Just Say No
Thought leaders in the email marketing industry are just about unanimous on the subject of randomly purchased lists. Their advice to marketers? Avoid them like the plague. You may, however, still encounter those who push the buying of email lists as a perfectly legal alternative to building lists through opt-in subscription.
And according to Laura Tessmer Atkins, they are—technically speaking—correct.
"Any sender can purchase a list and then send mail to the addresses on that list," she writes at the Word to the Wise blog, "and as long as that sender meets the rock-bottom standards set out in CAN SPAM [and] your mail has an opt-out link, a physical postal address and unforged headers, that mail is legal. The only other obligation on the sender is to honor any unsubscribe requests within 10 days."
But here's the catch: Your recipients won't debate the legal merits of your bought list before hitting the spam button. And it only takes a few complaints to attract the stern attention of ISPs that can bring your "legitimate" email campaign to a screeching halt, she warns.
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