Email Marketing: Should I Buy or Rent and Email List?


Rent or Buy Email List Many business owners just starting out believe buying a list is the easiest and quickest way to grow their business and reach more people, but they’re horribly misinformed.

If ANYONE tells you they have a targeted or opt-in compliant email list for sale or rent…RUN AWAY!

The fact is that DOESN’T exist! And anyone that tells you different is either a sleazy bold face liar or they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.

If building a loyal, engaged and profitable email list was as easy as buying an email list don’t you think that everyone would be doing it?!

If it was THAT easy, don’t you think someone you trust would have already told you that?

Taking shortcuts in life and business are rarely beneficial and buying or renting a list is no different!

Reputable email marketing implies something very IMPORTANT…it’s REPUTABLE!

But, buying a list is counter-intuitive, because the email addresses on those lists weren’t collected in a reputable way!

 You can’t BUY a reputable list, you can’t RENT a reputable list, that’s called IRONY.

You can’t call the final product reputable when all the steps up to that point were disreputable.

Do you see what I mean?

When you know how these sleazebags get their “targeted, opt-in ready, CAN-SPAM compliant” emails you’ll probably cringe and hopefully be able to put to rest your visions of buying your business success in the form of an email list.

So let me show you the light, my lil grasshopper…

Here are the 4 Most Common Ways List Sellers Collect Email Addresses:

1. Flashing Banner Ads

You know the ones I am talking about. They’re flashing some “too good to be true” offer, like; Congratulations, you’ve just one a FREE iMac, Click to Claim your prize. When you click the banner you’re asked to fill out a survey with personal information, including your email address. This is so they can dump you into “buckets” they offer as “targeted email addresses”. So you’re love of pickles and cats might find you in buckets from Pet Care to Kitchen Gadgets and anything in between, but you’re going to be waiting a long time for that free iMac.

2. Tradeshows

If you’ve ever been to a tradeshow you know you ALWAYS have to enter your email address to register. Most tradeshows turn right around sell those email addresses. Many businesses mistake tradeshow lists as targeted because they assume they were obviously interested in some part of the industry as they registered for the tradeshow. But here’s the problem with that…you and 999 other businesses are now targeting the SAME couple hundred people with your own email campaigns…how receptive do you think these people are really going to be after they’ve been accosted by every other unsolicited offer.

3. Consumer Surveys

Have you ever bought something online and seen those free magazine subscription offers. You know the ones, you’re asked to checkmark 3 magazines you’d like and they’ll send them to you free of charge. Email collecting at its finest! See, this is just another method list sellers use to “target” their lists for sale. Another words, they put your email into “targeted” buckets based on the type of magazines you like. It’s NOT about providing anything free to you, it’s about making you feel comfortable to give up the goods, in this case an email address.

4. Email Harvesting

The techie method of gathering email addresses off the internet. List sellers use “web bots” to trawl and scavenge the internet collecting email addresses off of websites, forums and comment sections on blogs. If you ever wondered where the steady stream of spam is coming from, think Email Harvesting. Unfortunately, they don’t need YOU to get your email address.

Bottom line folks…

Do you really think people willingly check a box marked “YES, it’s ok with me if you sell my email address to anyone you’d like”?

HELL NO they don’t!

Now that you know how they collect the email addresses they sell and rent, let’s cover the risks.

Now, you MIGHT see what looks like minor traction in the short term if you use a purchased or rented email list, but using those type of lists will wreak havoc in the long run, trust me!


 There are 2 MAJOR risks you WILL encounter if you use purchased or rented email lists.

Blacklisting and Poor Response Rates…two of the most prevalent reasons people fail when they don’t build their list themselves.

First and foremost you can be Blacklisted

Blacklisting is the robust bouncer of the email world.

BlackListing So, how does it work? “Spam traps” are deliberately spread across the internet for sleazy list sellers to collect.

You come along and buy or rent a list, and try marketing to those email leads.

The problem is, when one of these email addresses ends up on YOUR list. See, those “email traps” tell email providers you’re a spammer. Thus, blacklisting YOUR email address! Which is NO GOOD!

See, the more your emails are marked as spam by your recipients, the more the rest of your emails will be undelivered and the faster you will be plagued by sender reputation penalties.

Penalties that can take YEARS if ever to recover from.

 Next up are Low Response Rates

Engagement is the lifeblood of email marketing. So BUYING email addresses is just counter intuitive.

See, when you buy a list you aren’t connecting with targeted leads, which is HOW you build a tribe. Instead, you’re banking on a hand full of results justifying the slew of negative or non-existent responses that purchased email addresses give you.

Think about it…

You’re NOT the only one buying these email addresses. Agencies that sell lists don’t sell to just one person, or even one industry. So by the time you send your marketing campaign to them, how many other unsolicited emails do you think they’ve already gotten?

Remember guys: REAL people own real email addresses. And real people don’t like to be bugged by unwanted solicitors.

Think about it like this…how annoying are those automated telemarketer calls that inevitably come in as soon as you sit down for dinner or get the kids in the bath?

Buying lists is the SAME thing, just a different medium. Creating a list built from your own opt-ins means your recipients WANT to get emails from you, hell they expect to emails from you. That’s reputable email marketing!

If you truly want to build a loyal, targeted and qualified tribe you’ve got NO CHOICE but to…build it yourself!

Do you really want a list of 10,000 unresponsive defunct email addresses, or a qualified list of 100 highly engaged and connected email addresses that have real people behind them, that really CARE and want to hear from you?

 It’s a no brainer folks…building YOUR OWN email list is the ONLY way to profit from and grow your list…END.OF.STORY!

Now if I still haven’t sold you on the STUPIDITY of buying or renting email lists, then maybe the geniuses over at Hubspot can convince you.

Now I’d love to hear from you!

Have you ever purchased or rented an email list?  If so, what was your experience?  If you have never purchased an email list, are you still thinking about it?  Share your stories and experiences in the comments!…