Maybe This Will Put a Dent in List Rip-Offs
By Ken Magill
Then again, maybe it will accomplish nothing beyond making me feel like I'm doing something.
I believe I helped prevent someone from getting ripped off in an email-list deal last week. And the incident gave me an idea through which Magill Report readers may be able to help others from getting ripped off, as well.
A marketer called saying he was about to wire some money for an email list but the deal seemed sketchy to him.
He did a search on the company he was about to wire the money to and some of my work on email-list scams came up.
Here is what I told him [paraphrasing from memory, of course]:
“First, I am not going to tell you buying email lists can’t work. It can. And it can work like gangbusters. But it is sooooo dangerous.
“Here is what is most likely to happen. You will wire the money. Did they ask you for all the money up front?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Who operates that way? Would you pay a contractor everything up front to remodel your home? Of course you wouldn’t. Anyway, you will wire the money. They will send you a list and it’s going to be full of garbage. It’ll have a bunch of Info@ and Sales@ and other bullshit addresses. It’ll probably contain spam traps.
“When you email the addresses, your campaign will bounce like crazy. You’ll stand a very good chance of being labeled a spammer and getting your email blocked.
“And since you’re a business-to-business marketer, you’ll be identified as a spammer by a bunch of corporate IT folks. They will block any incoming email that even mentions your company name and forget about you. Unlike consumer-email inbox maintainers like Yahoo! and Gmail where you can regain your reputation over time, if a corporate IT person blocks you, it’s over.
“You will call the company that sold you the list. They will send you a bunch of addresses to make up for the bad ones on the first list. The new addresses will be just as crappy as the original ones. And you will never get a refund.
“Pretty soon the company will stop returning your calls. And then that will be it. Your money will be gone.
“From what I’ve been able to figure out, these deals tend to run for small amounts, like $3,000 to $5,000. Is that the case with you?” I asked.
“$6,000,” he said.
“Here is what will happen next. You will go to corporate counsel, if you have corporate counsel, and they will tell you the amount is too small to pursue. And it will be over. That is how this deal will end. You’ll have a crappy list, a reputation for spamming, you will be out $6,000 and there will be nothing you can do about it.”
At the end of the conversation, the caller sounded convinced not to go through with the deal. I was happy I helped prevent someone from getting ripped off. But I also realized the only reason he found me was because the company he was about to pay appeared in one of my articles on bad list deals.
The thought of all the people who were probably still getting ripped off at that moment was disconcerting.
Then I got an idea: Post all the domains that I know of that have ever appeared in unsolicited email-list pitches.
This way, maybe when someone considering wiring money for an email list does a search, this article will come up and they’ll back off the deal.
Below is the list I have been able to compile so far. I will be happy to update this list for as long as I’m in business.
And here’s where Magill Report readers come in: I would like anyone who gets an unsolicited email selling email lists to forward the message to me at KenMagill_at_gmail.com. I will copy and paste the domains from the pitches into the list below. I will keep your name out of it.
Do not be afraid to send me too many of these messages. The more comprehensive the list gets, the better.
I would also appreciate it if anyone who has an email-marketing related blog would reference this article in some way. I really don’t care how. If you link to it, great. If you simply copy and paste this piece into your blog, that’s fine, too.
Maybe as a group, we can educate some folks and put a dent—even if only a small one—in the email-list-scam business.
To be clear, I am not saying any of the specific domains below are owned or used by crooks. All I am saying is they each have appeared in unsolicited email pitches hawking email lists. People who do transactions with senders of unsolicited email-list pitches often get ripped off in the way I described above.
Here is the list: