Cheap Email Lists For Sale, Too Good To Be True?

Yesterday in one of the LinkedIn groups that I belong to someone posted a message that they had found a really good source for email marketing data and pasted the link to the site.  Being curious I clicked on the link to check it out and as I suspected it was a site that was offering millions of email records for just a few dollars; 42 million for $99 to be exact, which they claimed were all opt in.  They provided a sample of about 50 records or so, actually the sample was just a snapshot of the records it was not actually a download, however it did show the email addresses along with the name, address and phone, so I manually copied at random five of the email addresses and sent an email to them, and less than two minutes later three of them bounced back to me with a server error advising that these addresses were not valid.  I then took another five and emailed them and four of these bounced back to me with the same message.

Does anyone really think that a legitimate marketing company is going to sell 42 million email address records for less than a hundred bucks?  My company has a data base of real opt in records and I can assure you that nothing we sell is for $99. First of all would you really want to buy a list that was so cheap that everyone and his brother were buying?  No because the people on these lists would be getting so much email that they would very quickly either close their email account or just abandon it.  I also doubt the legitimacy of this list and others like it being “Opt -in”, I once found a site that was selling 300 million double opt in email addresses all in the United States; my first problem with this is there is not 300 million people with an email address in the United States, and even if there were they certainly did not all opt in.

People are always looking for a cheap way to do business, most commonly small businesses because they do not have the budget to do the type of marketing they really want to do, and I can understand this, unfortunately there are not any short cuts when it comes to marketing, at least none that are effective.  You get what you pay for and the old adage “it its seems too good to be true it probably is” certainly applies here.

You can do a search on Google and find dozens of companies selling opt in email addresses, and most of them are cheap and very affordable, and using them would no doubt cause you a myriad of trouble including possibly losing your hosting.  I have been to many of these sites and some of them are very professionally created and even have a list of companies they do business with, fortune 500 companies that we are all familiar with.  Just because a company claims that Bank of America or Dell computers is their client doesn’t make it true.  These companies prey on small businesses that are desperately looking for a cheap way to advertise and a way to create new business.  I have noticed that most of the time these companies do not have a phone number to contact them, if you were to go to my companies site, we list email addresses and a phone number to contact us as do most of the other companies that we do business with.  I am always leery of doing business with a company that does not provide a phone number and it always makes me think that they  are hiding, why would a business with a legitimate product to sell not make themselves available to the very people they are trying to sell to?

If you are going to use email marketing, use a company that is legitimate and do not base your decision on doing business with a company solely on price.  It costs money to make money, and you have to spend in order to generate profit, there is just no way around this.