Why you shouldn't be sending to purchased lists

If you're just starting your email marketing journey, buying a contact list may seem like a great idea. Nothing's further from the truth, though. At EmailOctopus, we believe you should never buy email lists – it's against our company's terms of use and is generally considered bad practice for many reasons.

The General Data Protection Regulation

The first and most important reason is that purchasing email lists is a violation of GDPR conditions of consent, as well as an abuse of several anti-spam laws. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) states that the data subject (your subscriber) needs to consent to processing of their personal data.

Lists quality and your sender reputation

The lists you can buy online are usually low-quality, with many incorrect or inactive addresses and spam traps. Sending campaigns to such addresses can negatively impact both your and EmailOctopus's sender reputation. Even if these addresses are valid and active, they have been collected without their owners' consent. Sending to such contacts raises the risk they will mark your emails as spam.

And the more bounces, spam trap hits and spam complaints your campaigns trigger, the more damage it'll do to your sender reputation. In extreme cases, certain email providers may completely block you from sending to any of their users' email addresses.

Even if you use an email-validating tool to clean your purchased list, it will never remove all risky addresses, so we do not recommend it. Given all of the above, buying a mailing list is a waste of your time and money.

What to do instead?

It's always best to organically gather contacts that are interested in your product, service or content. We offer list-building tools that can help you with that. You can read about them here:


Landing pages

Try using a lead magnet (a discount code, free ebook, access to exclusive content) to incentivise people to sign up for your mailing list. You can deliver it to your subscribers with an automated welcome campaign.

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