How to avoid getting swindled on your email lists

Yeah, you could do everything Sallie Severns recommends, or you could do this instead: Don't buy lists. There's a simple reason why: Buying lists and getting solid inbox delivery are entirely incompatible. Period. End of story.

(And a tip of the hat to John Caldwell, Chad White, and Scott Cohen. I wouldn't have seen this article if they hadn't taken a moment to point and laugh at it.)

Update: Check out the comments-- the author holds up Datran Media and Hydra Media as examples of whom to work with.

Update #2: History has been revised: The post has been taken down. Apparently, we were never at war with Eurasia. My bad.


  1. Al - Check out the comments back and forth between me, Sallie, and John. Confusion (again) about buying/purchasing vs. renting.


    kinda like my "oops" on DOI, COI, and Welcome emails.

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory

  2. Thanks for the heads up. Still, the partners she mentions...shudder.

  3. No one should ever buy email lists under any condition.
    Professional email marketers should never buy lists from anyone as one never knows where they got the list and if there are any spamtrap emails on that list.
    Always have prospects/clients opt-in to your email list.

  4. And the article is GONE! No longer on the iMedia site. Fun, right?

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory

  5. Wow. Way to foster debate. Put the article down the memory hole.

    The people who blew it here are the editors. Publishing the piece as it was written was a bad call as was pulling it down.

    I would consider publishing an article somewhat like that, but would explain to the author that she should brace for some pretty strong backlash.

    I would also get her to define her terms clearly in the piece, and if it turned out she meant what I think she meant, I would explain that I do not agree with what she was advocating and would say so publicly but politely in an editor's note or rebuttal.

    I would also give her all the arguments she would face and make her defend her position up front.

    It seems she didn't know she was advocating a controversial practice. Her editor/s should have prepared her.

    Even though this discussion has become tiresome to us, it clearly still needs to be had. The first question out of too many marketers mouths about e-mail is: "Where can I buy lists?"

    Once the piece was published, everyone would then have at it in the comments section. It would be linked to in various places and my traffic would spike.

    This was the basic philosophy I relied on when I published Paul Vixie in DM News (though there were no comments then, just readership spikes).

    And yes, I am that much of a, well, you know:)


Comments policy: Al is always right. Kidding, mostly. Be polite, please and thank you.