May 18, 2014 by Ozgur Ozden
Email marketing is one of the first and very effective methods of promoting your products and reaching out to a large number potential customers. At the beginning companies realized this potential and started to send mails to everyone as a result we had many spam mails dropped in our mailboxes. Since mail addresses become on high demand some companies appeared to supply them. New companies started to collect large number of emails by spidering web sites for possible mail addresses, creating online forms and surveys and finally selling the mail list became a very popular business. People started to buy mail lists and sell them, people started to receive many many mails which are not really related to them and get annoyed very quickly.
After admitting the CAN-SPAM Act in 2003 amount of spam mails decreased, severe penalties were introduced such as 300$ fine per mail. In order to comply with CAN-SPAM and not to break the law, you need to send mails to the customers only wants them, your mail must have an unsubscription link contained in it, if they decided to leave the subscription do not send them mail again, tell them about your location, ask for their written consent and finally do not buy or sell your mail list as described by Stauffer (2011).
Selling a mail list as well as buying one is extremely unethical from my point of view. You may gain some customers at the beginning but on the long run you might lose your customers and jeopardize your own company if you sell your mail list as described by Genn (n.d). Also creates a very bad reputation for your company.
Best way to gather email list is to collect from your own customers with their consent instead of buying from another supplier. In this way you can contact with the customers who really like to receive your mails. Mails that you have collected from your customers are tailor made to your business unlike any other mail lists. Once they agree to receive mails from you, mail list becomes the private property of your company and you must protect and not to share your list with third parties. The mail list you have gathered is unique for you and contains vast amount of information to be analyzed to enhance your business.
Word Count: 434
New References: 3
Ftc Website (2009), CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business, (online) Available at: http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business [Accessed at: 9.4.2014]
Stauffer, R., (2011), The CAN-SPAM Act, (Online), Available at: http://www.infront.com/blogs/ the-infront-blog/2011/12/27/the-can-spam-act-in-plain-english [Accessed at: 9.4.2014]
Genn, A., (n.d), Selling Mailing Lists, (online), Available at:http://www.netplaces.com/fundraising-guide/a-lesson-in-ethics/selling-mailing-lists.htm [Accessed at: 9.4.2014]