Is Craigslist email harvesting wrong?

40 replies
I've been thinking I need to work CL way harder. Posting provacative ads is great but the real gold mine is the email addresses if the other people that are posting. I looked up email scraping/harvesting and it seems legit. It is a black hat strategy but I get these emails everytime I post on CL, and I can tell this is what people are doing. How come no one talks about this here? You can get 300,000 email addresses in 10 minutes or something like that from targeted categories.

WTF? How come all the guru's aren't just telling people to buy a CL scraper to increase traffic/leads?!
#craigslist #email #harvesting #wrong
  • Profile picture of the author sovereignn
    This is a white hat forum! I'm assuming that's why nobody talks about it here
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  • Profile picture of the author damasgate
    Whether it being or right, the fact remains that any conversion on your emails will be very low.

    Personally I hate the emails one of my accounts gets of things like "I missed you last night" and "I met you yesterday"

    trying to get me to open the email just to click an affiliate link to download CPA offer software.

    My email was probably scraped as well.

    In short: blackhat methods = short term success, whitehad methods= long term success.
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    • Profile picture of the author jaygonsalves
      Originally Posted by damasgate View Post

      Whether it being or right, the fact remains that any conversion on your emails will be very low.

      Personally I hate the emails one of my accounts gets of things like "I missed you last night" and "I met you yesterday"

      trying to get me to open the email just to click an affiliate link to download CPA offer software.

      My email was probably scraped as well.

      In short: blackhat methods = short term success, whitehad methods= long term success.
      oh, i agree! BUT those people send you absolute junk that is not targeted. if you were to send the right info to the right people, I bet conversions could go way up. a known converting title and some good text goes a long way from some guy who can barely type english, let alone offering you a billion dollars.
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      • Profile picture of the author braincandy7
        You just said yourself about harvesting 300k emails in 10 mins then you seem to imply that you can send them targeted traffic?

        How the hell will you manage that? If you are scraping these emails then you are gathering generic emails from an unknown audience.

        At the end of the day it's unsolicited mailing and can get you into trouble, it's also blackhat and in my personal opinion immoral and if you do it that would make you a spammer pest.

        Make the right choice now and don't do it. If you do though i hope you get caught and slammed very hard. Nothing personal but i just hate unsolicited spam junk crap in my mail from people like yourself.

        Originally Posted by jaygonsalves View Post

        oh, i agree! BUT those people send you absolute junk that is not targeted. if you were to send the right info to the right people, I bet conversions could go way up. a known converting title and some good text goes a long way from some guy who can barely type english, let alone offering you a billion dollars.
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  • Profile picture of the author jaygonsalves
    lol. If white hat is right, then I want to be wrong. this is too good to be true! why have I not seen this anywhere yet? it just sort of popped in my head and I knew someone was doing this. how good is the software on the market? best product?

    any grey people out there?
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    • Profile picture of the author sovereignn
      Originally Posted by jaygonsalves View Post

      lol. If white hat is right, then I want to be wrong. this is too good to be true! why have I not seen this anywhere yet? it just sort of popped in my head and I knew someone was doing this. how good is the software on the market? best product?

      any grey people out there?
      I never stated that there is a right or wrong just that these are white hat forums!

      If you'd like to find out more about it visit a black hat forum
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  • Profile picture of the author Tadresources
    I don't think the emails you get would be very helpful. They won't be targeted leads, and anyone you email to will consider it spam.

    Do it enough and you could land yourself on the wrong side of the "spam war" and get listed on Rokso.
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    • Profile picture of the author jaygonsalves
      Originally Posted by Tadresources View Post

      I don't think the emails you get would be very helpful. They won't be targeted leads, and anyone you email to will consider it spam.

      Do it enough and you could land yourself on the wrong side of the "spam war" and get listed on Rokso.

      I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for the input. Although I do not agree on being able to target the emails. CL has mostly real local people posting and taking emails from the "Services" section and offering business services would be highly targeted.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
    Originally Posted by jaygonsalves View Post

    How come all the guru's aren't just telling people to buy a CL scraper to increase traffic/leads?!
    You can't be serious. Sending unsolicited commercial email is not only illegal, but you can be fined up to $16,000 per email. Not per campaign -- per email. In other words, you could be looking at over 1 million dollars in fines for sending just 100 spam emails.

    Anyone who takes that sort of a risk is an idiot of the highest magnitude. And that's putting it lightly.

    The CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business | BCP Business Center
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    • Profile picture of the author damasgate
      Originally Posted by Brandon Tanner View Post

      You can't be serious. Sending unsolicited commercial email is not only illegal, but you can be fined up to $16,000 per email. Not per campaign -- per email. In other words, you could be looking at over 1 million dollars in fines for sending just 100 spam emails.
      Kewl, if I pursue that $16,000 per email and get it then I wouldn't need to be in internet marketing.

      I should make a WSO on that.

      title

      "How Would You Like to Get $16,000 Per Email Sent to You?"
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      • Profile picture of the author TheArticlePros
        Originally Posted by damasgate View Post

        Kewl, if I pursue that $16,000 per email and get it then I wouldn't need to be in internet marketing.

        I should make a WSO on that.

        title

        "How Would You Like to Get $16,000 Per Email Sent to You?"
        Can I get a promo copy and be your first reviewer?

        -- j
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  • Profile picture of the author jaygonsalves
    Well that kills that idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stack Tom
    Originally Posted by jaygonsalves View Post


    WTF? How come all the guru's aren't just telling people to buy a CL scraper to increase traffic/leads?!
    Yes email harvesting is wrong and can get you shut down. You need to organically collect emails on your site. You can have people opt-in to your campaigns with something like mailchip by putting a newletter sign up box on your site. Then just focus on driving traffic to your site.
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  • Profile picture of the author jaygonsalves
    Brandon, if I manually clicked and personalized emails, would I be in the same boat?
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    • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
      Originally Posted by jaygonsalves View Post

      Brandon, if I manually clicked and personalized emails, would I be in the same boat?
      Doesn't matter. If it's unsolicited and of a commercial nature, it's illegal.
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    Its about as real a threat as getting fined for software piracy, which noone gets fined for, (or very rarely) so don't consider the idea dead just as of yet. Fact is thousands of people do it everyday, so apparently theres not a whole lot of fining going on right?
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  • Profile picture of the author jaygonsalves
    But I am also pointing traffic straight to my own name. I don't want to go overboard just target people locally for the most part. But I can see the potential, no doubt.
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  • Profile picture of the author JSProjects
    I would never do it. But those who are randomly emailing thousands of people would seem to be doing it wrong.

    If you're going to email people from CL, why not use Scrapebox to harvest posts from people looking to buy something and extract the email addresses from the listings? (Something that SB can do.)

    It'd be VERY easy to do. But definitely not worth the potential consequences.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    lol. If white hat is right, then I want to be wrong.
    Do it somewhere else.

    Advocating email spamming here is a bannable offense.


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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    Doesn't matter. If it's unsolicited and of a commercial nature, it's illegal.
    A common misimpression. Read the Act. It does not make spam illegal.


    Paul
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    • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
      Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

      A common misimpression. Read the Act. It does not make spam illegal.


      Paul
      I have read it, Paul, and my overall impression was that if it was unsolicited and commercial in nature, that it is illegal. If that's not the case, then what type of spam is not illegal?
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  • Profile picture of the author MamaD
    Ever heard of spam? You're not going to get nearly the targeted traffic you're hoping for.
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  • Profile picture of the author mosthost
    "Can anyone tell me how I can grab 300,000 emails so I can send 'targeted email' to them?" LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author Stack Tom
    yeah it would largely be a huge waste of time. You might get 1-2 people interested. you would be better off putting your time elsewhere
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  • Profile picture of the author emrom
    Why would anyone want craigslist emails....they don't know you or your product.
    You might as well scrape leads/emails.
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  • Profile picture of the author wickeddarrell
    Keys to sending the right way - permission and relevancy plain and simple. This applies to best practices and actually getting a return from your campaign.

    some folks will try to suggest an implied opt-in to a list, especially for some b2b stuff, but really just kidding themselves...email is for keeping customers not acquiring them
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    • Profile picture of the author Stack Tom
      Originally Posted by wickeddarrell View Post

      Keys to sending the right way - permission and relevancy plain and simple. This applies to best practices and actually getting a return from your campaign.
      some folks will try to suggest an implied opt-in to a list, especially for some b2b stuff, but really just kidding themselves...email is for keeping customers not acquiring them

      i disagree on the second part since I believe it is for both. But it just depends on the business you are in. It is definitely effected in keeping clients but can also help you acquire new clients depending on your product or service
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
        Brandon,
        I have read it, Paul, and my overall impression was that if it was unsolicited and commercial in nature, that it is illegal. If that's not the case, then what type of spam is not illegal?
        The Act regulates certain behaviors when sending some commercial email, and requires certain things in it. For example, honest routing information, a working unsubscribe option, and a valid postal address. Some types of email may require labeling in the subject line.

        The penalties kick in when you send commercial email and it involves certain other things. Deceptive routing, harvested addresses, etc.

        The Act doesn't only cover what we think of as email, either. It can also apply to things like Facebook messaging and private message systems on forums like this one.


        Paul
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        • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
          Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

          Brandon,The Act regulates certain behaviors when sending some commercial email, and requires certain things in it. For example, honest routing information, a working unsubscribe option, and a valid postal address. Some types of email may require labeling in the subject line.

          The penalties kick in when you send commercial email and it involves certain other things. Deceptive routing, harvested addresses, etc.

          The Act doesn't only cover what we think of as email, either. It can also apply to things like Facebook messaging and private message systems on forums like this one.


          Paul
          Thanks for the explanation, Paul, but I'm still trying to envision a scenario where sending unsolicited commercial email would be legal. Could you give a quick example, perhaps? (not that I'm interested in ever doing that -- I'm just curious ).
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Gram
    Originally Posted by jaygonsalves View Post

    I've been thinking I need to work CL way harder. Posting provacative ads is great but the real gold mine is the email addresses if the other people that are posting. I looked up email scraping/harvesting and it seems legit. It is a black hat strategy but I get these emails everytime I post on CL, and I can tell this is what people are doing. How come no one talks about this here? You can get 300,000 email addresses in 10 minutes or something like that from targeted categories.

    WTF? How come all the guru's aren't just telling people to buy a CL scraper to increase traffic/leads?!
    That's bottom feeder thinking not to mention it's illegal. Start a real &*&*# business instead.
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    • Profile picture of the author mosthost
      Originally Posted by Paul Gram View Post

      That's bottom feeder thinking not to mention it's illegal. Start a real &*&*# business instead.
      Nice plain spoken answer.

      To answer the thread question: 'It ain't right!'
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    Brandon,
    Thanks for the explanation, Paul, but I'm still trying to envision a scenario where sending unsolicited commercial email would be legal.
    Almost any scenario that followed the "Do and Don't" rules in CAN-SPAM.

    Remember: I am not a lawyer.

    Get hosting, buy a list, and send them ads for your product on creative widget-whacking. Include a valid post office box and working unsubscribe, and you're pretty much there.

    It's much harder to envision a scenario in which a responsible web host or ESP would allow you to use their services to send spam, but there are lots of providers who don't care. Most of them end up blacklisted, but that's another issue.


    Paul
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    • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
      Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

      Get hosting, buy a list, and send them ads for your product on creative widget-whacking.
      I was under the impression that if you bought a list (legally), then any emails you sent to that list would be considered "solicited" (so long as your emails comply with CAN SPAM, of course).

      If that's not the case, then I stand corrected.
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  • Profile picture of the author icegin
    Unsolicited emails generally results in very little, if any, conversions. If you want to market to a list, it's best to build one legitimately (i.e. have people opt-in) instead of "harvesting" from CL.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
    Robbing banks is a faster way to accumulate lots of money
    than actually working for it but, like this goofy email scraping
    idea, there will eventually be a stiff price to pay.
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  • Let's not that this is a complete violation of the CL TOS and THEY will go after you *IF* they find out. Do it in any meaningful volume and I suspect they'd figure it out.

    To answer the question, yes, it's absolutely wrong. CL specifically states that they do not want you doing it and fix a dollar amount per offense.

    craigslist terms of use
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  • I have 10-20 thousand emails of people 18 years or older, from certain cities, where at one point looking for customer service work. I can even break them down to schooling and previous places of work what do you do with these emails
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    • Profile picture of the author jw3333
      It seems to me if the offer is good and not just spamming to get response, then targeting specific niche service providers on CL would be worth the effort to actually contact the client on their webpage. You know more person to person. Labor intensive, but if you have a valuable offer, then it is worth the effort.
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  • Profile picture of the author mysterrio
    Originally Posted by jaygonsalves View Post

    I've been thinking I need to work CL way harder. Posting provacative ads is great but the real gold mine is the email addresses if the other people that are posting. I looked up email scraping/harvesting and it seems legit. It is a black hat strategy but I get these emails everytime I post on CL, and I can tell this is what people are doing. How come no one talks about this here? You can get 300,000 email addresses in 10 minutes or something like that from targeted categories.

    WTF? How come all the guru's aren't just telling people to buy a CL scraper to increase traffic/leads?!
    I think it is important to understand that the 'white hats' don't use 'black hat' methods and if any of them did so, they would not talk about it in a 'white hat' society. (Not saying that anyone here WOULD wear a black hat. btw. )
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  • Profile picture of the author Vallank2
    I can believe someone asked the question, but I find it hard to believe someone would even consider doing this. SPAM is SPAM is SPAM and it is illegal and very costly to you, your business and your reputation.

    Don't do it, there are plenty of traffic sources out there.
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