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Service Launched to Sniff Out Purchased Lists


By Ken Magill

Every email service provider knows this story: New client comes on board and hands over their email file; ESP sends messages on behalf of new client; anti-spam warning bells go off all over the place; turns out the new client provided a bad list.

Historically, the way ESPs have found out if a new client has provided a bad list has been by sending email to it.

Scott Hardigree, chief executive of email marketing firm Indiemark, aims to change that with a new offering he calls BlackBox.

According to Hardigree, he has bought a large volume of email addresses from 14 sources that he will license to email service providers so they can match their clients’ lists against it to see if a significant percentage of the addresses on the client’s list are on the market.

What is considered “significant” and what they intend to do once “significant” is determined is up to the individual ESP, said Hardigree.

However, if a bunch of names in BlackBox match an ESP’s new client’s file, it’s a pretty good bet the client has provided a purchased list and doesn’t have would-be recipients’ permission to email them, according to Hardigree.

“If there’s a high match rate, they bought the data,” he said. “This is super new data that is being bought and sold on the open market. The email addresses could be good. They could be bad. But ESPs can use this data to find out: ‘Is this customer going to help me or hurt me?’”

Hardigree said he is updating the file with between 5 million and 15 million records a month.

"In essence what we are providing access to a very large volume of purchased data that is actively circulating around data aggregators so that those who are responsible for email deliverability, marketing compliance or data acquisition can perform their own analysis, in-house, in order to prevent malicious clients or partners from abusing their platforms or budgets," said Hardigree.

"Prior to BlackBox our clients never really knew what you were going to get until they pulled the trigger. Is that list old, purchased, or a ticking time-bomb? Is their customer or supplier a good guy or something else? With BlackBox they know, before the damage is done," he said.

“I’m acting as a bridge between the bad guys and the good guys so they [ESPs] can make good use of this really crappy data,” he added.

Once an ESP has determined the client’s list has been bought, it’s up to the ESP to decide how to proceed.

“Some ESPs have very strict anti-spam policies and some—without mentioning any names—will take the business,” he said. “They’ll put them in a bad [IP address] neighborhood where deliverability is poor, send out two or three campaigns, get their money and kick them to the curb.”

[Editor’s note: Of course, no Magill Report reader does business like that. Right?]


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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: Josie Garcia
Date: 2012-12-05 12:44:04
Subject: BlackBox

I think this is a really good idea in theory yet very dependent on the data constantly being refreshed and whether a particular ESPs clients' purchased list could be matched to data coming from BlackBox.