Purchasing a Mailing List

Purchasing a Mailing List


Maintaining, growing and actively engaging your business’ mailing list is good practice. It keeps your customers engaged, up-to-date and even encourages future purchases, while keeping your mailing list marketing organized. Growing your mailing list and cultivating all your contacts is hard work, so why do many people look at purchasing generic mailing lists? It seems like a great idea. After all, why not have a larger database to mail and push your product and services to? Just buy a mailing list and start sending emails right? Not so fast.

From the quality of the lists themselves to your own reputation, there are a handful of reasons why you shouldn’t send emails to people on purchased mailing lists.

Mailing List Quality

Let’s start with the quality of these lists. Any list you purchase will be of a fairly standard format, consisting of email addresses, full names, and maybe some other contact information such as company and position titles. What you can’t discern from looking at the list is if the contact information is valid. How can you be sure that leads haven’t moved companies and no longer check their old emails?

Leads from a purchased mailing list can go stale and the only way to verify that the list is good is to send out a message. That’s not an option before buying a mailing list, so it’s a huge gamble that is usually not worth taking. Additionally, consider the amount of time you will spend cleaning the data, just to make it accurate. Again, time better spent on doing other things.

Unsolicited E-Mails & Your Resulting Reputation

When you’re sending mass emails to a list that you purchased, you run the risk that the recipients consider your email a spam message. If they are not receptive to unsolicited contact, it could result in your email being reported as spam, making it more likely that your email provider would automatically consider it spam the next time you send out a mass email. If you are sending out emails to purchased lists on a regular basis, you’ll get a recurrence of bounced emails. When that happens, the email providers may flag your sending address, and then, combined with users marking your messages as spam, you will not see any conversions from your email campaigns.

Consider the impact on your reputation. Let’s assume that you’ve been able to deftly maneuver around the other issues. You’ve had good luck with list quality so you’re not bouncing emails. Everything should be OK, right? Not necessarily. You’re sending messages to people who have never sought anything out from you which means that even if they don’t mark your message as spam, they may still find it annoying. And if that’s the case, then you’re in a bit of a quandary. On the one hand, they may be interested in what you have to offer, having not had the motivation to begin shopping on their own, but on the other hand, any further contact may push things over the annoyance threshold, turning that contact into a permanent dead end. Ultimately, customers who’ve sought you out expect contact, whereas those on a purchased mailing list will not.


Most importantly, if you’re a Canadian business, email contacts from a purchased list is prohibited and is in direct violation of CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation). CASL email regulations state that unless the recipient has expressed, and to some extend implied consent, you are not authorized to email them. Therefore, purchased lists are out of the question. Canada has some of the strictest email laws in the world. The Unites States has similar email legislation called CAN-SPAM, but is not nearly as stringent as CASL which is the reason why buying mailing lists is in the Unites States is still possible; there are countless mailing list providers, brokers and mailing list services in fact.

There are no shortcuts when building your customer base. When you communicate with those who have sought you out, you will achieve much higher conversion rates. It’s as simple as that. Not to mention that they’ve done the heavy lifting for you so your reputation is not on the chopping block. While it does take longer than purchasing lead mailing lists, the relationships will be longer lasting, transparent and stronger overall.