Why You Should Avoid Buying Email Lists in 2019

15Feb, 2019

If you are working for an Email Service Provider like myself, you happen to spend a lot of time assisting customers with various email marketing issues, best practices, strategies, and most probably you’ve come across common questions like: “Can I use a purchased list?”

Buying an email list seems like an easy and low cost task, but the consequences can be serious. Purchased lists are gathered without the knowledge of their owners.

None of the individuals on the list has given permission to contact him.

Email clients like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail don’t consider purchased lists or lists given to you by a third party to be opt-in – that’s cause they are not :).

They call it “unsolicited bulk email.” If the people you’re emailing did not directly sign up to receive your news, then it’s considered unsolicited.

As always, growth through email marketing comes with good content and trust.

Good content and trust make people want to hear from you.

So let us see why buying an email list is a bad idea:

1.Low email subscribers engagement

You happen to have a mailing list of recipients but not a list of subscribers meaning that they have not subscribed to receive any news from your company.

In other words, they do not want to hear from you.

Sending email newsletters to people who do not want to hear from you will not reinforce the image of your brand nor the trust of the potential customers.

Is this considered to be a good lead for my business?

You should strive to do list building strategically and based on people that will be interested in your product.

Building a list can be a hard and daunting process although here are some quick tips to skyrocket your list size.

If you are using WordPress which is roughly used by 32% of the web pages(source) that are on the internet.

You can leverage a huge range of plugins that will help you build your email list.

One of the most trustworthy method of acquiring that valuable information from your visitors is with the use of popups.

Here are some notable mentions: Elementor’s WordPress Popup Builder, Sumo ListBuilder and Wisepops.

2. Purchased lists harm your email deliverability and IP reputation

Purchased lists often produce really high bounces, many spam complaints by recipients and have low open rates and high level of unsubscribes.

This means that you’ll soon be noticed by ISP filters and your message will end up in your recipients spam folder.

This directly influences your email reputation and your ability to deliver other messages to the inbox in the future.

3. Reputable ESPs won’t let you send emails to purchased lists

In most cases if you are using a reputable ESP to send out your beautiful newsletter they will consult with you whether you bought the list and how you acquired those email addresses.

The main reason email marketing software companies ask those questions is because they want to ensure that their client’s will receive high email deliverability rates and server reputation.

So it’s important to choose the right ESP for your business to avoid deliverability issues in the long term.

One notable ESP that takes pride into ensuring high deliverability rates is email marketing software Moosend.

4. Poor results

So you have invested in email marketing, and you want to have a high Return on your Investment (ROI).

Well that is a wrong way to do so.

You pay too much for a list of poor quality and low opens and click-thrus, you hurt your brand image, you hurt the reputation of other email sendings you will need to do in the future.

Do you still wonder?

It was obviously not worth it…

These kind of lists get less and less effective over time, along with the results they drive.

So, why don’t you try growing your own healthy mailing list of recipients who would opt-in for your mailings instead? We will be there along the way.


That concludes our article why you shouldn’t buy an unsolicited email list.

It is evident that it can really harm your the endgame of your business therefore it’s a practice you should definitely avoid doing!

Even in 2019 people are still buying and selling list although the communication between ISPs and ESPs is becoming stronger and stronger to avoid such actions.

About The Author
Nick is a Growth Marketer working for email marketing software Moosend, one of the top email marketing and automation platforms in the industry. When he is not writing articles, you’ll find him running his SEO magic site-wide, or making friends from blogs and companies discussing the expert power of Email Marketing.