Is Cold Email a Legal Evil?

17 replies
Cold email is one of the most hotly contested outreach methods in B2B. But is it even legal in the first place?

Professionals' inboxes are flooded with emails from senders they have no relationship to. Recipients often gripe about this and quickly relegate the emails to the spam folder. There are a zillion think pieces ranting about how irritating cold email is. And then there is the flood of comments defending cold email as a sales tactic.

Regardless, cold email keeps pouring in. Without the express consent of the recipient, are companies legally allowed to send it? Is cold email legal?

The answer is: it's complicated.
#cold #email #evil #legal
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    Depends on the country and their laws.

    In the US there is the Can-Spam law and as long as you follow it then it is legal.

    I've been sending cold email for over 16 years. However, I mainly send B2C.

    I acquire fresh / targeted 3rd party data. Which is data the users have shown an interest in a specific niche and have provided permission to receive messages from third parties.

    With B2B most marketers are scrapping data to build their list or buying B2B data. I think a lot of marketers don't target enough, both the business and offer/message.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean Campbell
    Agreed on the international component. I covered that somewhat in the podcast episode, but it's a big area unto itself. However, there are some countries to pay closer attention to (ex. Canada) just given how stringent their laws are (compared to the US).

    I also agree that most marketers don't target enough. Nor do they leverage other platforms (ads with good targeting) that might provide equal results in some cases.
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    • Profile picture of the author Javisito
      Originally Posted by Sean Campbell View Post

      Agreed on the international component. I covered that somewhat in the podcast episode, but it's a big area unto itself. However, there are some countries to pay closer attention to (ex. Canada) just given how stringent their laws are (compared to the US).

      I also agree that most marketers don't target enough. Nor do they leverage other platforms (ads with good targeting) that might provide equal results in some cases.
      I've a quesiton about cold emails, what ISP do you use to email those lists?

      As far as I know no autoresponder company allows it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Sean Campbell
        I think (but I'm not sure) that a lot of people these days use platforms like a Yesware, Outreach.IO or similar to send from a personal Gmail account. Those platforms (and the 20 or like them) allow you to send "from" a list but each email goes out via a personal Gmail account.
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    Why are you asking questions that you seem to know the answers to?
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean Campbell
    Because I don't know all the answers. . Spam legislation is complicated.
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    Gsuite is 2000 per day / 500 during free trial.

    You can also use their relay smtp and send up to 10K. You have to designate your sending IP in account settings. This is different from regular smtp.

    Free Gmail accounts are limited 500 per day.

    No reputable ESP is going to allow you to upload purchased / scraped. However, as long as it is clean, there is no way for them to know otherwise.

    Sending is another story. With a lot of B2C data, you need to be able to mitigate complaints / unsubscribes, so they don't exceed their acceptable limits.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    I find it incredibly easy to help out established folks in my niche for a few weeks, by promoting them or endorsing them or doing an interview for them, then, I may send them an email in a few months, but they usually reach out to me, then....since the emails are warm, 9 times out of 10, we enter into a prospering mutual partnership.

    If you can be patient for only 4 to 8 weeks - a short time - you no longer need to send cold emails. Warm emails, and you both enter into a prospering deal.
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  • Profile picture of the author wasim s
    Cold Emails Are Killing Deliverability. Earn Permission Instead!
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnVianny
    Cold Email are ALWAYS worse in the Long Term.

    Cause you can easily being hurted in deliverability to people you emailed, even with people who opted in.

    You sender ip will be flagged, cause even you firstly use public or other ips then when someone complaints after, and say he never opted in, you will be flagged.

    So it's not worth, cause it's not free and the less advantage you may have will be ruined sooner
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  • Profile picture of the author dburk
    "Cold email"?

    Is that what some people are calling spam these days?
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Javisito View Post

    I've a quesiton about cold emails, what ISP do you use to email those lists?

    As far as I know no autoresponder company allows it.
    That's because too many people don't know the difference between legitimate outreach and spam.

    If you buy office supplies, let's say, and I sell office supplies, there's a quasi-relationship in place. If I send you an email, even though you don't yet know I exist, about buying office supplies from me, it's legal as long as I follow the proper guidelines.

    On the other hand, if you scrape a list and hammer it with offers for dick pills or medical weed or something, there's no relationship, quasi or otherwise. You're spamming.

    Originally Posted by rozzski999 View Post

    How do you get this through an autoresponder?
    You don't. See Diablo's posts about using Gmail above.

    Originally Posted by dburk View Post

    "Cold email"?

    Is that what some people are calling spam these days?
    Some people call anything they don't want or recognize spam, whether they've opted in or not.

    The difference between cold emails and spam is in the execution.
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    • Profile picture of the author Javisito
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      That's because too many people don't know the difference between legitimate outreach and spam.

      If you buy office supplies, let's say, and I sell office supplies, there's a quasi-relationship in place. If I send you an email, even though you don't yet know I exist, about buying office supplies from me, it's legal as long as I follow the proper guidelines.

      On the other hand, if you scrape a list and hammer it with offers for dick pills or medical weed or something, there's no relationship, quasi or otherwise. You're spamming.
      I know that but my question remains how the heck people get away with it when they start using mass mailing software.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by Javisito View Post

        I know that but my question remains how the heck people get away with it when they start using mass mailing software.
        Simple.

        They use ESPs in countries that are more concerned with hard currency coming into their country than they are following spam laws.

        They are also using "burner" accounts, where they don't really care if they get shut down. They just get another account and start up again. Like buying a cheap cell phone to use for some purpose and then throwing it away.
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