Check out this blog post from Wired editor Chris Anderson. Chris talks about lazy PR flacks sending him misdirected and unwanted press releases and other junk. He names names, too, posting a long list of folks he's never going to accept mail from ever again.
One of those on the list, a guy named Dan Bannister, responded in comments:
I spent $10,000 this year on lists, email software, promotional cards etc. to promote my business and my work. You're on a list of people who buy creative work that is sold to photographers every day. If you don't really buy photography, why not just hit the unsubscribe button? Why give out your email?
Congratulations, Dan, for standing up and telling the whole world that you're a spammer.
Dan clearly doesn't get it, but let's answer his question anyway: Why doesn't Chris just unsubscribe?
Because Chris gets 300 emails like this a day, that's why. What's he supposed to do, spend all day hitting delete or clicking unsubscribe? That'll become a full time job.
But enough about Chris; let's talk about Dan. He spends $10k/year on lists. Lists that apparently many other people buy, because Chris gets enough of this email to suggest that the list(s) he's on have been distributed far and wide. Was that a good list purchase for Dan? To set himself apart, as one of the 300 jerks who sends Chris spam every day?
Sadly, this is typical with purchased lists. It'll contain a bunch of spamtrap addresses, or it contains an admin address for somebody who runs a blacklist, or it contains addresses of people who are fed up with spam and are going to report your mail as spam and embarrass you publicly.
Dan, this list is apparently not quite the gateway to an exclusive club like you might have thought it would be. You might want to ask for your money back, because your list purchasing strategy just backfired. Oops.