Last week Ken Magill interviewed Jigsaw CEO Jim Fowler, quizzing him on his company's stance on selling lists of email addresses. Jim makes it clear that it's perfectly legal to do so. Jigsaw doesn't deliver the mail, he says. They faciliate the unwanted mail, I say. If somebody does stupid things, they get what they deserve, Jim says.
Yeah, sometimes people who do bad or stupid things do get what they deserve. Sometimes they even end up blacklisted by Spamhaus.
Jigsaw's Spamhaus blacklist entry is short and sweet: "Spam services: selling non-opt-in lists, including .gov addresses."
I guess I'm not surprised. Back in April, Loren McDonald shared with us via Twitter that he was hearing "Kevin Akeroyd, COO Jigsaw discussing using non opt-in emails for prospecting [at a conference, on a panel] --making the it isn't illegal argument -- [and Loren isn't] buying it."
As I've said myself before, "Contacts found on sites like Jigsaw and Zoominfo (and similar services) haven't opted-in to receive emails from you. If you take email addresses obtained from a service like this, and you add them to your list, they're going to report your mail as spam in very high numbers. It's going to get you blocked at ISPs. It's going to cause blacklisting issues."
Is that what Jigsaw was doing here? No, but I do believe from this listing that Spamhaus might feel that enough is enough. Perhaps they're hard pressed to find the legitimate use for selling email list data in this manner. I know I am, having been on the receiving end of B2B spam myself, spammed by people who bought the exact kind of email list data you can buy from a company like Jigsaw.
(Update 9/11/2009 5:00 pm: Laura Atkins talks about the situation over on Word to the Wise, as well.)