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Ken Magill

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Surprise! They Even Sell Canadian Email Lists!

By Ken Magill
Yesterday I tried a little experiment to see just how depraved email list scammers are. 
You know what I found out? They’re depraved. And they’re really casual about it. 
I sent an email to—the return email address in an unsolicited-email-list pitch forwarded to me by a reader—asking if her firm had email lists of Canadian marketing executives for sale.
Under Canadian anti-spam law, it is illegal to send commercial email without consent—express or implied; a purchased list offers neither—so I was essentially asking her if she would sell me the material with which to commit a crime.
I used the address I always use to communicate with suspected scammers:
Besides the fact that I have an adolescent sense of humor, I use that address to see if the person on the other end can spot its obvious absurdity. 
Soon, I received the following from
Hi Shuvitt,
Nicole forwarded your information to me as I will be the right person to provide you with all the details.
Yes, we do have Canadian email lists, Kindly let me know the industry that you wish to target, so that I can get back with the volume of contacts and price. 
The message’s domain was, not .net as was the case with his email address. My guess is Brian can’t send email from because it’s been labeled as a source of spam.
After some back and forth, Brian sent the following proposal:
Hi Shuvitt,
Please review the counts and investment for your target specifics.
Volume of Contacts
Target Audience: Chief Marketing Officers and VP of Marketing
Geography: Canada
Investment: Quarter End Offer for signups before 29th of September 2015.
We follow scale down pricing structure; higher the number of contacts you purchase, lesser is the price per contact and vice versa.
Acquire the complete set of 22,174 contacts at a Flat $2,999 (Actual Cost $4,999) with Free AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract). 
Annual Maintenance Contract: Avail FREE AMC for one year, which will help you to keep your data fresh and up-to-date. We will also add 10%-15% additional contacts. As you know people move up the ladder, change jobs, companies go out of business etc. and this happens at a documented rate of about 3.5% to 4.5 % each month. So, we help our client to maintain their database accurate, complete and up-to-date, so that your sales team never wastes time and money chasing bad leads.
Data Guarantee and Delivery Terms:
Delivery Format: Excel Spread Sheet
Data Fields Available:
First Name, Last Name, Company Name, Job Title, Opt-in Email Address, Telephone Number, Fax Number, Mailing Address, Zip Code, Company Website URL, Company Product, Industry, SIC Code, Employee Size, Revenue Size, etc.
Last Updated: August 2015. We also re-verify each contact before the delivery to make sure the list is accurate.
Delivery Guarantee: 85% on Emails and 90% on other data fields.
You will receive only active and VERIFIED contacts as we update our data on an interval of 90 days and also re-verify it before the delivery of any files. All the contacts have been added to our database through various surveys and re-confirmation is done through tele-calls.
Our database is certainly much more valuable compared to other vendors and we have rigorous process of verifying and updating these contacts once in every 90 days through email verification and every 6 months through tele-verification.
Even though we use the most reliable sources available, the information does not go into our database until it's verified by our telephone research staff. There is simply no better way to ensure the accuracy of our data. We confirm addresses and phone numbers weed out companies that have gone out of business, and collect additional information: name of the owner or key executive, number of employees, primary line of business and more. Our telephone verification process sets our database apart from our competitors.
We also re-verify each contacts before the delivery to make sure the list is accurate, complete and up-to-date, so that your sales team never waste time and money chasing bad leads.
List Source: Web Sources, Seminars, Trade Shows, Conferences, Webinars, Magazine Subscriptions, Exhibitions, Surveys, Data Partners, etc.
List Suitable for:
Email Marketing
Fax Marketing
Direct Mailing
Data Usage License: Complete Ownership with total control for unlimited usage rights will be transferred to you.
Data Protection Laws: We strictly abide by CAN-SPAM Law and other Data Protection Laws such as Data Protection Act 1998, CAN-SPAM Act 2003, Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL), EU Opt-In Directive 2002/58/EC etc. All our lists are permission-based. These contacts are purely OPT-IN and they have given their consent to receive any types of newsletters, offer emails, new product release emails or notifications etc. from a third party companies like yours.
After-Sale Service:
To better serve you, a dedicated Account manager will be assigned for your project.
Who would be in frequent touch with you to make sure we have delivered as per your requirement and the guarantee promised.
Account manager would be responsible and have instant authority to take decisions on replacement or refund if required.
Replacement Policy: We provide 30 days look up period to review and to let us know if there is any problem with the list. We guarantee a minimum of 90% accuracy on our data and will replace all the faulty contacts, if you get any.
Kindly let me know if you need additional information and I will get back with the same. 
Await your response. 
So I sent the following:
Hi Brian:
Thanks for your prompt response. One question: One of my colleagues is telling me it is illegal for me to send commercial email to Canadians without their permission.
Something about CASL.
Do you know anything about that?
Shuvitt Inyurass
Brian’s response:
Kindly refer to my email below, I have stated that we strictly follow the CASL. We provide only opt-in contacts.
There are a lot of list brokers and directory providers in this industry who just randomly compile information and sell it at a dead cheap rate to their clients and I am talking thousands of contacts for a few hundred dollars. However, we focus completely on data refining and appending services as that has always been our sweet spot. We source our own data and maintain our in-house master file which is taken care by our backend Data Team of 350+ members.
70% of our data is sourced from Trade Shows. However, just to give you an example, we have more than 270 card collectors, people who attend trade shows or seminars to collect executive information. I am sure you must have filled in a form before entering a trade show or at the exit. We have certain questions which are related to receiving 3rd party solicitation that they agree upon and this information is passed on to our data team for carrying out an opt-in process through an email campaign. The opt-in campaign refers the person to their initial opt-in at the trade show. On an average we have seen that more than 60% of the people opt-in to receive business related information from a 3rd party.
So I responded:
But my colleague is telling me that under CASL, our company needs permission to send the email and that another company can't legally obtain permission for us. Is my colleague wrong?
Yes, she is absolutely correct. However, we seek permission from executives informing them that a 3rd party would contact them for business initiatives. Once, you sign the Work Order, we take about 3 business days to deliver the data to you as we will roll out an email campaign to all the contacts on the list information them that a 3rd party company will approach them shortly.
I responded:
So your company sending the list of Canadian executives notice that I will be sending them email constitutes proper permission under Canadian law?
And Brian wrote back:
We will not mention your company name in the campaign but will send out a general message informing them about a 3rd party company approaching them. However, If you require us to mentioned your company name in the pre-delivery campaign that will make the contacts Double-Opt in which costs more than the single opt-in.
I responded:
How much would it cost me for you to send an email to them with my company name in it?
Also, I don't think you answered my question: If your company sends out a notification email, does that constitute legal permission for me to email them under Canadian law?
Brian’s response:
The campaign will cost you an additional $1,000 making it $3,999 for 22,174 double opt-in contacts.
Yes, the process does fall under CASL, as these executives have already given their consent to us and now we are just introducing your company to them. In fact, by double opt-in you are abiding all SPAM Laws across the Globe. 
Folk, this is bullshit on stilts. Canadian law requires email marketers to get and be able to prove they got permission to send commercial email to individual recipients. A purchased email list falls under none of the exemptions provided by CASL.
Moreover, “double opt-in” has nothing to do with any anti-spam law anywhere. Double opt-in is an abused email marketing term that when used correctly—anti-spammers argue there is no correct use for it—refers to fully confirmed or closed-loop opt-in, where a new subscriber must respond to a confirmation email before being added to the mailer’s email list.
Permission to send commercial email is not transferable anywhere, but especially in Canada. Brian can’t get permission on my behalf.
If I were to write a check for this list, not only would my money be gone, if even one of the email addresses on the list was that of an actual Canadian marketing executive, I would be committing a crime the moment I pressed “send.”
Canadian business-to-business marketer Compu-Finder was fined $1.1 million for alleged spamming.
Not only is “Brian” setting me up to take my money, he is setting me up for a potential seven-figure fine. What is more, attempting to charge me $1,000 for pretending to name my company in a notification email—notice he never indicates recipients will have to respond in the affirmative to be included in the list he hands over to me—that in all likelihood never goes out shows just how brazen these scams are.
In any case, it occurred to me that maybe I just got lucky and reached the one vendor who would claim to have email lists of Canadian executives available. So I pulled another address at random from my collection of suspected list scammers this morning,, and sent her a message asking if she had email lists of Canadian marketing executives for sale.
Her response:
Hi Shuvitt,
Thank you for the email. Yes, we do have the list of Canadian marketing executives,VPs and CMOs kindly share your business email address so that I can send you the details.
Look forward to hearing from you.

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