3. Do employ a double opt-in

To reach an engaging audience, cleaning your email list is required at least once a quarter. People might change their email addresses, companies might shut down, and positions could change; these are reasons to clean your list periodically. Moreover, there’s no guarantee that your list will stay as you bought it.

That’s where a double opt-in comes in. Using a single opt-in is not punishable, it’s just not advisable. Furthermore, the Email Verification Service improves your deliverability by employing a double opt-in email list.

4. Do categorize your email list

This one depends on the nature of your business. The parameters you use to split-up your list are up to you, of course. For example, a B2C company should run an email marketing campaign at the right time, dividing the list based on position or gender.

5. Do know the legal aspect of buying an email list

In the United States, there is no rule directly prohibiting the sale of an email list. The only thing close is the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which was passed to set the rules for commercial emails and manage spamming.

You could be guilty of intrigue if found offering email data to a spammer. Twisting the possibility of a mail could similarly make you guilty of falsification or manipulation.

In other parts of the world, the laws guiding this practice aren’t clear. The United Kingdom, for one, submit to 2016’s GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation) and 2003’s PECR (the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations). These regulations forbid businesses from sending emails without the consent of the recipient.

A country with such a law could find you guilty of violating the national laws if you send an email without the receiver’s permission. Hence, care needs to be taken when buying an email list.

Pro Tip: Purchased Email List with legal issue make sure your list is verified.

Don’t of Buying Email Lists:

Don't ever buy Email lists

1. Don’t buy email lists too frequently

Too much of anything can make you sick; purchasing email lists too often cripples your brand reputation and identity. You know what’s better? Spending time to connect with customers and to build your brand for more business opportunities.

2. Don’t buy generic email addresses

There’s nothing worse than acquiring a list packed with generic email addresses as you might end up reaching the wrong person. Instead, request for business email addresses—aiming for your target audience.

As reported by Adestra, in partnership with Ascend2, more than half of email advertisers face the issue of achieving contact information accuracy. Developing a quality email database for your marketing needs can be time-consuming. But in the hopes of taking a faster route, don’t fall victim to buying non-specific email addresses.

3. Don’t improve the performance of your purchased list, yet

It’s easy to purchase a list. It gives you a fast way to reach your targeted prospects and drive your marketing campaigns to a successful halt.

However, on your first marketing message with this purchased list, you’re entirely unaware of who the recipients are. The takeaway is to know who they are before trying to improve the list.

4. Don’t expect accurate data

High deliverability. Accurate contact information. Up-to-date email data. These are the promises of most email list providers.

Sad to say, these organizations won’t even think twice about throwing in a few lies about data accuracy and up-to-dateness. That’s because they aren’t concerned with metrics like brand reputation.

You might be paying for a list with little or no value, as a result. A good percentage of those email addresses are likely to be dormant or non-existent. Some would have reached their inbox capacity. Eventually, this leads to all sorts of bounces.

Having an accurate email list (organic or inorganic) is both time-consuming and elaborate, and you’ll have to put in the work to attain accuracy.

5. Don’t assume your brand reputation won’t suffer

How customers react to your brand is brand reputation—a treasured asset that depicts what they think of it and how they talk about it.

While every company must do whatever they can to secure and foster it, spamming is one of the surefire ways to do some serious damage. It could even cost you leads, prospects, and sales.

By buying an email list, you’re sending thousands of emails to people without their permission. Imagine what image that puts in their mind. They might call your brand out on social media for spamming them. Which means such an email marketing campaign won’t be only ineffective but also have an adverse effect.

6. Don’t expect high response rates

Quick calculation. Let’s say you buy an email list of 10,000 units. With a 5% response rate, 500 units make you $99 each—that’s just shy of $50,000. Not too bad, right?

Well, not so fast! The rate at which people respond could be way lower than 5%. Why, because the majority of contacts might not open your email, so becoming your customer can be far-fetched.

Even with a 5% rate, the 500 people could be uninterested in your offer—thereby, making little or no sales.

7. Don’t do it

…because no reputable marketing expert recommends it. It is seen as a misuse of cash and time that could hinder the growth of your business.

Check out any successful email marketing or digital marketing blogs, and you’ll hear it over and over: don’t buy email lists. While the field reeks of uncertainties and contrasting expert opinions, everybody seems to agree on this one.

Pro Tip: Verify your Email List with our Email Validation Service

Buying an Email List

If you’re still interested in buying an email list, below we have 3 providers that have attained worldwide recognition.


Since 2003, Info Data Place (or IDP for short) has served numerous small-, medium-sized businesses, and large enterprises. The innovative vendor helps them reach consumers across the globe.

Several professionals and organizations in email advertising and marketing have trusted them to reach more customers, increase sales, and boost brand reputation. And thanks to their prestige and experience, IDP navigates through clients’ problems via a plethora of viable options.

With base camps in the USA and more in diverse American, European, and Asian countries, IDP provides email lists with unprecedented delivery and accuracy. Addresses are verified by a call center based in Omaha that makes 25 million-plus calls per year.

Pros include:

  • Covers 43+ industry departments 
  • No trail of inaccuracy or duplication
  • Pick from a list of diverse titles (e.g., presidents, CEOs, sales professionals, key decision-makers, top professionals, and management officials)
  • Time-conserving (spend more valuable time engaging your customers than on research)
  • Accurate, high-quality business leads thanks to a 60-day Master Database update
  • Compliant with CAN-SPAM law, i.e., leads are completely spam-free

2. eGrabber

When it comes to automated list building, eGrabber sits on top with numerous businesses using their solutions to manage and update B2B prospect records and similar Internet data.

It offers one of the most accurate technologies ever seen for contact finding and appending research. And the tool takes a small amount of time to perform its magic—capturing leads and prospects from any webpage.

If you can’t find arranged prospect data to buy or want to find any missing fields of your contacts, eGrabber is your best bet. There are tools to easily update, merge, or segment any prospect list using the Web, worksheets, business directories, web journals, and other intelligent Internet sources.

B2B companies use these web tools to build custom email lists faster and to maximize their potential. Individual marketers and advertisers similarly use them for competition metrics and to reach high-value prospects.

3. eSalesData

Digital promotion, application development, contact finding, and prospect list building are some of the services of eSalesData. The fast-growing company provides email data with quick delivery, transparent management, and responsive customer service to walk you through any issue.

eSalesData’s platform can turn any email marketing campaign into a success with immediate results that affect brand reputation. The team employs an all-round email and web crawling technology to find you better-targeted prospects and customers who’re likely to be interested in your brand.

They also plan direct measures to reach your advertising and marketing expectations and provide the metrics via innovative web apps. As a group of experts, the team behind eSalesData has been in the game since 2008—building complex frameworks, meeting advanced business motives, and supplying innovative programming solutions.

Pros include:

  • 140 million consumers in the United States, 38 million professionals, and 15 million global businesses
  • In-house management and ownership of data 
  • Exclusive data compilation standards for the collection and refinement of data 
  • Provision of digital marketing and application development solutions

Final Word

“Don’t buy an email list!” Many top guns in the email marketing scene (individuals and agencies alike) preach that statement, and for a good reason.

Building an organic list fosters high deliverability and high sender reputation. Yes, it takes more time and effort, but the outcome is worthy of both.

However, we shouldn’t overlook the swiftness and cost-effectiveness of reaching a vendor for a custom email list. The trick is to buy from a reputable provider and follow proven email marketing practices to give your response rates a push up.

Regardless if your list is organic or from a third-party, your audience rewards authenticity and engagement. That’s how you build a list.

Plus, some words from Ramsay Leimenstoll:

Email Marketing Quote by Famous Author: Ramsay

If you’re facing a problem related to email lists or have an addition, don’t hesitate to detail your personal experience below. We’d love to hear it!

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  1. As per my opinion Marketing Experts will always give suggestion not to buy an Email list. It would be more preferable.
    Thanks for this useful article. Loved it as reader!

  2. Totally agree with you, its OK to buy email list for quick target achievement, its not entirely wrong thing to do, but still building email list is more efficient.

  3. I was surfing something that to buy email list should be avoided but wanted to help someone with purchasing email lists. Thanks for this article. It’s interesting!

  4. Really good article. When you I started reading it’s definitely tempting to buy an email list, but I’m glad that I didn’t do it with my business. I hate when I receive an unsolicited email from a company that I’m not familiar with. I imagine that most people probably feel the same way.

  5. Actually, this problem could have been avoided if they would have cleaned the list. Some companies do it really cheap. Just do a web search of “deep clean email lists” and you’ll find the ones that will clean the hard bounces before you mail.

    1. Hi Roger,

      I respectfully disagree that this would avoid the problem.

      Even if such a service did what it claimed to do (I am skeptical that it would reliably do so, but let’s suppose I concede you this point), it doesn’t address the other issues that arise from sending to non-permission email addresses (such as purchased lists).

      There are many such issues (see the articles linked from this blog post). For brevity’s sake I’ll stick to one: no such service is going to reliably remove spamtraps (which don’t necessarily bounce) from a list.

  6. Imagine, If you went out to eat, and you gave your email address to the restaurant, and then the restaurant went out of business… would you want to start getting emails from the old restaurant owner about his new carpet cleaning business? I suspect not.

    When people sign up to an email list, they’re doing so to hear about specific content, from a specific business.

    From what you’ve indicated here, the business people signed up to hear about you from is no longer in business. So the reason that people signed up for email no longer exists

  7. I think it can be easy to fall in the trap of calling “purchasing a list” and “list rental” synonymous. List rental is a widely accepted marketing tactic.

    Unfortunately, there are individuals off in who-knows-where selling worthless databases containing hundreds of thousands of outdated contacts for next to nothing. Not only is this shady and immoral, but it is creating a blanketing negative stereotype of the data industry.

    If a marketer does their research to find companies with a proven track record instead of whoever is cheapest, they will find there are quality, well-meaning companies out there.

  8. This is one of the most interesting threads I have seen in a long time. It discusses a challenge that many of our customers face when trying to identify and increase their customer base. Whilst purchasing lists may reap rewards, the reality is that you just don’t know the quality of the email addresses you are obtaining.

    Deliverability of Emails comes down to a number of core areas:

    1. Technology
    – Sending Infrastructure, Spam Filters, Authentication
    2. Best Practices and Reputation
    – Dedicated IP Addresses, IP Warming Strategies
    3. Data Management, Relevance, Optimization, Engagement
    – Daily monitoring of Blacklists, Sender-score and blocking
    4. Legal Compliance
    5. Timeliness and Relevance of Communications
    – Targeting at best day of week, time of day & segmentation/ AB Testing

    Even with this structure in place to maximize deliverability of the emails that you send, none of this matters if the email addresses that you have purchased are of low quality or their sourcing questionable.

    Building a list of valid email addresses is definitely the best way to ensure quality, but it takes time. Historically this has been difficult to achieve, but nowadays new channels make it easier to build prospect pools or identify fresh data to introduce to your customer database.

    Take Social, you can leverage Social channels such as Facebook and Twitter to deploy campaigns (you no longer have to be a coded / programmer), there are wizard-based tools for doing this to create Apps that are publishing directly to these channels. When people respond to your App (e.g. Photo Contest, Refer-A-Friend for incentive, etc.) they opt-in to direct communications and provide an email address and address (or whatever it is you customize that you wish to capture). These people are then immediately available for your direct marketing campaigns.

  9. here no safe way to buy an email list period. You never know what kind of people or even bots you are buying.
    Create your own email signup process a “collect” opt-in emails. That’s the way to go.

  10. This list buying is a very tricky subject and I agree that there must be something to it (demand and utility) or there would not be pages on google advertising . I am really tempted but not with a purchased list . I have 24000 emails from my customers from my website listed above that has been up about 10 years. These are people who have requested automatic rate quotes from our db. About 1/3 of them we had email correspondence with. Now I am into internet marketing and would like to have some good advice about mailing to this list without hurting my present web traffic Thanks!

  11. I agree never to purchase an email list if you do it is no longer opt-in. However email rentals have worked for me. I have found that testing is key as well as repetition. I think people expect sometimes to send on email to a rented list and have more hits than a direct mail campaign..that just isn’t realistic.

    I guess the same people would put up a single poster on telephone poll about an upcoming performance and wonder why the audience was empty.

    I have found that opt-in email rentals do not work well for direct sale unless you are a well known brand – but have worked very well for me in lead generation through newsletters, lead generation through coupon offers and brand awareness campaigns.

  12. I didn’t purchase a list, but am given access on a monthly basis to new people who want to hear from suppliers. In this case, the company that provides me with the details is a wedding directory where brides are looking for people to get in touch with them.

    Specifically, I’m a photographer and only targeting the people who have not yet booked their photog yet, which is included in the given info.

    As the leads per month are around the 350 mark I find it’s just as easy to email each person individually.

    What are your thoughts on this and how could it affect my business?

    1. Hi Chris,

      You’ll still run into the same problems as buying a list. The people you’re emailing did not request information from you directly, and will likely view your messages as spam. The more complaints you get, the worse your delivery rate will be.

      I’m a bride myself and I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve marked as spam from venders I’ve never requested any information from. They received my email address from the shop I bought my wedding dress from and tried to sell me services I never asked for. I marked every single one of those emails as spam because I never gave them permission to email me. I also had no idea that my dress shop had shared my email address with other vendors.

      It’s best to stick with getting permission to email prospective customers to avoid getting reported for spam.

  13. Really good article. When you start out it’s definitely tempting to buy an email list, but I’m glad that I didn’t do it with my business. I hate when I receive an unsolicited email from a company that I’m not familiar with. I imagine that most people probably feel the same way.

  14. It seems the most reliable method would be writing your own webcrawler that collects and stores email addresses. It seems to unreliable to buy lists of emails; which are probably overused / spammed anyway.

  15. Is bounce rate an accurate metric to look at when valuing your email marketing campaigns and the quality of your marketing list? I don’t think so. Most of email blasts have an average bounce rate of 20%. It’s just the reality of it. Instead, I would use ROI as a standard metric for any type of marketing efforts.

    Most legitimate list suppliers or list brokers provide customized, personalized and comprehensive marketing lists. Take our school marketing lists as an example, you can get not just the email address, but the name, position, mailing address, fax, phone number and more info about the person and the organization.

    We provide marketing lists to many well known global companies. I’m sure they wouldn’t have came back to extend their license with us again and again over the years if their marketing campaigns results are so poor as you said.

    1. Hi Blair.
      Thanks for your comment. Bounce rate is most definitely a key indicator of the health of your list. Your hard bounce rate should be no greater than 5% – that’s the industry standard. Using a purchased or rented email lists is not permitted by reputable ESPs.

  16. Hi Mariot,
    Can Spam specifically states that it is illegal to sell – and so, conversely, buy – email addresses. (It is, however, legal to “rent” a list, but even so, it’s shady and I don’t recommend it.) Let’s be honest: there’s no such thing as a good email list that’s for sale.

    1. Hey Marvin,

      The laws on selling email lists are not straightforward. The United States does not have a law that specifically forbids selling email lists. It does have a law regulating spam, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. If you sell an email list to someone you know is using it for spam, you might be guilty of conspiracy.

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