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The pitfalls of using purchased data for email marketing.

Published: 27th September 2017

So what happens if you use purchased data?




Ok, so is the assumption that all purchased is data bad? well, no that's not necessarily the case, but most purchased data out there is fraught with potential issues.

That make using it just not worth the risks.

They are mainly very old, not qualified, stuffed with duplicates and typically the addresses are harvested without the consent of the owner.


If we use the this purchased data, what will happen? are there any risks involved?


So, let's break it down and look at the potential areas for concern:

#1 The response rate is very low indeed



With a purchased list, people you are mailing to won't know your company, they may be completely the wrong demographic for your product, or the addresses may be old and won't exist anymore.

Due to the completely random nature of the list, the chances are incredibly minimal that anyone would have an interest.

Generally these lists are sold hundreds of times over, so they are probably receiving All kinds of different mailers advertising a huge variety of products.

So, in this instance, your mailer will just be lost amongst the large volume that they are receiving.

#2 Increased chance of your mailer going into junk.




The mail server that sends your campaign carries with it a score, the score increases or decreases based on historical activity. Positive interactions such as people opening your mailer, clicking on links etc will help to maintain a high score.


Negative interactions such as a high bounce rate and spam complaints will make the score decrease.

When your recipient's mail server see's your mail and makes it's decision of where to place it, it sees this score.

If the score is low, then it will place the mailer directly in the junk folder.

Generally, purchased lists contain lots of old addresses that bounce and the recipients click the 'spam' button which triggers an auto spam complaint to be logged.


It can take just one send to a bad list to have a catastrophic effect on the sending server.

#3 Your domain name can be blocked




Nowadays, everybody's inbox is protected by a mail filtering company, their algorithms are a core part of all the largest email browsers, such as Outlook, Apple mail and Google mail for example.

These filtering companies keep a database of companies who have previous instances recorded of sending spam.


In order to be recorded as a known spammer it only takes a small handful of recipients to hit the mark as spam' button. This information is then filtered back and the sender's company name is added to a block list.

If your company's domain name ends up on one of these lists, it can be near impossible to get it removed.


Using purchased lists has a significant risk of ending up on a block list.


#4 Server Black Lists




This works in much the same way as a block list. A black list records the address of yoursending server, this is known as the IP address.

This address is attached to the sending server and visible to every email browser that you are sending to.


Negative activity as we've previously outlined will, sooner or late come to the attention of a black list holder.

Again, removal from one of these black lists is very difficult indeed. Some lists don't solicit removal requests at all.


#5 Fines for breaking the new GDPR regulations



Next May the law is changing, the new General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) becomes live.


This new law makes the use of third party lists virtually impossible, as in most cases the originator of the list cannot meet the criteria that deems it legal and safe for use.

Falling fowl of this new law comes with some pretty substantial fines for the sender. The speculation is that these new laws will be rigorously enforced.

None of us like receiving spam and purchased lists really are generally at the root of the issue.

As the new laws start to take affect, then hopefully we'll see less and less purchased lists being used.

Well, there we are, there's a quick over view of what happens when purchased lists are used. We hope you've found this useful and informative.

Please be sure to check back next week.
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