Worse Email Practices for List Management

In the real world an email address is worth money to someone, if not to spammers then to marketers, and certainly to the list owner who keeps track of their subscriber’s demographics for targeted email campaigns.   Because of their value, email addresses maybe resold several times.

Selling email addresses is big business, and you’ll notice most of the email addresses for sale are touted as being opted-in.  However, when mailed to, you may find a good number of these purchased opted-in lists contain a large number of undeliverable addresses.  Without actually having control of your own email list collection procedure, which should include a confirmation process, purchased addresses could be harvested from web sites or gleaned out of mail servers.  They could be computer generated, or have spam traps waiting.  AND besides being unreliable, unverified and untargeted, the good addresses among the bad are probably filled with addresses that have been heavily marketed to, turning your response rate to zip.

Purchased lists can get you in trouble; they can blacklist your server or get you ousted from your ESP.  They can turn you into a spammer. And you rarely have any way to find out where these purchased addresses came from or how they were acquired.

Using a purchased list is one of the worse mistakes marketers can make.  However renting a list is usually not, but there are issues using rented lists too.  List rental is an acknowledged practice in email marketing. For a fee, legitimate owners of rental addresses send an email to their list on your behalf.  They have all the stats and handle all the list mechanics.  You do not see the addresses on the list the rental list owner is sending to and you pay for each name used.  Do you get a guaranteed delivery rate?   Is the list current and are the addresses pertinent to your message?  There are so many more questions to think about.  To keep list rental issues in check, use a recognized list broker to contract a reliable list rental company.

Dundee Internet Services is not a list broker; we are an ESP, an email list hosting provider.  Using our years of list hosting experience while working with hundreds and hundreds of list owners, we complied this short list of what not to do when email marketing – Bad Email List Practices for Poor Results

* USE purchased email lists.  There no guarantee how the names were really obtained or if they are really have been confirmed; and you certainly don’t have permission to mail to the address.
* MAIL to your list from a different domain or company name without explanation.  (When you merge with another company or buy another company, do not email to your list from the new company address and assume all the recipients know who you are.   And do not mail to the new company list from your old address and make the same assumption.  Make a smooth transition from the old to the new by having the original owner email an explanation about the changes because of the merger or purchase.)
* DO NOT use sanity checks on your web site sign up addresses.   (Check to ensure the submitted address is technically correct and is a valid email address.  Do not assume that people will put in the correct address:  alice@enter.aol)
* DO NOT confirm addresses  ( Use closed loop confirmations or confirmed opted-ins.  When someone joins your list, confirm their email address to make sure it’s correct and they signed up for something they want.)
* DO NOT have a privacy policy or stick to the one you have.
* ASSUME you have permission from everyone to put them on all the lists you own, not just the one they opted-in too.
* DO NOT removed bad or opted out addresses in a timely manner.
* DO NOT track opens or click-throughs or use any type of user feedback.  (When you use tracking and feedback you will know when your mailings aren’t getting the expected response in a certain amount of time: the addresses may not be cost effective to keep the addresses on your list.)
* LIE to your ESP about list origins.
* USE SPAM-like or misleading subjects.
* USE SPAMMY content to trigger anti-spam filters.
* DO NOT act on complaints
* DO NOT comply with the Cann Spam Act or other laws.
* DO NOT collect demographics to use for target mailing.
* JUMP from ESP to ESP