Is there any ethical way to BUY an email list?

36 replies
Hey Warriors,

I've done a few searches for niche specific email lists for my business and from what I can tell it's a major no no nowadays to buy any kind of email list unless they double opted in to your personal list.

Recently I found the term co-registration lists and thought maybe that's a more ethical way of quickly building your list.

Within the last week or so I've learned to offer a free eBook/report/download in exchange for email sign-up so I've got that but I know it will take a few months to build a decent list.

What are your thoughts on building a list the right way quickly?

EDIT: So sorry, I meant to post this under Email Marketing!
#buy #email #ethical #list
  • Profile picture of the author joaquinaleman
    Banned
    hello, this is a business, you cannot build a list fast until you have a good product and get affiliates to promote it! this is the fastest way to build a list of buyers and affiliates, but you need to create a product or invest in traffic.

    free traffic could take years!

    I dont recommend you buy a list until the owner give you his account and you send emails with his name so people will trust.
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  • Profile picture of the author James Campbell
    Yes you can buy lists. Yes you can use them ethically and within the rules of the CAN-SPAM regulations/laws.

    Anyone who is telling you that it isn't possible, they don't know what they are talking about and/or just aren't experienced in large scale direct response email marketing.

    Keep digging, you'll find what you're looking for eventually
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    • Profile picture of the author Jack Gordon
      Originally Posted by James Campbell View Post

      Yes you can buy lists. Yes you can use them ethically and within the rules of the CAN-SPAM regulations/laws.

      Anyone who is telling you that it isn't possible, they don't know what they are talking about and/or just aren't experienced in large scale direct response email marketing.

      Keep digging, you'll find what you're looking for eventually
      So you contend that CAN-SPAM allows you to ethically and legally purchase and use other people's email lists?

      Why not share this knowledge? I am sure many people would benefit from you clarifying where this is spelled out.
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      • Profile picture of the author Lucian Lada
        Originally Posted by Jack Gordon View Post

        Why not share this knowledge? I am sure many people would benefit from you clarifying where this is spelled out so clearly.
        I don't know where it says in the law that it's permitted to do so, but buying lists is a legal business. There are even websites dedicated to bringing together buyers and sellers of leads. (See http://www.leadbuyernetwork.com/)

        The problem is, however, that some people don't respect the law when selling lists, in the sense that they don't inform the people when they subscribe that their email address will be sold in the future. But selling lists of people who opted in, knowing their email address might be sold, is perfectly legal, and ethical, too. The problem is, such lists cost too much for the average person looking to break in IM to afford buying it.

        Originally Posted by RafaelThaGreat View Post

        What are your thoughts on building a list the right way quickly?
        In my opinion, you should focus on quality rather than quantity. Quality will eventually breed quantity.

        I know it's not what you want to hear, but that's the truth - in my opinion, at least. If you go down the quantity path, you risk growing a huge list and making very little out of it. I personally know someone who has 15,000 leads combined from a few lists, and makes $200 or so a month. And I also know people with far fewer leads making considerably more money.

        What does this mean? It means to not fall in the trap of installing pop-ups, exit-pops and whatnot to force them to give you their email address. You'll put off some people, and you'll also end with a lot of bogus emails from people who just want to get rid of the pop-up. Plus, some will simply leave, never to return again. That's how damaging these plugins can be.
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      • Profile picture of the author onSubie
        Originally Posted by Jack Gordon View Post

        So you contend that CAN-SPAM allows you to ethically and legally purchase and use other people's email lists?

        Why not share this knowledge? I am sure many people would benefit from you clarifying where this is spelled out.

        You need to read the CAN-SPAM ACT. There are no provisions preventing buying/selling of email addresses or of sending unsolicited email.

        You need to make sure the FORMAT and CONTENT of the emails you send are compliant.

        You cannot use misleading or false information, you need to clearly identify yourself and your location/contact info and you need to provide a mechanism for people to unsubscribe or decline further emails and you need to honour those requests.

        There are many list brokers that sell addresses.

        For example, I want to send an email to all the dentists in Texas. I can purchase a list or email blast from a list broker.

        This is perfectly acceptable so long that the email I send is CAN-SPAM compliant.


        https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/busi...guide-business

        https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/can-spam
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        • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
          Banned
          Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

          This is perfectly acceptable so long that the email I send is CAN-SPAM compliant.
          Additionally, you can buy niche specific lists where the people on it have opted-in to receive 3rd party emails. Those are a bit more expensive, but they are the only type that I purchase.

          Even with that it is still best to run the list through a service that will verify the list and check for spam traps, high bounce rates and other problems that could get you into trouble with your ISP.

          The cleanest lists with the best deliverability rate I have ever purchased were from Dun & Bradstreet.

          Cheers. - Frank
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          • Profile picture of the author onSubie
            Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

            Even with that it is still best to run the list through a service that will verify the list and check for spam traps, high bounce rates and other problems that could get you into trouble with your ISP.

            I agree. I also think it is best to send this type of traffic to your own funnel and get them to opt-in to your list rather than just send them directly to an offer.

            So many people are complaining that they sent 500 targeted hits to an offer and got no sales, but reject all the advice telling them to capture the emails with their own funnel before trying to sell something.
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            • Profile picture of the author Steve B
              To me, the challenge with this practice (of buying/selling lists) is that you don't know where the list came from, how it was put together, and how the names on the list were gained.

              My feeling is, most of the large lists you see for sale on Fiverr, eBay, and in classified ads were scraped from the web. These lists are poison. They are not targeted, no one on the list gave permission to be on that list, and they are basically "stolen" online. Just because you see an email address on your computer screen - that is no license to contact that person.

              Yes, there are legitimate lists of names brokered for money. Often they are subscriber lists of magazines. You don't own the list or get to have a copy of the list. You supply your content to the list company (your offer or whatever) and they mail out to however many names you purchase. The good thing is these lists are somewhat targeted. The downside is that you trust the broker and the company doing the mailing to follow through with your "order." You never really know how many people see your offer or even if your offer was sent to the number of people you ordered. Pick reputable companies if this is what you intend to do.

              Co-reg lists are those people who signed up for one thing but also agreed to be sent offers from others. Often you don't know what the subscriber's interests are so these lists can be non-targeted or in some cases semi-targeted. For sure, the people on the list didn't sign up to hear specifically from you.

              Can-Spam aside, buying lists (or really "mailings") at best can be semi-productive but more often than not you will be disappointed in the results you get. You risk getting your email account shut down, having a lot of angry people calling you names, and maybe worst of all, your reputation will be tarnished and you will be seen as a spammer.

              The answer, of course, is to build your own list the right way . . . by having people request to hear from you. If they won't subscribe to your offer . . . don't look to dubious or alternative spammy means for building a list . . . get a better offer or do some better targeting!

              Steve
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              • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
                Banned
                Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

                The answer, of course, is to build your own list the right way . . . Steve
                There is more than one 'right way' depending on your needs. I have never built my own list and never will. Next, you'll have me worrying about SEO. No thanks.

                Every one of my clients has a specific, individual need. Building a list of my own would be worthless to them. Buying lists works perfectly for them. I have been buying and selling lists for direct mail, since long before there was something called 'the Internet.' lol

                Cheers. - Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author heavysm
        Originally Posted by Jack Gordon View Post

        So you contend that CAN-SPAM allows you to ethically and legally purchase and use other people's email lists?

        Why not share this knowledge? I am sure many people would benefit from you clarifying where this is spelled out.
        The easiest way I know is to buy an email list as part of buying out a business. Many people are short cutting this process by literally saying the email list IS their business, so it has its pros and cons as with any other significant business function.

        Since the email list is an asset of the business, it can legally be transferred over to the new owner. In fact, companies like Aweber have a list transfer feature where entire list segments can be transferred within Aweber to another account.

        So it's not at all mysterious if the proper research is done. And the new owner just has to let the list know about the change (granted that the old owner told subscribers about the shift first).

        This is the only ethical and legal way to transfer an email list that i know of. This has been done for some significant product owners on clickbank, so it's definitely not unheard of to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author tyronne78
    There are tons of different ways to ethically buy an email list. You can also rent one out for a nominal fee,internet marketers call this practice solo ad marketing. I like driving my own traffic and building an email optin list.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketermatt
    I really don't believe I'm buying a list, simply because the money isn't in the list itself it's in the relationship with that list.

    If you buy a list it will take you a long time before the people on that list start trusting you
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    • Profile picture of the author answergal
      Lots of great advice here, and I think marketermatt gets to the heart of the matter. You're too focused on build a list, but what you really need to build is relationships and trust with your list. When you do that, a list of 100 people can be a far more valuable asset than one of a thousand. As for "buying" a list, I think the best way to do that (indirectly) is via Solo Ads. You're actually buying "clicks" to your offer, but those who take you up on your offer (conversions) will be on your list. You give them the freebie you promised, but then IMMEDIATELY start building up the trust by giving value, being real, and getting them to engage with things like contests and surveys. If you have your own products and services, this works best, but you can even do it as an affiliate, just takes a bit more "positioning."
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  • Profile picture of the author Write Now
    It would be far more beneficial to just create your own list. That way you can ensure it's targeted to your needs so you don't end up wasting your money on a bunch of useless email addresses.
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  • Profile picture of the author MeelisM
    Yup there's an ethical way to buy an email list.

    Use the money you have set aside to build a list.

    Do it via solo ads or ppc or whatever. Just don't randomly try to buy leads straight from someone.

    Buy traffic to your landing page and get them to sign up.

    Meelis
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  • Profile picture of the author RafaelThaGreat
    Great discussion, lots of valid points to where I can see it doesn't make sense buying email addresses when I didn't build the relationship or add value to them in the first place.

    I can imagine a list of 2,000 leads would probably give me like a 1% response rate.

    I've seen a few people mention Solo Ads the last few days on this forum so I've started researching that. I think I might go that route and try using solo ads to get sign-ups for my offers instead.

    Thank you for all the tips!!
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  • Profile picture of the author w3a5t4
    A list is an asset, you build it over time, nurturing it constantly... they say that the value per subscribver would be $1 per email.... however, you need to get good quality leads and look after them and they will buy again and again and again... it works for me and has done for a long time... it can only get bigger and better, so start today

    In any case you can buy them yes, albeit you cant possibly know how they have been looked after and how responsive they will be until you get the dollars out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    I have been buying and selling lists for direct mail, long before there was something called 'the Internet.' lol
    I sold a lot of pages of peel-n-stick labels!
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    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Brent Stangel View Post

      I sold a lot of pages of peel-n-stick labels!
      My middle name could have been 'Avery.' lol

      Cheers. - Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    Is there any ethical way to BUY an email list?
    Of course, by buying solo ads
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    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      Of course, by buying solo ads
      That's a way to begin to compile a list, not actually buy a list which is what the OP's question was referring to.

      Cheers. - Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
        Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

        That's a way to begin to compile a list, not actually buy a list which is what the OP's question was referring to.

        Cheers. - Frank
        He was asking for an ethical way to buy a list, that is the most ethical way I can think of. I am not a big fan of buying bulk email list's, since most are dead emails, or scraped without people's permission

        I understood what he meant, I just had to stick my two cents in, to try and convince him not to buy a bulk email list
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        • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

          He was asking for an ethical way to buy a list, that is the most ethical way I can think of. I am not a big fan of buying bulk email list's, since most are dead emails, or scraped without people's permission
          Tell that to Dun & Bradstreet. You simply don't know what you are talking about and your thoughts on the matter are not based on making your living on buying and selling mailing lists. So, you can learn something new, which is always a good thing in life and business or you can continue to 'think' what you choose to think, based on nothing more than your misconceptions.. No one can help you with that. lol
          I understood what he meant, I just had to stick my two cents in, to try and convince him not to buy a bulk email list
          I'm sure that was tremendous help, unless of course learning how to buy a quality list that might be of true benefit to him, might have been more of a help.

          You'll never know because instead of asking questions to accurately determine his business needs, you instead told him what is the right thing to do for you, as if your life and business is the model for everyone else on the planet to emulate. :-)

          Cheers. - Frank
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          • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
            Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

            Tell that to Dun & Bradstreet. You simply don't know what you are talking about and your thoughts on the matter are not based on making your living on buying and selling mailing lists. So, you can learn something new, which is always a good thing in life and business or you can continue to 'think' what you choose to think, based on nothing more than your misconceptions.. No one can help you with that. lol
            I'm sure that was tremendous help, unless of course learning how to buy a quality list that might be of true benefit to him, might have been more of a help.

            You'll never know because instead of asking questions to accurately determine his business needs, you instead told him what is the right thing to do for you, as if your life and business is the model for everyone else on the planet to emulate. :-)

            Cheers. - Frank
            Lol, who pissed in your cereal this morning
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            • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
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              Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

              Lol, who pissed in your cereal this morning
              Translation: "Yes, Frank - I see your point and it is a valid one." lol

              Cheers. - Frank.

              P.S. I run on piss and vinegar.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Mazza
    Buying an email list is never a good idea, I have never heard of a story where that actually works. You would be better off going to sites that let you market to someone else's list and then send them to your site where they can opt-in so you can start your own list.
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    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
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      Originally Posted by Mark Mazza View Post

      Buying an email list is never a good idea,
      That's a bogus comment not based on anything but your perceptions. I do quite well for myself using lists that I purchase for my clients. Not everyone is selling IM wares. Some businesses sell actual products. A startling concept, I know. lol
      I have never heard of a story where that actually works.
      Well, of course then, that means it simply never could. That's why there are dozens of reputable list companies selling their products to thousands of purchasers, most, like myself, decades long repeat customers.
      You would be better off going to sites that let you market to someone else's list and then send them to your site where they can opt-in so you can start your own list.
      That's an option - or, they could buy a list targeted to their specific audience. lol

      Cheers. - Frank

      P.S. I'm really getting tired of this 'my way is the only way' crap. Open your minds, people. Your way is good for you and that's the extent of it. Your way can be a waste of time and money for someone else. Doesn't that make any sense? You don't know everything and these comments do nothing but illustrate that fact. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    That's a bogus comment not based on anything but your perceptions. I do quite well for myself using lists that I purchase for my clients. Not everyone is selling IM wares. Some businesses sell actual products. A startling concept, I know. lol
    Now I see why you are trolling, you sell bulk email list's yourself
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    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
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      Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

      Now I see why you are trolling, you sell bulk email list's yourself
      Right. That's why I list it in my signature. lol I have not sold a list in years, but I'm always buying them. They work, or why would I continue to do so and why would my clients keep paying for them?

      Cheers. - Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
        Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

        Right. That's why I list it in my signature. lol I have not sold a list in years, but I'm always buying them. They work, or why would I continue to do so and why would my clients keep paying for them?

        Cheers. - Frank
        Look Frank. I gave the guy solid information. When you buy a solo ad, you are buying a list that has already been filtered, and highly targeted for what the buyer is looking for. Not only will it save you money, it will make you money. I personally think buying bulk emails is a waste of money, but I don't go around insulting people who do sell them. I gave the guy rock solid advice on an ethical way to buy an email list. There is no such thing as an ethical way to buy a bulk email list because you have no idea how it was built, other than what the seller tells you.

        You talk about not selling bulk email list's in your signature, but you've been here long enough to know it's frowned upon by alot of Warriors here. If I offended you by saying that solo ad's is the way to go, then I apologize. There is no need for you to be an ass to everybody who thinks bulk email buys are not the way to go
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        • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
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          Originally Posted by Alex Blades View Post

          Look Frank. I gave the guy solid information. When you buy a solo ad, you are buying a list that has already been filtered, and highly targeted for what the buyer is looking for.
          You're not buying a list at all. You are renting someone's list. You don't own it - unless I'm mistaken. See - I actually could be wrong since I have never used one. That said, you implied that buying a list was not a viable option. I don't agree. So, your premise is that you can disagree with me, but I have to eat what you dish out. Sorry, I'm a bit too old and experienced for that.
          Not only will it save you money, it will make you money. I personally think buying bulk emails is a waste of money, but I don't go around insulting people who do sell them.
          Again, I do NOT sell lists and that was not my aim in touting their commercial viability. My aim was in relating facts about something I have 40 years of experience working in, at all levels of the industry. I have NOTHING to sell anyone on WF since every one here wants everything as close to 'dirt cheap' as they can get it. I buy lists for my clients at their direction. I don't sell them my list as I don't maintain any lists. I hope you can understand that.
          I gave the guy rock solid advice on an ethical way to buy an email list. There is no such thing as an ethical way to buy a bulk email list because you have no idea how it was built, other than what the seller tells you.
          I know precisely how Dun & Bradstreet builds their opt-in list, how often they are verified and everything else there is to know about the lists I purchase. That's what people pay me to do. To infer that I do not is insulting
          You talk about not selling bulk email list's in your signature, but you've been here long enough to know it's frowned upon by alot of Warriors here.
          What is? Every Tom, Dick, Harry and Jane is hawking something in their signature - just like you are. I have NEVER had a link to anything for sale in my WF sig from day one.
          If I offended you by saying that solo ad's is the way to go, then I apologize.
          There is no need to apologize to me. I am not the least bit offended. That's almost an impossible task. My point was you are doling out bad info by demeaning the viability of a good list from a good source. D&B is the 'gold-standard' for mailing lists.
          There is no need for you to be an ass to everybody who thinks bulk email buys are not the way to go
          As long as they base that on knowledge, fine. If they are going to state it as a fact, that won't fly. Just saying something because you believe it to be so, does NOT make it a fact. That was my only point. The simple fact that you continue to refer to them as 'bulk email buys' is just your way of refusing to admit that there are good and bad of everything sold in the world. Your problem is you believe something, so you think that every one should agree with you and believe it, also. In this instance you are wrong. High-quality, opted-in, verifiable email lists can be purchased and can be worth their weight in gold. But you go right on believing what you want to believe. It won't change my world, one bit. :-)

          Cheers. - Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    Look dude, I am not try to go back and forth with you, I can see you are making this personal. I will answer this for you though.

    There is no need to apologize to me. I am not the least bit offended. That's almost an impossible task. My point was you are doling out bad info by demeaning the viability of a good list from a good source. D&B is the 'gold-standard' for mailing lists.
    Quote:
    Is there any ethical way to BUY an email list?
    Of course, by buying solo ads
    This is the only thing I said. Notice how it didn't demean ANY viability of ANY list. It was only a six word suggestion to buy solo ads. You took those six lil words, and twisted and bent it to mean something evil and diabolical
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  • Profile picture of the author James Campbell
    This has been an entertaining thread

    Buying lists and mailing them is both legal and profitable as long as you stay within the confines of the rules and do it right (for the market you are targetting).

    I don't sell lists. I don't teach how to do this. That is why I won't go into detail.

    Frank is right. Open your mind, you'll start to understand that there are a few different ways to skin this cat.

    Just to clarify, buying solo ads IS NOT purchasing a list. Those are two very different things. Buying solo ads is just another form of targetted PPC traffic generation, nothing more, nothing less.
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    I have been buying lists since the day I started marketing online.

    I have always purchased co-reg lists. The downside is that some on the list may not have realized that their info was going to be sold and they would receive third party advertisements. So getting spam complaints tends to happen. Also there are those that think anything less than double optin is spamming and they will get on the list just so they can complain or worse.

    For this reason you need to have lists cleaned. The most popular service these days is impressionwise.com, they will clean the list of known complainers, spam traps, etc... However, even after this, you can still get complaints, IPs/domains blacklisted. So you really want to have your own servers, IPs and mail software.

    You want to look at the lists solely as a way to generate traffic. Now while you can get lists that are generated from specific sites, like bizop for example. I have always just purchased general lists. In order to monetize them, I have always use CPA offers that have mass appeal, as these will get the most opens.

    You want to always collect your opens and clickers and you can segment them based on the offer, so if you send a weight loss offer, you can also segment them to a weight loss list as well. Doing this will produce more profitable lists then the general list over all.

    Whenever it makes sense you want to squeeze them, so you can move them to a sending platform that will offer better deliverability.

    In my opinion, co-reg lists are the bottom of the barrel of what you can do legally. Even with the hassles that come with doing this...the reason why it works, is that you can generate targeted, but cold traffic for very low cost per click that will convert.

    Last word of advice. I don't deal with large companies that sell lists. Rarely will you ever get a deal and you will pay way too much. Because of this, I have never paid asking price for a list and have always gotten the list for a good price...always negotiate!

    Also, when you buy a list, always buy a random sample and test it and see if it is going to perform. If it works for you, you could buy the list, or depending on the size, buy another but larger random sample and test it. By testing first, you know what it is worth to you and what price you need to buy it at. It just comes down to how fast do you want to break-even. The less you pay, the sooner you get to break-even. Having always done it this way, I have never lost money on any lists I have purchased.

    Anyway, that's the real short of the long.

    OH...obviously you want to be can-spam compliant. That really should go with out even saying.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean DeSilva
    One clever way to buy a list is to buy the persona along with it. That way you retain the affinity of the list owner. Of course having to market through a new persona creates its own marketing challenges, but if you're at the stage where you stand to profit from such a strategy, you can figure out how to make it work too ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Slade556
    people are making a profit selling lists left and right, so the answer is yes, you can buy lists and yes, you can use them for your own purpose. However, the word "ethical" has nothing to do with this conversation
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