If you’re thinking about launching an email marketing campaign to promote your business, you may assume buying a list is the easiest way to acquire prospects’ email addresses. There are dozens of third-party companies that harvest and sell email addresses. While buying a list of 1,000 or even 10,000 email addresses may sound enticing, it can backfire by hurting your marketing efforts in multiple ways.

1. It Generates Low Open Rates

Statistics show the average open rate for emails with commercial intent is about 25 percent. This means one in four users to whom you send an email will open it. With purchased email lists, though, you can expect much lower open rates. It’s not uncommon for marketers to experience just open rates as low as 1 percent or 2 percent with purchased lists.


2. Many Email Marketing Companies prohibit it

While not prohibited by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), using a purchased email list is prohibited by many email marketing companies. Aweber and MailChimp, for instance, require customers to obtain users’ permission before sending them messages. Violating this rule by using a purchased email list could result in the closure of your email marketing account.

3. It Will Hurt Your Sender Score

Sending marketing messages to prospects from a purchased email list will hurt your Sender Score. Ranging from zero to 100, this score reveals the reputation of the internet protocol (IP) address associated with your email account. Using a purchased email list typically results in a lower Sender Score, reducing the deliverability rate of your messages.

4. Purchased Email Lists Aren’t Exclusive

When you purchase an email list from a third-party provider, you’ll be competing with countless other marketers who’ve purchased the same list. Email list vendors sell their lists to as many businesses possible. The more businesses that purchase the list, the more money the vendor makes. As a result, prospects on the list will receive a barrage of unsolicited emails from businesses whom they don’t know.

5. Low Conversion Rate

Finally, the conversion rate of purchased email addresses is significantly lower than that of manually acquired lists. If you’re using email marketing to sell a product or service, it won’t yield good results for your business. Granted, you may get an occasional sale, but this isn’t an effective strategy for email marketing success.


These are just a few reasons to avoid buying email lists. Rather than buying your lists, consider building your own. It’s a more laborious and time-consuming process, but it’s well worth the extra effort in the long run. You’ll experience higher open rates and conversion rates as well as a higher Sender Score. Besides, most email marketing platforms prohibit the use of purchased lists.

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