What no one told you

Not a week went by that I wouldn’t talk to someone who was disappointed and lost due to an unusable email database. The situation is very depressing: the contact list is always a godsend that is supposed to generate instant income, almost automatically. But the reality is completely different and causes great disappointment …

“I have a base of highly qualified potential clients” (that’s it…)

Rented or purchased databases are such a big problem that even serious email services ban their use, without exception. Sometimes this rule is seen as a limitation of the service. In fact, it would be dishonest to do otherwise. Let me tell you a story.

A good CEO friend launched his B2B startup a year ago; He likes to remain anonymous, so let’s call him ’email’, it’s a bit like ’email’. Émile tests several acquisition channels: inbound marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, etc. Then comes a fundraiser that allows him to consider testing new channels. Then he called back the long-toothed salespeople, who sent him catchy messages like “We have email databases made up of perfect prospects for you.” According to them, primary sellers always have “ultra-targeted” profiles. I know that because you can imagine they called me too: they’re trying with everyone, actually.

The temptation to buy/rent essential emails

So the temptation is big for Emil: The money is there, so why not test? Then the salesperson announces the price: 3,000 euros for a campaign to 10,000 contacts. “It’s expensive! My friend says to himself, but the seller advertises interesting conversion rates, without sticking to them, of course.

Emile’s business is SaaS, so he puts the customer lifetime value into perspective and then decides that while the acquisition cost seems a bit high, it’s still reasonable. Above all: “It’s a test.” Recent Verifications: He’s gone to Google, but since the web is full of great blog posts reporting insane conversion rates, this puts him at ease and comforts. The campaign is underway.

The end result: creating two accounts that will bring in a few hundred Euros. Since the gross margin is rather low, the return on investment is… disastrous.

System is often opaque or corrupt

This system has variants: sometimes the list broker implements the campaign himself or sometimes the list is presented to the customer. In the first case, the delivery will certainly be very bad. In the second case, the broker gets rid of the problem of “routing”, which is more worrying: how many people have already used this list and sent spam? In truth, no one sells good bases, because the interactive contact list, is invaluable and spoiled. That is why the least disturbing case is manifested in a third way: the owner of the list sends himself.

ignorant deceived buyers

Email service customer support encounters this kind of problem every day. The person opens an account to carry out his campaign and does not read the terms of use. Once the list is loaded into the system, the algorithms detect that the email database has a problem, as soon as the first emails leave. If the service is effective, upstream spam traps will be identified.

Then the situation becomes delicate because it is necessary to announce the bad news to a person of good will, who is stunned and not aware of these suspicious practices. The aggrieved person still tried to turn to the listing seller, but it was too late: the money was collected and will not be refunded. This kind of story happens every day…

Anti-spam laws < ISP / webmail laws

In addition to what I mentioned above, the following remark is often made: “But looking for clients via email without signing up is legal under certain circumstances, for B2B.” This may actually be true in some countries, but here it is: it’s not the laws that decide whether or not your emails will be sent as spam.

Web messaging and ISPs have stricter de facto rules than the law. Their tools are very powerful and their algorithms detect whether a database is shared or not, even based on the recipients’ participation: do they open? Do they read Do they answer etc. In the slightest doubt, regardless of the applicable rules, blacklisting can be …


So you need a practical approach: more than theory, do everything you can to ensure that your emails, in practice, reach your inbox. For this, adherence is necessary, it is an undeniable fact that cannot be undone. Buying or renting bases attempt to deny this evidence, often with disastrous results.

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