Marketing: The Profession that Doesn't Read
By Ken Magill
I’ve come to the conclusion that most marketers don’t read and that there’s a handful of us in the trade press and blogosphere talking to one another to no effect.
Why? How else can companies that publish statements like the following in their frequently-asked-questions sections continue to exist?
“Q. Your Business Lists are well priced. How can you offer them so inexpensively and maintain decent quality?
“A. We extract the lists electronically with our own extraction robots from the Internet and from online electronic directories/databases as well as from many other sources such as telephone directories, annual statement and public records. Furthermore, We also utilize 2 call centers to verify our listings continually. We manage the data in-house which saves money. Furthermore, we sell our lists only on the internet therefore passing on the savings directly to you!”
Got that? This company—BusinessListsForSale.com—touts harvesting email addresses online as a selling point.
Contrary to popular belief, harvesting email addresses is not illegal under the Can-Spam Act. It is simply an aggravating factor if someone gets caught breaking the Can-Spam Act.
That said, any marketer who buys addresses from a company that admits harvesting email addresses can’t possibly have absorbed a single thing written by anyone knowledgeable about email marketing since the century began.
And on the off chance that there might be one or two new readers out there who don’t know what would happen if they were to buy an email list from this company—most of you can skip this bit—many of the addresses would bounce, those that didn’t bounce would drive spam complaints, and the list would certainly contain spam traps.
Mailing to the list would result in the marketer being labeled as a spammer and blocked by ISPs from reaching even their permission-based addresses.
And just for one example of how good email inbox providers have become at identifying spam and treating it accordingly, a while back I gave my Gmail address to Sears as part of a major equipment purchase. Soon after, I began getting email from Kmart. Sears and Kmart merged in 2004.
To this day, email from Sears makes it into my inbox while email from Kmart goes into my spam folder. Coincidence? Maybe, but impressive nonetheless.
The possibility that Google may really be that good at identifying non-permission-based email and the fact that firms selling bogus email lists are legion indicates an embarrassing level of ignorance in a significant portion of the marketing profession.
How bad is it?
I’ve uncovered dozens of firms selling bogus email lists.
Just this past week, I communicated with two list sellers I had never heard of before to try and figure out if they were legitimate.
I asked them both one simple question: “Do you sell email lists for perpetual use?”
They both came back almost immediately saying “yes.”
The companies were Market2Profit.com and Datum-Solutions.com.
What is more, I emailed them from my Shuvitt Inyurass Yahoo! account and both addressed me by the first name Shuvitt, clearly not recognizing the ridiculousness of the name, and indicating they’re offshore.
Translation: If someone buys an email list from them and something goes wrong, the buyer will have no recourse. And make no mistake: The deal will go wrong—as in killing the emailer’s reputation and preventing its ability to do any outbound email marketing. No reputable firm sells email lists for perpetual use.
But then, everyone reading The Magill Report already knows this. Unfortunately, a wide swath of the marketing profession apparently does not.